Egypt's trade minister urges more inter-Arab cooperation to face economic challenges

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Thursday - 1 September 2022


Egypt's Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir has urged for further cooperation and coordination in all fields of joint Arab action to confront the current global economic and social challenges.

The minister made the remarks while addressing the opening of the 110th session of the Arab League’s Economic and Social Council, which kicked off at the ministerial level at the Arab League General Secretariat HQ in Cairo on Thursday.

Earlier this year, Egypt presided over the council's 109th session, during which one ordinary session was held, and two extraordinary sessions were held at the ministerial level.

Samir said the last session saw "great momentum" in the negotiating process and contributed to reaching more Arab convergence and understanding with regard to issues of mutual interest.

The previous session adopted a mechanism under which the member states are committed to the decisions issued by the Economic and Social Council related to the Greater Arab Free Trade Area.

In 1997, the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) was approved by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to establish a free trade area among Arab countries. The agreement went into practice a year after.

The 109th session also approved the acceptance of the certificate of origin issued electronically, and also adopted the Transit Transport Agreement between Arab countries.

The Egyptian minister praised the outcomes of the previous session as a reflection of Arab countries' belief in the importance of establishing a framework for providing adequate facilities and benefits as well as simplifying the procedures that impede the movement of transport across Arab lands.

He said that accepting e-certificates of origin was one of the much-needed requirements to facilitate trade to achieve better integration in global markets, while the transit transport deal is expected to reflect positively on the Arab region and its inter-trade.

Minister Samir called on Arab nations to present eco and climate related initiatives during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) that will be held in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh in November.

Through COP27, "Egypt seeks recommendations for implementation, not only by building on the outcomes of the Glasgow Conference [COP26] – especially in the field of climate finance – but rather by speeding up climate action, providing urgent interventions to confront the effects of climate change," he added.

Minister Samir handed over the chairmanship of the council to Morocco, which presides over the current session.