'Arabs need to move swiftly towards economic integration'

Filed on September 4, 2015 | Last updated on September 4, 2015 at 08.16 am
Arabs need to move swiftly towards economic integration

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE's Minister of Economy, was addressing as chairman of the 96th ordinary ministerial meeting of the Arab Economic and Social Council.

The Arab region needs to move swiftly now, more than ever before, towards implementation of economic and social programmes and initiatives to bolster its economy, and generate job opportunities for the unemployed, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE's Minister of Economy, said in his keynote address as chairman of the 96th ordinary ministerial meeting of the Arab Economic and Social Council, at the Arab League's Secretariat General in Cairo on Thursday.

The region also needs to increase its self-dependence to meet demand, mitigate the impact of price fluctuations in foreign markets, curb the decline in world oil prices, and stop the flight of human capital and talented minds to the advanced nations, Al Mansouri added. "Time is opportune today to implement a variety of joint developmental projects, improve legislative frameworks that regulate inter-Arab economic relations so as to build the Arab joint economic integration," he said in his address.

"The meeting is being convened amidst rapid developments and tremendous challenges facing our Arab region and its people. This situation requires more solidarity and co-operation so as to co-ordinate and reinforce Arab joint action economically and socially to address these challenges," he told the gathering.

He said the agenda of the meeting includes key issues of interest to Arab countries, particularly the implementation of resolutions issued by Arab summits and the Arab Economic and Social Council, and those recommended by conferences and summits held in the Arab region with other world groups.

"We need to see tangible progress in the implementation of these resolutions and recommendations to realise the aspirations of Arab countries," he emphasised. Issues relating to progress of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, or Gafta and the Arab Customs Union will also figure high on the agenda.

"Arab economic integration has become an urgent demand for tackling the economic challenges facing the Arab countries and advancing efforts towards sustainable economic development," he added. Like other Arab countries, the UAE views with great interest the Gafta as one of the major gains of Arab joint co-operation and efforts should continue to remove barriers so as to stimulate inter-Arab trade exchange and accelerate the drive towards the Arab Customs Union, the minister added. - Wam

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