Strategies to Boost Gulf Foreign Trade Proposed

DUBAI — The Director-General of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh, outlined suggestions to maintain foreign trade growth in the Gulf region, during a speech he made at the 3rd Investment Horizons International 
Exhibition and Forum.

By (Staff Report)

Published: Tue 28 Apr 2009, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:42 AM

The forum, which was held under the theme “Investment Horizons and the Gulf Common Market within the Global Financial Crisis,” at the Riyadh International Exhibition Centre, Saudi Arabia, ended on Tuesday. The 2009 edition envisions further diversification of the region’s economic structure through strategic investments. In his speech, Al Saleh proposed strategies that the Gulf could take to minimise the effects of the crisis and capitalise on current opportunities.

Al Saleh said: “One important aspect that has helped the Gulf avoid most of the negative effects of the crisis is the active commercial relations among its members. In 2007, trade within the region amounted to Dh40.4 billion, representing a growth rate of 12 per cent. Most of the Gulf’s countries rank among the top 10 trading partners of the UAE. Our volume of trade with Arab countries rose to Dh32.3 billion in 2007, representing a solid 13 per cent growth.”

There are several steps that could be taken as a region to combat the present and future effects of a crisis; we could establish a common Gulf mechanism for handling such events, particularly an early warning system for the trade sector, Al Saleh said. We could manage our industries to complement each other, and encourage diversification so that we can reduce our dependence on products and services provided outside of the region. We can also establish centers that promote inter-Arab exports and focus on competitiveness particularly in non-traditional markets. In addition, the Director-General also called for more market openness, urged attendees to avoid protectionist policies, and encouraged improved relations with developing countries in general and Asian countries in particular, he said.

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