Expert Group Meeting on Inter-regional Economic Cooperation: Harnessing Inter-regional Trade Potential through Enhanced Cross-regional Cooperation
Date: 25-26 September 2012
Venue: Jeddah - Saudi Arabia

Islamic Development Bank (IDB) organized an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) of Regional Organizations on Inter-regional Economic Cooperation on 25-26 September 2012 at its headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The EGM aimed at sharing experiences and best practices of existing regional cooperation schemes, identifying priority areas for enhanced cooperation across regions in trade and discussing ways and means for strengthening cooperation between OIC institutions and the regional economic groupings. In this context, cross-regional cooperation is seen an efficient means to leverage on the diversity and richness of endowments, capacities and experiences available in OIC regions.

The meeting was attended by the major regional organizations involving OIC member countries represented, including Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), League of Arab States (LAS) and Arab Maghreb Union (AMU). In addition to the major regional organizations, relevant OIC institutions, including SESRIC, ICDT, COMCEC Coordination Office, ICCIA, and OIC General Secretariat also participated in the Meeting. The Centre was represented by Dr. Kenan Bagci, Researcher, in the meeting.

In the opening session, the President of the IDB Group, H.E. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, welcomed the participants and delivered a short speech on the importance of enhancing trade among the member countries. He stressed the real mission of IDB as enhancing cooperation in all fields and stated that there are great room and potential for trade among the member countries. He also added that together we can achieve the goal of 20 per cent settled for intra-OIC trade. In his opening remarks, Dr. Ahmet Tıktık, the Vice President of Corporate Services, also stressed the importance of enhancing inter-regional trade among the member countries.

After the opening session, the participants deliberated on a number of important issues under different themes, including recent regional initiatives and trends and priority sectors to catalyse inter-regional trade promotion across regions. As a result of the deliberations, the meeting came up with a number of ideas and proposal for enhancing inter-regional trade. The participants agreed to establish a working group to follow-up the implementation of the recommendations of the expert group meeting.