Arab banking forum convenes in Beirut ahead of WTO conference
More than 300 participants joined in the opening Wednesday, October 31 of the 2001 Arab Banking Summit, which aims to coordinate an Arab stance ahead of the high-level World Trade Organization (WTO) conference next month.
Arab finance ministers, central bank governors, bankers and experts attended the event's opening session. The two-day conference will tackle the "liberalization of trade in services in the Arab world, mainly in the banking, financial investment, insurance, tourism, transport and communication sectors," an organizer said.
The summit is organized by the Union of Arab Banks, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the Arab League and the Central Bank of Lebanon. Mirvat Tellawi, executive secretary of the Beirut-based ESCWA, said at the opening "the liberalization of trade in services among Arab countries is a good way to achieve economic complementarity in the region."
"Defining the weak points of the services sectors and ways to overcome them will help unify and coordinate stands at the WTO ministerial conference in Doha" November 9-13, she said.
Arab League Deputy Secretary General for Economic Affairs Abdel Rahman Al-Subhani said, "boosting trade in services among Arab countries will help attract foreign investments and encourage fusions among companies."
Eleven of the 22 members of the Arab League belong to the WTO: Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Five are candidate countries: Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen. — (AFP, Beirut)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)