Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will discuss ways to enhance intra-OIC trade during the upcoming the 45th Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) to be held here on May 5-6.
They will discuss how to make operational the Trade Preferential System among the Member States of the OIC (TPS-OIC), one of the most important projects of the standing committee for economic and commercial cooperation of the OIC (COMCEC) to foster intra-OIC trade.
“For OIC economic and development agenda, efforts are on to operationalise OIC preferential trade arrangement called TPS-OIC to substantially enhance intra-OIC trade,” State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam informed, reports UNB.
This system is based on three agreements, namely the Framework Agreement, the Protocol on Preferential Tariff Scheme (PRETAS) and the Rules of Origin.
In order to make the TPS-OIC system operational, 10 Member States have to fulfill two conditions at the same time, namely the ratification of the three TPS-OIC agreements and the submission of the list of concessions to the trade negotiating committee (TNC) Secretariat, according to standing committee for economic and commercial cooperation of the OIC.
Required number of countries having met necessary requirements of the system has been reached.
However, for the entry into force of the system there are some practical steps that should be taken by the participating member states.
The most important step in this context is updating the concession lists. By December 2017, Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan, Jordan, Bangladesh, Iran and Morocco have conveyed their updated concession lists, according to the OIC standing committee.
The State Minister said Bangladesh is taking the lead in forming a private sector and track 1.5 based economic cooperation initiative called South East Asian Cooperation (SEACO) with regional economic cooperation and integration in mind involving three South East Asian member states.
He said ultimate objective is to have a regional FTA and thereby encourage OIC FTA with this building block basis example.
“You know this job is not that much easy as each country has its own economic interest,” said the State Minister.
Also new stage of programmes and project initiatives under OIC’s second ten-year development plan called OIC: 2025 Programme of Action (adopted in 2016 Istanbul Summit) is coming with Dhaka CFM.
Member states will now be invited to come up with their programme and project initiatives at this stage.
Bangladesh made “substantive contribution” in developing this document with inclusion of new targets in several new areas including STI, blue economy, sustainable agriculture with new ideas of lease farming, and regional economic integration through multi-modal connectivity.
Bangladesh has brought a new resolution on multi-sectoral connectivity, officials said.
According to data available, Bangladesh’s 70 percent remittance comes from the OIC countries.
Officials said Bangladesh will discuss how OIC can play role in this manpower sector and ensure sending skilled manpower.
Bangladesh is taking necessary preparations to hold the 45th CFM here successfully, they said.