Islamic economic forum urges reduction of trade barriers

March 4th, 2009 - 1:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Jakarta, March 4 (DPA) An international Islamic economic conference ended Wednesday with calls for the reduction of trade barriers, development of alternative energy sources and stricter regulations in the global financial industry.
The three-day World Islamic Economic Forum in Jakarta, attended by 1,500 delegates from 38 countries, discussed ways to deal with the global financial crisis and food security, as well as exploring possibilities for non-carbon fuels.

A statement issued at the end of the conference called on delegate countries to “reduce regulatory barriers such as food subsidies, which would hinder sustainable food production and trade”.

“The declaration has a host of policy recommendations that, if implemented widely, would enact real change within the Muslim and non-Muslim world,” said Musa Hitam, chairman of the World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation.

The statement urged countries to develop policies to ensure a proper balance between food production for human consumption and energy usage.

Effective regulations are needed in the global financial industry to mitigate risk and failure, the declaration said.

“Governments, corporations and individuals can use this as a road map to not only help out their local communities, but also affect real change within their districts, countries and regions as other people and organisations join in,” said Sofyan Djalil, co-chairman of the conference.

Organisers say the forum aspires to change the global perception of the Muslim world from a conflict zone to a lucrative economic region. It is also aimed at promoting trade and investment opportunities in the Muslim world.

Speakers also called for the promotion of Islamic finance, which has not not been hit as hard as its Western counterpart mainly because Islamic banking prohibits speculation and high levels of debt.

The sixth World Islamic Economic Forum will be held in Malaysia May 18-20, 2010.

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