COMCEC Trade Outlook 2019
International trade can play a key role in generating economic growth, employment and
development. However, many countries fail to benefit from international trade due to many
challenges, including their undiversified economies and high trade costs. Having high levels of
heterogeneity and divergence in terms of geography, size, population and economic
development, the OIC Member Countries have demonstrated significant differences with
regards to trade performances. Moreover, many OIC countries’ exports depend heavily on
primary commodities. As a result, lowering of oil prices and other commodity prices negatively
affected not only their export revenues but also growth and development. Hence, the need for
pursuing policies aimed to diversify exports and to expand export markets intensified in order
to increase OIC countries’ resilience to external shocks and sustain their growth.
The Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the
Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC) is the responsible platform within the OIC for enhancing
economic and commercial cooperation among the Member States. Since the commencement of
its activities in 1984, COMCEC has initiated numerous programs and projects towards increasing
intra-OIC trade (trade among the Member States), addressing the problems faced in trade
liberalization, trade facilitation, trade promotion and trade financing in the Member States.
Among these programs and projects, the Trade Preferential System among the OIC Member
States (TPS-OIC), which is the flagship project of the COMCEC on trade liberalization, is close to
In order to address the development challenges of the Member Countries more efficiently, the
COMCEC Strategy was adopted by the Fourth Extra-Ordinary Islamic Summit Conference held
on 14-15 August 2012 in Makkah Al-Mukarramah. Trade is one of the cooperation areas in the
Strategy, with the strategic objective of increasing trade among the Member States. İdentifying
trade liberalization, trade facilitation, trade promotion and trade financing as the output areas,
COMCEC aims at achieving strategy’s targets through its implementation instruments namely
Trade Working Group and COMCEC Project Funding.
The present document aims at providing a general outlook of the trade of OIC Member States
and identifying common challenges they face in increasing their trade. Despite their economic
and social differences, these countries also face some similar obstacles such as protectionist
trade regimes, dependency on commodity exports, burdensome customs procedures increasing
the cost of trade, limited access to overseas markets, inadequate financial resources and
underdeveloped financial systems.
Besides giving background information on the activities of the COMCEC for increasing intra-OIC
trade, the document also introduces the COMCEC Strategy for increasing trade and addressing
the common obstacles faced by the Member States towards reaching this goal.
This Outlook has
The First Section
provides the latest trends and developments
in global merchandise trade.
The Second Section
gives a general overview of the total merchandise trade of the OIC Member
States. It outlines the characteristics of trade between the Member States and the rest of the
world by highlighting the composition, direction and the volume of the OIC Member States’