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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

become operational.

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’