Delegates to NAM Business Forum want permanent South-South business council.


BY HONG BOON HOW

DELEGATES to the inaugural business forum of the 13th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit In Kuala Lumpur have unanimously called for the establishment of a permanent business council on South-South co-operation to promote the multilateral and bilateral business and trade relationship among NAM members. 

According to forum organising chairman Datuk Dr Michael Yeoh, the five-point recommendation endorsed by the delegates would be forwarded to the NAM secretariat. 

“The delegates to the 1st NAM business forum on South-South co-operation found the forum to be useful, informative and insightful, and believe it can further contribute to strengthening of business co-operation among NAM member countries,” Yeoh, the chief executive officer of Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli), told a press conference after the forum in Petaling Jaya yesterday. 

Yeoh said that the delegates believed the business forum could foster closer relationship among the business communities of NAM member countries. 

Non-Aligned Movement business forum organising committee chairman and chief executive officer of the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) Datuk Dr Michael Yeoh (second from left) after announcing the forum's five point recommendation to the media. With him are (from left)Asean Chambers of Commerce and Industry past president Jose S. Concepcion, Jr, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) director-general Tarun Das and Universiti Malaya's Asia-Europe Institute distinguished research fellow Tan Sri Ajit Singh.

“The delegates believe that business flourishes best in an environment of peace and stability,” he said. 

Other points of the recommendations were to: 

* Institutionalise the NAM business forum as part of future NAM summits; 

* Urge the governments of NAM member countries to pro-actively engage their respective business communities as partners-in-development, and to support initiatives of their private sector in building smart partnerships, technology sharing and transfer, infrastructure development, job creation and the diversification of exports and markets; 

* Urge governments and private sector to accelerate the use of electronic commerce to facilitate trade and investment linkages, including the NAM business portal developed by India; and 

* Constitute a joint group to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), composed of representatives from the government and private sector that should meet immediately to evolve a consensus of NAM member countries for the upcoming meeting in Cancun, Mexico. 

Universiti Malaya's Asia-Europe Institute distinguished research fellow Tan Sri Ajit Singh said the establishment of the business forum would enable NAM to realise its trade potential and increase its negotiating powers. 

“From now on, we can bring NAM forum to a higher level and be more action oriented,” Ajit said.  

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) director-general Tarun Das said that CII would give its full support to ensure the success of the NAM business council.  

Asean Chambers of Commerce and Industry former president Jose S. Concepcion Jr said the endorsed recommendations would also bring NAM into a new era in addressing the long-standing issue of poverty. 

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