KUALA LUMPUR: Non-Aligned Movement countries have been asked to consider forging links between the regional groupings in which they are members to boost their economic co-operation.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said: “These linkages should provide the avenues for mutually beneficial business collaboration.”
He said NAM countries were also members of various groupings like Asean, Arab Common Market, Economic Community of West African States, Gulf Co-operation Council, South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation and the Southern African Development Community.
The contribution of NAM members to global trade indicated that the potential for trade and business collaboration had yet to be fully realised.
He said NAM countries in 2001 accounted for US$880.5bil (RM3,345.9bil) or only 14.3% of world exports and US$736.9bil (RM2,800.22bil) or 11.4% of world imports.
“Taking into account that the number of countries that are NAM members, the present share of world trade is not significant,” he said when opening Showcase Malaysia 2003 and Malaysia Tourism Fair 2003 at Putra World Trade Centre yesterday.
He said to accelerate the pace of growth in trade, members must intensify efforts to identify and develop new areas of economic co-operation.
“The possibility of having a NAM trade exhibition in conjunction with future summits to showcase the products and services that are available in the member countries should be explored,” he said.
He also said the private sector must be innovative in capitalising on these opportunities and be creative in exploring alternative arrangements like counter trade, contract manufacturing and joint venture investments.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia saw the potential of NAM members contributing towards alleviating and mitigating any negative impact of globalisation.
“While trade liberalisation measures initiated by the World Trade Organisation and globalisation have opened up new markets, it has also intensified competition.
“Through trade and investment collaboration, NAM member countries will be able to build on each other’s strengths to compete in world markets,” he said, adding that the developed North was already taking advantage of low costs in the South to remain competitive.
The KL International Airport saw a steady stream of senior officials and delegates arriving since Monday for the 13th summit.
Delegations from at least 22 countries had already arrived to prepare for the Senior Officials Meeting tomorrow and Friday.
They were from African and West Asian nations – Bahrain, Djibouti, Namibia, Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ghana, all of whom arrived on Monday.
Officials from Eritrea, Botswana, Ecuador, Jordan, Morocco, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Uganda, Venezuela, Somalia, Swaziland, Kuwait and Uzbekistan flew in yesterday.
The Kuala Lumpur summit is set to see the largest gathering of leaders from NAM’s 114 member nations.
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