Islamic countries mull customs risk management
Azerbaijani delegation took part in a ministerial meeting within 34th session of Standing Committee on Economic and Commercial Cooperation of Organization of Islamic Cooperation held in Istanbul.
On November 26-27, technical issues were discussed. The meeting attended by ministers from OIC member countries on November 28-29 discussed exchange of experience gained in customs risk management and develop cooperation in this area.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made speech at the official opening ceremony of the ministerial meeting. He spoke about opportunities for expanding cooperation within the OIC, pointing out that the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have rich natural resources.
Erdogan also called the OIC member states for commercial cooperation using national currencies.
The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Bandar Hajjar Group also spoke in the opening ceremony, mentioning cooperation on transport, tourism, energy and investments in the OIC member states. Speaking about the rapidly growing structure of the organization, the Secretary General expressed his gratitude to the Government of Azerbaijan for the work of the OIC Labor Center in Baku.
Within the framework of the session, panel sessions were held on the trade facilitation for regional integration, difficulties and possible solutions in the modernization of the customs system, role of the private sector in trade facilitation and other issues. OIC countries' Financial Fair was also opened.
Azerbaijan is represented by a delegation led by Chairman of the State Customs Committee Lieutenant-General Safar Mehdiyev at the session on "Trade Facilitation: Risk Management in Customs".
Mehdiyev noted that the overall activity strategy of the Customs Service of Azerbaijan is aimed at creating a favorable environment for the development of legal trade in the region, ensuring the international trade-supply chain security and stimulating foreign economic activity, making the trade-investment environment more attractive in the country.
He emphasized that high indicators have been achieved as a result of radical changes in the fight against smuggling. In 2018, customs authorities detected 1.178 tons of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors and they were withdrawn from illicit trafficking.
One of the important steps of Azerbaijan Customs Service in facilitating trade is the exchange of preliminary information with the customs authorities of foreign countries on goods and vehicles crossing the border. At present, Azerbaijan has established a legal basis for exchanging information with the member states of Turkey, Iran, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia and GUAM in this context.
On the sidelines of the session, the meetings were held with the delegation of Saudi Arabia and then with the delegation of Qatar to discuss development of relations in the economic and customs spheres.
Trade and Investment Minister of Saudi Arabia Majid Abdulla al-Kasabi noted that fast developing trade relations between countries is a positive indicator in customs, as well as in other areas. He said they intend to invest in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani side noted that the Azerbaijani delegation of 30 people will visit Saudi Arabia to present local products.
Then at the meeting with Qatar's delegation, Economic and Commercial Minister of Qatar, Ali Bin Ahmed Al Kushari, speaking about the development of economic relations voiced the offer to join Azerbaijan to the transit agreement between Qatar and Turkey.
During the talks, issues of increasing import-export operations, simplification of customs procedures, reduction of transportation costs for export of agricultural products from Azerbaijan to these countries were discussed at the meeting and exchanged views on implementation of final decisions.
The Republic of Azerbaijan joined the OIC in December 1991. Azerbaijan cooperates with OIC member states within the Committee on Science and Technology (COMSTECH) and the Standing Committee on Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC).
In 2006, the Organization's 33rd Foreign Ministers' Conference was held in Baku. 35th OIC Council of Heads of Governments of Islamic Development Bank held in Baku in 2010.
The last ministerial meeting 33rd session of the Standing Committee on Economic and Commercial Cooperation of Organization of Islamic Cooperation took place in November 2017 in Istanbul. This session of the COMCEC focused on the transnational transport corridors. At the meeting, Azerbaijani Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Population Salim Muslumov signed the Charter of OIC Labor Center, the headquarters of which is located in Baku.