International trade is an important catalyst for economic and social development. Enhancing international trade contributes to raising living standards, and boosting investments and employment. Many countries perceive international trade as an important tool to enhance their integration with other countries. Countries may specifically seek regional economic integrations for several reasons, such as reaching larger consumer markets for exports, creating new employment opportunities, attracting foreign direct investments and most importantly having sustainable long-term economic growth. Recently, developed countries are also eager to be a part of large multilateral trade arrangements such as Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (EU-USA), Trans-Pacific Partnership (USA-13 Countries bordering Pacific Ocean), the EU-Mexico Free Trade Agreement and the Expanded Economic Engagement (USA-ASEAN).
Cognizant of the importance of the subject, COMCEC has initiated various programs on trade since its establishment in 1984. Currently, there are significant programs/projects on the COMCEC agenda for increasing intra-OIC trade, such as Trade Preferential System of OIC (TPS-OIC).
Intra-OIC trade value and share have showed a remarkable ascending trend. Nominal value of the total intra-OIC trade has grown from USD 363.81 billion in 2007, to USD 539,54 billion in 2016. The share of intra-OIC trade in total OIC trade rose 15.38 % to 19,35 % in the same period.
As a new implementation mechanism of the COMCEC Strategy under trade cooperation, COMCEC Trade Working Group convenes twice annually in Ankara on selected technical themes, and serves as an important platform for exchange of views, experiences and best practices among the relevant experts of the Member Countries. The COMCEC Coordination Office (CCO) conducts a research report for each meeting, and shares it with the participants prior to each working group meeting. CCO also presents sectoral trade outlook reports for demonstrating the overall state of the sector in the world, as well as in the OIC Member States. Experts attending the Working Group Meetings find the opportunity to share their country experiences, including success stories and major obstacles. After each meeting, the proceeding documents are prepared by the CCO for providing a summary of the presentations and discussions made during the meeting.
More information regarding the Trade Working Group Meetings could be found in the related section of COMCEC website at: http://www.comcec.org/en/cooperation-areas/trade/comcec-trade-working-groupmeetings/