ISLAMABAD - Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan has called upon the Islamic world to put forth new ideas and promote innovation-based research to break the economic inertia, which is hindering its economic development.

He made these remarks while representing Pakistan at a three-day 12th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), which commenced in Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday.

Prime Minister of Pakistan nominated Dastgir to represent Pakistan on his behalf at the Forum, according to the statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce.

President of Indonesia Joko Widodo inaugurated the Forum, while Dato Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia and Patron of the WIEF Foundation, made a special address on the occasion.

Leaders and representatives of Kuwait, Qatar, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Algeria, Tajikistan, Jordan, Guinea, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa and Islamic Development Bank also spoke at the inaugural session.

The minister will also deliver letters of thanks from the Prime Minister to the President of Indonesia and the Prime Minister of Malaysia, who had invited Nawaz Sharif to the event.

Dastgir said at the inaugural ceremony, “We are suffering not only from pervasive poverty but also from a poverty of ideas on how to bring about an economic revolution to improve the lifestyles of our people.”

He added, “We suffer from a poverty of ideas to facilitate our private sector within OIC behind our borders, at our borders, and beyond our borders.”

The minister, while emphasising the need for equal opportunities for the Muslims, said that the Muslim world would have to empower future businesses by de-centralizing growth so that the bounties of economic progression could stretch till the tail end of the economic strand.

He said that Pakistan is committed to strengthening intra-OIC economic and trade cooperation to further the cause of economic integration of Muslim states leading to the establishment of an Islamic Common Market.

Dastgir gave a detailed account of the efforts Pakistan had made to integrate itself with the Muslim world in trade, logistics and economic cooperation.

“Trade Preferential System among the member states of the OIC (TPS-OIC) is one of the most important priorities for the Organisation to foster intra-OIC trade,” Dastgir said.

“This system is based on three agreements, namely the Framework Agreement, the Protocol on Preferential Tariff Scheme (PRETAS) and the Rules of Origin,” he added.

The minister said that Pakistan has already signed and ratified the three required agreements pertaining to TPS-OIC and submitted the concession list to the OIC Secretariat.

He said that Pakistan had also been pursuing trade partnerships with OIC member countries through Preferential Trade Agreements, Free Trade Agreements and various other bilateral arrangements.

He informed the audience that Pakistan had signed and ratified the WTO Agreement on trade facilitation, which reflected its commitment to a transparent, simple, de-regulated and private sector driven business environment.

The minister emphasised the need for more frequent interaction between policy makers and private sector of the Muslim world.

He said that Pakistan offered its fullest support to the initiatives for liberalization of trade, investment and services as well as travel facilitation among Islamic countries.

Dastgir urged the Muslim world to join hands for deeper trade liberalization, and for more extensive technical and knowledge based collaboration in other fields of economy.