1999 News Story

Finance minister addresses Arab conference in Cairo

Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf today addressed

the 64th session of the Economic and Social Council of the League of Arab States in Cairo,

and confirmed the Kingdom's concern for the success of the Arab free-trade zone which has

just entered its second year.  He gave assurances that Saudi Arabia has reduced its custom

tariffs as prescribed, and urged other member states to do so, praising the prospects of

the free-trade zone and citing the expansion of Arab markets and the improvement of

production efficiency. Referring to complaints by certain countries about difficulties in

implementing the scheme, such as the length of the list of exemptions, he said flexibility

is needed.

Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Dr. Ismat Abdul-Meguid remarked that the

free-trade zone would create a vast market for a population of some 275 million whose needs

are estimated at over U.S. $170 billion, and appealed to member states to intensify their

participation in the 8th conference of Arab Businessmen and Investers to be held in Tunis

in November.