Qatar chaired on Thursday the 105th session of the Arab Economic and Social Council meeting at the ministerial level that took place at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Arab League here.
The meeting approved the economic and social issues of the upcoming Arab summit at its regular session, which will be held in March.
The summit's economic and social file has a number of items, including the report of the Secretary-General on joint Arab economic and social development, a report on the follow-up to the implementation of the decisions of the ordinary Arab summit in Tunisia in 2019, a report on the follow-up to the implementation of the decisions of the Arab development summit in Beirut in January 2019, the Arab strategy for tourism, and the support of Arab countries hosting Syrian refugees to reduce the relevant economic and social burdens.
The council also adopted a report on the progress made to complete the requirements of the greater Arab free trade area, the establishment of the Arab customs union, the Arab strategic framework for the social work profession, addressing tax challenges arising from the digital economy, the Arab strategy for the advancement of women's work within the framework of the sustainable development goals 2030, and the establishment of the Arab center for economic and social empowerment studies in the State of Palestine.
The council welcomed the measures taken by the Arab League's General Secretariat, member states, specialised ministerial councils, and joint Arab action institutions to implement the outcomes and decisions of the Arab development summit in Beirut in January 2019.
Addressing the meeting Qatar's HE the Minister of Finance Ali Sherif al-Emadi stressed the importance of the meeting in advancing joint Arab work and enhancing the scope of co-operation in all economic and social fields between Arab countries.
HE al-Emadi added that Qatar looks forward to more co-operation in all fields of joint Arab work, and specifically the issues that are currently on the meeting's draft agenda.
He said that the draft agenda includes many items, the most important of which is the economic and social issues scheduled for presentation at the Arab summit scheduled for March, a follow-up on the implementation of the decisions of the 104th session of the Economic and Social Council and of the decisions of the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit, including the initiative of the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah regarding the establishment of a fund for the digital economy with a value of $200mn.
Qatar has provided $50mn, with Kuwait providing an additional $50mn that are managed by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, adding that he expects the fund's statute to be completed in the near future.
He highlighted that one of the important topics that the member states must work on is expediting the removal of all obstacles facing the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) in a manner that will assist in launching the Arab Customs Union.
The minister added that one of the achievements at the economic level was the agreement on liberalisation of trade in services among the Arab countries, adding that Qatar supports the outcome of the experts meeting that took place in Rabat two months ago.
Qatar was handed over the chairmanship by Palestine.
Meanwhile, the Committee on Follow-up and Preparation for the Arab Development Summits: Economic and Social, held on Thursday a meeting at the ministerial level chaired by Lebanon.
The committee includes Qatar, represented by HE the Deputy Permanent Representative of Qatar to the Arab League Hassan bin Ahmed al-Mutawa, as well as Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and the General Secretariat of the Arab League.
During the meeting, they discussed the implementation of the social and economic resolutions of the Arab Development Summit held in Beirut in January 2019 and reviewed the efforts that were made to implement the summit resolutions with regard to the provision of support to some Arab countries, especially Yemen, Palestine and Somalia, and the adoption of the committee's report.
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