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Regime pushing for an Islamic Common Market.

Akbar Torkan, the secretary of Iran's Free Trade Zones Coordination Council, urged Muslim states Saturday to help establish an Islamic common market.

Addressing the two-day Trade Conference of Muslim Countries held on Kish Island, Torkan said Iran's free trade zones (FTZs) are good examples of Islamic free trade that aim to facilitate trade among Muslim states.

The FTZs, however, are open to all businesses, not just those from the Islamic world.

Muslim countries should do their best to set up joint banks, use common currencies and establish common markets to ease trade among their private sectors, said Torkan, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

The Islamic Republic has been publicly pushing the common market idea for decades. But it is simply ignored by the powers-that-be across the Islamic world. And this conference on Kish only drew 60 people from 20 countries to discuss trade.

Except for trade with its immediate neighbors like Iraq and Turkey, Iran actually has little trade with the Islamic world.

PressTV quoted Torkan as saying. "The World Trade Organization can guarantee the free flow of goods and capital among Muslim countries in the near future."

But WTO rules apply across all countries, not just Islamic ones.

Furthermore, Iran is not yet a member of WTO and does not abide by its rules. The Bush Administration for several years vetoed Iran's application for membership, prompting considerable criticism from Europe. In May 2005, the Bush Administration withdrew its veto and the WTO set up a "working party" to start the process leading to membership. The working party has never met, however, as Iran has never taken any action on its end.

The Rohani Administration is believed much more amenable to WTO membership than the Ahmadi-nejad Administration was. But there remains much opposition in Iran to making the multiple concessions required by the WTO to open its trade and meld its policies with the rest of the world.

Iran is the largest country that is not a WTO member.

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Title Annotation:Economy: Money and its impact
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:May 9, 2014
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