Member's Area
Indian Ocean Rim Association
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Trade & Investment Facilitation

Trade and Investment Facilitation


Trade and investment is an area that directly impacts upon job creation, poverty alleviation and economic development, and contributes to the objective of promoting sustainable and balanced economic growth in the region. IORA is working towards strengthening cooperation with the business community in order to accelerate intra-regional trade and increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows. Key areas of attention include trade facilitation, exploring options for trade policy coordination, the harmonization and simplification of procedures and the dissemination of information through appropriate arrangements, including trade fairs, business-to-business meetings and capacity-building workshops.

Policy Approach 

IORA represents a platform that should be leveraged by Member States in order to build global businesses, promote international trade and investment, and achieve sustainable and market-led economic growth that would contribute to job creation in the region. 

IORA should continue to pursue the establishment of a Preferential Trade Agreement for the region that would open access to global markets by eliminating barriers to trade and investment. Member States should work together to promote trade diversification and remove non-tariff barriers that could obstruct trade. Member States could consider harmonizing trade practices in line with international norms and adopt measures consistent with their WTO obligations to stimulate growth and development in the region. 

IORA should expand cooperation with the business community to address the key trade and regulatory challenges that impede the global competitiveness of our members. The private sector has a key role to play in ensuring an open international environment that would facilitate cross-border trade and investment by businesses to sustain the economic growth, job creation and sustainable development. The support of Member States would be required for the establishment of the IORA Business Travel Card, which would facilitate movement of the business community and boost trade and investment. Initiatives should be taken to facilitate interaction between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and trade and investment promotion organisations of Member States. The IORA should also work towards developing a culture that encourages entrepreneurship and promoting the diffusion of training programmes and new technologies in ways that enable and encourage SMEs to take full advantage of them. 

Effective trade linkages should be established between Member States on existing sectors such as food sector trade, SMEs, financial services, mining, tourism, etc. and emerging ones such as the ocean economy and renewable energy. Important studies conducted on trade and investment include "Trade and Investment Prospects of the IOR-ARC in the New Millennium" and "Institutional mechanisms for promoting intra-regional investments and trade in the IOR-ARC region in strategic sectors: cooperation in knowledge-based industries". 

The IORA should also focus on strengthening trade and economic relations with emerging Africa. 

Recent Events

Event Date Venue Document
First IORA Free Trade Zones Authorities Meeting 19-20 May 2016 Chabahar, Iran -
Second IORA Economic and Business Conference (EBC-II) on 
"SMEs and Innovation Investing in a Sustainable and Inclusive
11-13 April 2016 Dubai, UAE -
Training Workshop of the United Nation for Economic
Commission of Africa (UNECA) on Enhancing the Contribution
of Preferential Trade Agreements to Inclusive and Equitable
04-06 November 2015 Ebene, Mauritius -
IORA Workshop on "Promoting Microfinance for Economic
Development of IORA Region" 
08-09 April 2015 Dhaka, Bangladesh -
IORA Business and Trade Facilitation Workshop 4-5 August 2014 Ebene, Mauritius -
First IORA Economic and Business Conference (EBC) 4-5 July 2013 Le Meridien, Mauritius -
Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2012 30-31 October 2012 Colombo, Sri Lanka -
Workshop on Trade Facilitation and Customs Harmonisation 30 May - 01 June 2012 Mumbai, India -
IORA Trade Policy Workshop 28 May - June 2012 Canberra, Australia -