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ESCWA, IRU Sign Agreement on Transport Facilitation

Beirut, Lebanon

Umberto de Pretto, Secretary General Of the International Road Union (IRU) today said that trade figures within the Arab region are quite shocking, since for example only 9% of trade is between the Arab world.  

De Pretto was speaking at the UN House in Beirut before signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ESCWA on cooperation and coordination of efforts on transport-related issues in the Arab region. 

“Our mission is to reduce the cost of trade and make it easier for businesses to do business. That is on one hand what we are going to try to achieve through this MoU and we must achieve it for the Arab world,” de Pretto said, adding that in an audience with ESCWA Executive Secretary, both parties talked about hope. “What we want to bring is hope to the youth of the Arab world. If we can bring hope to the youth we can start whittling away at conflict.” Summing up this point, de Pretto said “If we get economies going, we will bring hope to people.” He noted that IRU mission is to make certain that we facilitate and secure trade, drive sustainable development and ensure that all economies benefit from trade.

For his part, Director of ESCWA Economic Development and Integration Division Mohamed El Hacene said “this agreement between IRU and ESCWA is the fruitful outcome of a long journey of cooperation and mutual aid between both organizations since 2000s to promote integrated land transport systems in the Arab region to enhance economic development through trade and transport facilitation.”