The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has launched its first regional banking commission in Dubai for the Mena region.

The organisation aims to create other regional banking commissions in the future, but chose to start in Mena due to the region’s growth as a global trading hub.

Tan Kah Chye, chairman of the ICC banking commission, explained at the launch: “There are many good reasons why we chose Dubai. The banking commission has been very successful for almost a hundred years now, but we have been fairly Europe-centric in the past. The world is changing and will continue to change, and extending our reach to the rest of the world is very important.

“We would like to use Dubai as a showcase for the rest of the world to create more regional banking commissions in Latin America, Asia and different parts of the world.”

The ICC has appointed Lakshamanan Sankaran as the chair of the newly-created commission, which it hopes will improve communication between trade finance players in the region.

“The goal is to develop a mechanism to better understand the regional risks in terms of policy advocacy and to promote ICC banking commission mandates, disseminate policy information and market intelligence in trade finance to regional industry leaders, regulators and government officials. The Mena commission will also organise regional conferences and workshops on the areas of trade finance, supply chain finance, regulatory environment in banking and dispute resolution in trade finance. Last but not least, we will be working actively with national committees in the Mena region on all mechanisms,” Sankaran told members and GTR.

It is also expected that the creation of an ICC regional banking commission in Mena will help the development of Islamic finance across the world.

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry director general Hamad Buamim stated that Islamic products are evolving day by day, but that by having ICC representation in the Middle East, shariah-compliant finance “will be able to attract more people, more experts, so that they will participate in writing the rules and educating others”.

However, Tan replied that the ICC would only work on developing a set of rules for Islamic finance if demand came from the market. “The ICC is evolving and responding to market demands, but not creating a solution looking for a problem. For Islamic finance, the ICC will once again be very inclusive and welcome any engagement, but it has to be initiated by the market; not by ICC.”