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Sunday, 15 July 2007

Netherlands keen to attract Islamic banking

Amsterdam: The Dutch government will look into ways to attract Islamic banking to the Netherlands, the finance ministry said in a letter to parliament. "We think there are chances for the Dutch financial sector," said Finance Minister Wouter Bos in a letter on Friday answering questions from lawmakers. "Dubai and London are developing into the international centres for Islamic banking. The Netherlands is fit to also play a role here," Bos added. The finance ministry signalled an increase in the Netherlands in financial products that comply with Islam's ban on interest and the trading of debt. Minister for Integration Ella Vogelaar told Dutch daily Trouw in remarks published yesterday that Islamic culture is rooting in the Dutch culture in a way that eventually the Netherlands will have a Jewish-Christian-Islamic tradition. "Ages ago the Jewish community came to the Netherlands and we now say that the Netherlands was created from Jewish and Christian traditions. I can imagine we will see a similar process with Islam," Vogelaar said. The GCC's largest economy Saudi Arabia is considered the locomotive that will drive the Islamic finance sector's growth in the future. It is expected the $26-billion King Abdullah City project will throw up a lot of sukuks. Islamic finance experts insist that the sector must have a secondary market for trading in sukuks and more retail investors should invest in Islamic bond funds. - (GN, 14 July 07)

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