Muslim countries have been important right from the ancient times because of the trade routes. These countries have been engaged for centuries in the barter trade of consumable goods, besides various cereal products and minerals.

In the earlier days, the important trade goods included cotton and silk cloth, wool, carpets, pottery, spices, perfumes and jewellery. In those days, the boats of the Muslim sea=men used to carry trade goods and passengers from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. The Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the South China Sea, Columbus and Vasco-de-Gama were helped by Muslim Sea. Men in their efforts to explore new trade routes.

In the present century, important exports from Muslim countries include agricultural goods, cotton, jute, rice, rubber and tea. 40% of the world’s mineral oil is also supplied by Muslim nations. Machinery, electrical goods and several other such products are included in the imports of the most of the Muslim countries.

Major Exports
Cotton

Pakistan and Egypt produce long-staple cotton of superior quality. Iraq, the Sudan and Uganda also produce large quantity of cotton. It is exported to the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.

Jute

Jute is extensively cultivated in Bangladesh. This country is the biggest exporter of jute in the world. It is mostly exported to the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, Russia, Japan and India.

Rice

Pakistan exports a large quantity of rice to the Middle East and the European countries.

Tea

A large quantity of tea is exported from Bangladesh to the United Kingdom.

Rubber

In Indonesia and Malaysia, rubber trees have been planted on a large scale. It is mostly exported to Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Japan.

Mineral oil (petroleum)

In most of the Middle Eastern Muslim countries, large reserves of mineral oil are located. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates export substantial are of mineral oil annually to the European countries and Japan.

Major imports

Iron and steel industries have not been established in many of the Muslim countries. These countries import machinery, engineering equipment and agricultural implements. They also import ships, aircrafts, railway locomotives, tractors, cars, scooters, motor-cycles, televisions and radio sets, and different kinds of cloth. These goods are imported mainly from U.S.A., U.K., Germany, Russia, china and Japan.

The trade routes

Most of the trade among Muslim countries is done through land routes. Trade with some of the Muslim and the non-Muslim countries is done by sea and air.

Ships and ports

Among the Muslim countries, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia have their own merchant ships. These merchant ships are operating on various trade routes. The important seaports in the Muslim world include Rabat (along the Atlantic Coast), Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, Alexandria, Port Saeed, Adana, Izmir (along the Mediterranean coast) and Istanbul (along the Red Sea Coast). The Persian Gulf ports are important mainly for the export of mineral oil. These include Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Abadan and Bander Abbas. Karachi is a major port along the Arabian Sea coast. The important ports along the Bay of Bengal coastline include Chittagong and Chalna. In the Straits of Malacca. Jakarta. Jakarta and Kualalumpur are important ports.

The airports

In the present day world, air travel and quick transportation of goods by aircrafts is becoming extremely important. Several Muslim countries have established their own air lines. Among them are the national airlines of Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Indonesia, besides handling large passenger traffic, these airlines also help in quick transportation of essential goods. In the Muslim world Cairo, Istanbul, Teheran, Karachi and Jakarta are important airports.

Trade Relations among Muslim countries

The Muslim countries are developing countries. They produce several raw materials in excess of their own needs. However, for the finished products, they depend on the developed countries. In recent times. However, industrialization has started in many Muslim countries. Numerous consumable goods are being manufactured within the Muslim states. As a result. Trade of raw material and finished goods among the Muslim countries is also increasing rapidly.

Under the pressing needs, now, the Muslim countries are cooperating with one another in joint commercial ventures. Investment corporations and shipping lines are being established. The Islamic bank, established in 1975 at Jeddah, is planning several programmers’ to provide assistance to Muslim countries for the development of production and trade of goods in the Muslim world. The effort is directed towards self-sufficiency of the Muslim world and sale of their finished products in the world market at competitive prices. Expansion in trade increases the national income. Which, in turn results in higher standards of living of the people and availability of consumer goods in abundance. To achieve this goal, production of finished goods should be increased and their quality constantly improved.