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PTA among D-8 countries to be operational from Oct

Published : 27 Jul 2022 09:52 PM | Updated : 28 Jul 2022 02:35 PM

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said that the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) among the D-8 countries would be “fully operational” by October this year creating “immense opportunity” for intra-trade.

“The D-8 countries are home to about 13% of the world population. It accounts for almost 4 trillion dollars of GDP, 1.5 trillion dollars of export. We cannot ignore this huge market and the positive impact it can have on our economy. It is now time to concentrate on trade and investment more intently,” he said while speaking at the D-8 meeting of ministers.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the meeting virtually.

D-8, also known as Developing-8, is an organization for development cooperation among the eight Muslims countries - Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.

The establishment of D-8 was announced officially through the Istanbul Declaration of Summit of Heads of State/Government on June 15, 1997.

The objectives of D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation are to improve member states’ position in the global economy, diversify and create new opportunities in trade relations, enhance participation in decision-making at international level, and improve standards of living.

Ambassador Isiaka Abdulqadir Imam from Nigeria is currently the Secretary General of the D-8 Organization with its Secretariat based in Istanbul-Turkey.

The idea of cooperation among major Muslim developing countries was mooted by Prof. Dr. Necmettin Erbakan, the then Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, during a Seminar on “Cooperation in Development” which was held in Istanbul in October 1996.

The group envisioned cooperation among countries stretching from South East Asia to Africa. Representatives from Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria and Pakistan attended the seminar.

This conference was the first step towards the establishment of D-8 and it was only after a series of preparatory meetings that D-8 was set up officially and began its activities with the Istanbul Declaration issued at the end of the summit of Heads of State and Government held in Istanbul on June 15, 1997.

According to the first Summit Declaration (Istanbul, 1997), the main objective of D-8 is declared to be socio-economic development in accordance with the principles of peace instead of conflict, dialogue instead of confrontation, cooperation instead of exploitation, justice instead of double-standard, equality instead of discrimination and democracy instead of oppression.

To accentuate investment among the D-8 members, Prime Minister Hasina has offered a space in the 100 Special Economic Zones and Hi-Tech Park.

“I would request the members to encourage their business Chambers to take advantage of this opportunity. I have a hope, during the last 25 years, our intra-trade increased from $ 13 billion to $ 129 billion and in the next 10 years it should increase 10 times to $ 1.3 trillion since we are creating opportunities for Youth, Women and Digital Connectivity,” said the foreign minister.

“The present world crisis has shown us the importance of food and energy security. While alone we might have to struggle to find a solution, but together we can be winners and overcome these temporal difficulties,” he said.

“Bangladesh is the 41st largest economy in the world with a vibrant youth population of 70 % of our population. We have amazing accomplishments in agricultural innovation. We have built the Padma bridge with our own resources which is an engineering miracle. We have maintained our post-Covid economic growth to 6.94 % which we hope to continue in 2022 with a projected 7.25 % growth rate. We welcome you to work with us in areas of mutual interests,” he said.

“Today, standing here at this historical moment commemorating the 25th anniversary of the D-8, we promise to realize the dream that you and the fellow leaders had envisioned for us.”

“If the D-8 leaders sincerely commit themselves for a better future for its people, I have a hope and a dream that we are sure to be winners and no one can derail our development process and stability, let it be our goal for coming years,” he called upon the D-8 countries.