During its ministerial meeting in Dhaka on Wednesday, member states of the Development-8 known as D-8 agreed to start implementation of the preferential trade agreement by October and work on multilateral cooperation to to maximize business prospects and opportunities.
Opening the 20th session of the D-8 Council of Ministers virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said D-8 countries celebrating the bloc’s 25th anniversary should focus on specific areas such as establishing de PTA, D- 8 Economic zone, diversified agriculture to ensure food security and alternative sources to face the energy crisis.
She also called on the D-8 countries to implement the PTA and offered spaces for investments in Bangladesh’s special economic zones.
“Let’s work together to harness the potential of D-8 countries for a prosperous future,” she said at the hybrid meeting held at a hotel in the city.
Implementation of PTA, PM said, would help promote intra-country trade, remove barriers and boost economic cooperation among member states including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey , Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria.
Commenting on the outcome of the meeting, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said that issues relating to food and energy crises were discussed during the meeting.
“It was decided at the meeting that the D-8 energy ministerial meeting will be held following the global energy crisis,” he said, adding that Iran is willing to cooperate in the sector. Energy.
“But Iran has to respect certain restrictions since we are not so powerful,” he answered a question during the press conference after the meeting.
“We have worked on trade and investment cooperation for decades. The PTA will be fully operational by October 2022, which will create immense opportunities for intra-community trade among the D-8 countries,” Momen said, adding that all except Egypt have already ratified the PTA.
He said that during the 25 years of travel, the D-8 countries had successfully grouped their areas of cooperation into six priority sectors: trade and investment, industry, energy, agriculture, transport and tourism.
The D-8 countries are home to about 13% of the world’s population and account for nearly $4 trillion in GDP and $1.5 trillion in exports, he said.
The foreign ministers of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey participated virtually in the hybrid meeting while deputy ministers and representatives of other countries joined in person.
“Over the past 25 years, our intra-community trade has grown from $13 billion to $129 billion and over the next 10 years it is expected to increase 10 times to $1.3 trillion as we create opportunities for youth, women and digital connectivity,” Momen said.
To accentuate the investment of D-8 members, he said the prime minister had offered space in 100 special economic zones and Hi-Tech Park.
The Minister said that Bangladesh would chair the D-8 for another year as Egypt, which was supposed to host the next meeting, would remain busy with the Conference of Parties (COP27) during this time.
Responding to a question regarding the inclusion of Azerbaijan in the group, the Foreign Minister said that it was discussed during the meeting and there were no objections from any country.
“We have decided to develop the procedures for including new members,” he added.
The D-8 Secretary General, Ambassador Isiaka Abdulqadir Imam, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, Chairman of the D-8 Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Fazle Fahim and Secretary for Foreign Affairs Foreigners Masud Bin Momen also spoke at the inaugural session.
Bangladesh also hosted the 45th session of Commission D-8 from July 25-26 in Dhaka.
The D-8 Preferential Trade Agreement, signed on May 13, 2006 in Bali, Indonesia, is considered one of the most tangible results of D-8 trade cooperation.
After rounds of multilateral discussions and negotiations, the PTA entered into force on August 25, 2011.
The creation of the D-8 was officially announced by the Istanbul declaration of the June 15, 1997 summit.
The objectives of the D-8 Economic Cooperation Organization are to improve the position of member states in the global economy, to diversify and create new opportunities in trade relations, to strengthen participation in decision-making in the international level and improve living standards, according to its official website.