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Policymakers, businesses stress D-8 PTA implementation

New Age-26 July 2022

Policymakers, businesses stress D-8 PTA implementation

Policymakers and business leaders on Tuesday emphasised the implementation of a preferential trade agreement the member countries of the Developing-8 (D-8) signed to facilitate trade and investments among the eight countries.

The D-8, an economic bloc for development cooperation among Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, was established around the concept of cooperation among major Muslim developing countries across South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa.

The D-8 preferential trade agreement was signed on May 13, 2006 at the 5th D-8 Summit held in Bali of Indonesia.

At the inaugural ceremony of the D8 Chambers of Commerce and Industry Business Forum and Expo 2022 held at the Sonargaon Hotel in the capital Dhaka on Tuesday, policymakers and business leaders said that the D-8 countries should have a consensus on enhanced cooperation to overcome the present global economic crises caused by the Covid pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

‘We have to think about PTA and other trade facilitation measures among the D-8 countries. If we are sincere, we can increase our intra-trade volume to over $0.3 trillion in the next 10 years,’ Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said while addressing the event as chief guest.

He said that Bangladesh government was setting up 100 special economic zones and 20 hi-tech parks with lucrative packages.

‘I welcome all business leaders of D-8 countries to take the advantage of tax exemption and 100 per cent profit return through establishing factories in our zones,’ the minister said.

He said that the investors who would make investments in Bangladesh’s SEZs and hi-tech parks would be winner and the products of the factories in the zones would be competitive as Bangladesh has affordable labour force.

Commerce minister Tipu Munshi also invited businesses of D-8 countries to make investments in Bangladesh and said that the government was considering establishing an economic zone for the D-8 nations.

To make the PTA operational among the D-8 countries, Bangladesh has issued a customs notification as the forum should have consensus upon enhanced cooperation to overcome the present global crisis, he said.

The commerce minister urged the businesses of D-8 countries to invest in information technology in Bangladesh to transform the upcoming challenges of the 4th industrial revolution into opportunities.

Prime minister’s private sector industry and investment adviser Salman F Rahman said that there were huge possibilities for the D-8 countries to grow together and the private sector would have to take initiatives to tap the potentials and the Bangladesh government would facilitate the process.

He urged leaders of D-8 CCI to prepare a strategic roadmap for engagement in value chain integration across the agriculture, manufacturing and other sectors.

D-8 CCI president Sheikh Fazle Fahim said due to the ongoing impact of the Covid pandemic and key global economic developments, every member country of the forum was experiencing foreign reserve and currency vulnerabilities, supply chain disruptions, inflation, energy and food security risks and therefore they should take precautionary measures to prepare for business beyond the usual.

‘In light of these developments, the D8 CCI is working on a strategic roadmap aimed at each of our strength sectors, for PTA ratification and engagement in value chain integration across the agriculture, manufacturing, tertiary and quaternary sectors,’ he said.

Fahim said that the D-8 CCI would explore alternative trade finance and trade facilitation processes such as cross currency swap, barter and blockchain to address the member countries’ foreign currency reserve vulnerabilities.

‘We have full of resources and full of people. We should get together to gain what we want,’ said Abd Halim Bin Husin, vice-president of the National Chamber of Commerce of Industry, Malaysia.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, president of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the demand for halal products was increasing on the global market and the D-8 countries had the scope to gain significant share of the market.

State minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam, D-8 secretary general Isiaka Abdulqadir Imam and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Md Jashim Uddin, among others, spoke at the event.

 source: New Age