BY Wasilat Azeez
Isiaka Imam, secretary-general of the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation, says significant progress has been achieved in the area of trade cooperation among member states.
D-8, also known as Developing-8, is an organisation for development cooperation among Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
According to a statement issued by the organisation, Imam said this while presenting his six months stewardship to the just-concluded meetings of 45th session of D-8 commission and the 20th session of the council of ministers held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from July 25-27 2022.
He said the organisation has concluded issues around trade facilitation strategy (TFS) and dispute settlement mechanism (DSM) of the D-8 preferential trade agreement (PTA).
He added that with this positive development, the operationalisation of the PTA, which will serve as a catalyst in boosting intra-trade relations among member countries, can now take-off later this year as agreed by the organisation.
Imam further restated his commitment to his vision of increasing intra-trade relations among member countries of D-8, as well as increasing the visibility of the organization within and outside member states, through project implementation and partnership with the organised private sector and development partners.
Meanwhile, in her inaugural address to the council of ministers, through a virtual platform, Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh and current chair of the D-8 Organization, emphasised the need for implementing the PTA within the grouping to make it a strong economic bloc.
She urged member countries to work together to provide the impetus for harnessing the potential towards a prosperous future.
Hasina expressed her satisfaction with the finalization of D-8 PTA which she hoped would help harmonise intra-country trade, liberalise the barriers, and stimulate trade and economic cooperation among the member states.
Also speaking at the event, Abul Kalam Abdul Momen, minister of foreign affairs of Bangladesh, said the volume of intra-trade among member states, which at the inception of the organisation 25 years ago was $13 billion, has now reached $129 billion.
He expressed optimism that within the next 10 years intra-trade will increase by 10 times or at least to $1.3 trillion.
Aside from trade, according to the statement, other key issues discussed by the meetings included administrative and financial matters and the issue of enlargement objectives of the organisation.
They also discussed the current and future activities of the five D-8 affiliate bodies, namely; the D-8 health and social protection program, D-8 technology transfer and exchange network, D-8 international university, D-8 network of pioneers for research and innovation and D-8 agricultural research centre.
The statement added that ministers and representatives of the member countries reiterated the commitments of their respective countries to provide continuous support to the D-8 organisation.