D-8 lays focus on trade

ISLAMABAD - Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Thursday said D-8 had the potential to become a vehicle for economic development for the member states and for the welfare of the people of the region.
Addressing the 16th session of the D-8 Council of Ministers here at Foreign Office, he said national economic agenda of Pakistan will be greatly facilitated if collectively all D-8 countries will work on the economic development agenda.
He urged the member states to pool in resources and collaborate by mutually benefitting from common strength.
He said there was a need now to take on board the businessmen and entrepreneurs in all these countries to forge trade and business linkages.
He assured that Pakistan as chairman and active member of the organisation would continue to contribute towards making the work of the D-8 more result-oriented with the cooperative spirit that guided the organisation.
Aziz said, "I believe that our collective will to overcome the socio-economic challenges is stronger and we can surmount these challenges and achieve desired results for the development of our countries and people."
He said in the last ministerial meeting held in Islamabad in November 2012 on the occasion of the eighth D-8 summit, the members were able to adopt key documents for this organisation including D-8 Charter and Global Vision for the future, besides Islamabad Declaration.
He said there was a need to install mechanisms of monitoring of progress in achieving agreed goals according to certain timelines.
Aziz said Pakistan government was working to grant business preferences and reliefs in customs matters, and the government had already installed one of world's most liberal and business-friendly environment.
He said there were several sectors including energy, agriculture and agro-based industries, mineral development, transport and engineering sectors which were only waiting to be invested in by the businessmen from all D-8 countries.
He urged the businessmen and investors from D-8 countries to avail of the enormous business opportunities in Pakistan. Sartaj Aziz said a great opportunity lies for combining skilled and unskilled labour with foreign direct investment that would help businesses grow faster and more efficiently.
"Our government is keen to facilitate business-to-business links and public-private partnerships," he added.
He said Pakistan was working on a medium term vision 2025 roadmap to transform economy and address problem of energy shortage and lead to sustained economic revival and provide better services to people through institutional reforms.
"We also plan to integrate the region through trade and economic corridors into one large market and with population of 190 million having a large youth segment, the potential for progress is enormous," he added.
Sartaj Aziz said although security had been a challenge, but the government was taking decisive actions to restore peace across the country.
He said many international companies had already begun to take interest by signing agreements for investment in energy, agriculture, IT, telecommunication and textile.

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