Business community hails PTA among D-8 countries

  • February 19, 2016
Atif Ikram Sheikh President, Sheikh Pervez Ahmed Senior Vice President and Sheikh Abdul Waheed Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry have welcomed the much-awaited agreement among D-8 countries for implementing the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) from July 1, 2016. They termed it a highly positive development as it would improve Pakistan’s trade prospects, give boost to trade among these countries and uplift living standards of their people. 
They said that D-8 countries have huge potential to enhance cooperation in many areas and promote intra-trade as they have a combined population of about 1 billion people with a combined national income of about US$ 3.7 trillion. However, they said these countries were conducting only 7% of their total international trade among themselves which was not encouraging. 
They said the volume of current trade among D-8 countries was around US$ 120 billion and hoped that implementation of PTA would pave way for taking this figure upto US$ 500 billion by the end of 2018 as pledged by these countries. They stressed that to achieve this target, it was necessary that D-8 countries should focus on facilitating their private sectors in developing stronger cooperation and forging closer business linkages as it will help businessmen in exploring untapped areas of collaborations. 
They underscored the need of eliminating all barriers to trade and investment among D-8 countries in order to accelerate trade, investment and joint ventures activities. They urged that trade promotion bodies of D-8 countries should ensure easy flow of information about available opportunities in different sectors of their economies and give private sectors leading role in harnessing such prospects.
The Chambers of Commerce & Industry of D-8 countries should be facilitated in frequent interactions, exchanging business delegations and organizing exhibitions on regular basis. The economic and commercial sections of D-8 countries should gear up efforts for identifying trade and investment opportunities and share market study reports with businessmen.
They said that SMEs were engine of growth in developing countries and D-8 countries should focus on strengthening cooperation among their SMEs to capitalize on all potential areas of cooperation. They were of the view that increased trade among D-8 countries would strengthen the economies and bring prosperity to the people of these countries.