- 4-day 10th D-8 Summit started virtually on 5 April
- PM Sheikh Hasina to preside over top leaders' meeting on 8 April
- D-8 members: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey
- D-8 member states account for 4.9% of world GDP
- D-8 countries' total population is 15.3% of world population
The top business forums of D-8 – an organisation of eight major developing Islamic countries – have agreed to work together on trade, agriculture and food security, industrial cooperation and the development of small and medium industries.
On the first day of the D-8 Business Forum held virtually on the eve of the 10th D-8 Summit, leaders of the major chambers of the D-8 member countries also agreed to boost cooperation in the transport, energy and mineral resources, and tourism sectors.
Bangladesh invited investment from the other D-8 member states at the discussion.
This year's D-8 Summit started on 5 April on a virtual platform. On the last day of the four-day event, a meeting will be held among the top leaders of the alliance.
Besides presiding over the summit, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will lead the Bangladesh delegation there.
The D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation, also known as Developing-8, is an organisation for development cooperation among Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.
The total GDP of the D-8 member states is around 4.9% of world GDP and the total population is around 15.3% of the world population.
Addressing the business forum as chief guest, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said, "The global economy is at risk of losing $8.5 trillion due to the epidemic. Even then, Bangladesh's GDP growth is more than 5%. Bangladesh is now known as a land of vibrant economy. In this context, there is a great opportunity for the D-8 countries to invest here."
He said the D-8 members have huge opportunities to invest in Bangladesh in trade, agriculture and food security, industrial cooperation and small and medium industries, transport, energy and mineral resources and tourism.
This should be done through mutual assistance in international, economic and trade matters, including enhancing inter-D-8 cooperation, he observed and asked for effective measures to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers among the D-8 member countries.
At the business forum, FBCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim took over the chairmanship of the D-8 Chamber of Commerce and Industries (D-8 CCI) from Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu of Turkey.
Referring to the GDP and population of the alliance, Sheikh Fazle Fahim this is the manifestation of the region's consumer base for both service and commodities along with its inherent growth potentials. "To tap into that, I believe the D-8 CCI could play the key role through effective collaboration and partnership with their government sector in addition to their own networking mechanism."
"Leveraging the commonalities, D-8 member states should aim at promoting intra-trade and investment innovation. We need common investment policies, guidelines, and strategies including diaspora investment opportunities; and work for minimising tariff and non-tariff barriers.
"We also need to create funds for development, R&D, technology transfer, capacity building and support for institutions and centers of excellence, including the SME and blue economy sectors," added Fazle Fahim.
Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, president of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey and former chairperson of D-8 CCI said, "I would also like to congratulate Mr. Sheikh Fazle Fahim, the President of the FBCCI for taking over the Chairmanship of the D-8 CCI. I wish you all the success in taking this Chamber to even newer heights."
Speaking on the occasion, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said, "Artificial intelligence and technological development will bring in some new challenges to us in the industrial sector in the future. We have to be prepared to deal with these."
Calling on the D-8 countries to invest in Bangladesh, the commerce minister said, "Bangladesh is setting up100 economic zones. All of them are being user friendly. You can invest here without any hassle."
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said the whole world is facing an unfortunate problem. The D-8 will have to work together to tackle this, he added.
Taking part in the discussion, Rushar Pekcan, minister of trade of Turkey, said if the D-8 countries work together, they will be able to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic very easily.
"But for this, customs and borders have to be made more business-friendly. Initiatives should be taken to reduce non-tax barriers."
Mohammad-Reza Karbasi, deputy head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA), said Iran is now a model in the technology sector. "There are more than 4,000 technology companies in our country. 5,856 companies have registered for knowledge-based research. These organisations have a huge skilled workforce. The D-8 countries will be able to utilise these experiences through mutual cooperation."
He also said that these countries would be able to work with each other on innovation, establishment of tech trade centres, strengthening local brands, development of the tourism sector, production of high-tech products, and formation of joint tech funds.
Tan Sri Datuk Ter Leong Yap, president of National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, said D-8 has a large group of people who are youth and are involved in startups and other unique businesses.
"We are quite active in social media and other social messaging apps like WhatsApp. We will benefit immensely from exchange of business ideas and extending our business networks in future. We may also get informal access to new markets."