The Prime Minister was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of a four-day trade exhibition being held on the margins of the D-8 Summit, at Pak-China Friendship Centre here.
All D-8 countries including Turkey, Iran, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt and the host country Pakistan have put their products on display at their designated pavilions.
Addressing the representatives of the participating countries, the Prime Minister said D-8 countries had a huge market of close to a billion people and stressed that intra-trade was the surest way to improve their economic indicators.
“Promotion of business-to-business linkages among the member countries lies at the core of D-8’s strategy to promote economic welfare of our peoples,” he said.
The Prime Minister hoped that with consistency, the D-8 countries could achieve the intra-D-8 trade target of US$ 500 billion by 2018, and may even surpass it.
He sought an early removal of non-tariff barriers to benefit from the full potential of intra D-8 trade. He also proposed promotion of trade in services which would immensely benefit D-8 countries.
Raja Ashraf said Pakistan was keen to expand business and trade relations with the D-8 member countries.He mentioned that Pakistan had ratified all three key agreements including the one on Preferential Trade and was convinced that implementation of tariff concessions under this agreement would lead the D-8 community towards greater economic integration.He said Pakistan on the eve of the D-8 Summit, had also taken the initiative of hosting the first-ever meeting of the heads of Trade Promotion Organizations (TPOs).He said the initiative was intended to institutionalize trade relations among D-8 members and added that TPOs could play a critical role in catalyzing the private sector and identifying avenues of cooperation in trade promotion.
The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction over the fifteen-year journey of the D-8 governments that had taken many practical steps to facilitate promotion of trade.He mentioned in this regard important framework agreements such as Preferential Trade Agreement, Agreement on Visa facilitation and Cooperation on Customs matters. He said efforts are underway to promote institutional linkages among the business community.