D-8 Summit: A move in the right
Paves way for establishment of
an economic bloc
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Mar 05 - 11, 2001
Recently concluded D-8 summit in Cairo has paved the way for
establishment of an effective economic bloc of the member states including Egypt,
Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan.
Although there was no formal announcement regarding formation of an
economic bloc of the member countries yet various important decisions unanimously agreed
at the top level to consolidate available resources would hopefully culminating into
formation of an economic bloc of the member countries.
In fact the summit has thrown the ball into the court of the trade
communities of the respective countries to play a greater role to prove their existence
through achieving the desired economic targets set by the summit.
Growing interaction between the business communities of the member
states would now be possible, as the trade bodies have been entrusted for recommendation
of visa for the intended business visitors.
The representative trade bodies of the D-8 countries will also
establish a Trade Promotion Company (TPC) to identify areas having potential to enhance
volume of trade among the member states.
The decision was the outcome of the meeting of the trade bodies of the
respective countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey,
Nigeria and Egypt. The trade representatives had a meeting before going of D-8 summit into
session at Cairo on Feb 25, 2001.
Pakistan side of the businessmen comprising Tariq Sayied, Zubair
Tufail, Iqbal Paracha and Kanwar Qutubuddin was led by Iftikhar Malik, President of the
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).
The Central Banks of the respective countries would also provide extra
credit limits for trade among the D-8 countries was yet another important decision taken
by the summit.
In order to support trade activities among the member states, the
Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has agreed to provide long term financing on soft term
basis on project to project basis.
Foreign Ministers of the Group of 8 Developing Islamic Countries have
signed an agreement on facilitating entry visa procedures for businessmen among the member
states. Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Mousa, who chaired a meeting of the D-8 foreign
ministers, said that the agreement is aimed at removing red tape in order to help business
councils among the member countries access D-8 member markets.
It will also eliminate administrative obstacles to mutual investments;
the minister said adding that it is of importance to promote cooperation amongst the
private sector of the D-8 countries. D-8 countries' total export to the international
markets account for 3.88 per cent of the total international exports while imports are
estimated at 4.15 per cent of the total imports. This indicates that the D-8 countries are
not getting the due share out of the global transactions. The only way to get a proper
share out of the global market is to make concerted efforts by the member countries, the
The member countries of the Developing-Eight have authorized the
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) to recommend visa
applications of Pakistan businessmen to enhance trade among themselves.
According to FPCCI president Iftikhar Malik, D-8 summit took a number
of decisions and steps to facilitate bilateral trade. FPCCI has been authorized to
recommend visa applications of Pakistani industrialists and traders desirous to visit
these countries. Recommendations from FPCCI would ensure issuance of visa within 48 hours.
This measure is a step towards establishment of a common market of the
D-8. Other feasible steps are also being taken to remove hurdles and irritants in the way
of an economic bloc, he observed.
Representing Pakistan's point of view at the summit, Chief Executive
Gen. Pervez Musharraf has called upon the member states for concerted efforts to address
the problem of increasing burden of foreign debt. He said that the developing world needs
debt relief on a large-scale basis to bring about financial stability, a pre-requisite for
The debt burden has reached an alarming proportion and causing a threat
to macro economic policies of the developing nations.
The total population of the member states comes to over 800 million or
13.5 per cent of the world's total population. Despite having enormous potentials and a
huge size of population, the developing countries are deprived of their due share in
global economic growth. One of the major reasons for their economic drawbacks is the lack
of coordination and cooperation between the member countries. The more important thing
before the D-8 countries should be a consensus for improving coordination through
development of understanding among themselves. It is heartening to note that D-8 summit
has given a direction, the only thing, which is needed, is to join hands for a common
purpose. Moving together in the given direction, they have the potential to hit the