D8 nations adopt trade blueprint: official
Tue, Jul 08, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - LEADERS from the D8 group of developing nations on Tuesday adopted an ambitious 10-year blueprint to substantially increase trade between their countries, an official said.

'The leaders have agreed to the roadmap,' a Malaysian foreign ministry official involved in the negotiations told AFP.

The so-called 'D8' comprises Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey and is meeting as the Group of Eight (G8) industrial powers holds a high profile annual summit in Japan.

The trade agreement, to run from 2008 to 2018, details economic and business activities that member nations will pursue over the next decade.

'It is a guideline for a vision and framework for enhancing cooperation. It covers sectors from investment, agriculture, energy, tourism, transportation, banking and finance,' the pact said, according to the Malaysian official.

Malaysia's central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said the D8 nations were now on track to achieve their goal of boosting their intra-grouping trade by 10 to 15 per cent by 2018.

'Of course they can achieve it,' she told reporters on the sidelines of the summit, adding that the momentum would help their economies offset the impact of a looming global slowdown.

To further promote economic ties, the D8 members agreed on Tuesday to simplify visa procedures for business people from member nations.

'It relates to speedy visa approval to D8 businessmen. It is designed to facilitate economic and trade relations,' another senior Malaysian diplomat said. We want the private sector to spearhead economic and trade cooperation.'

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani urged the D8 countries to quickly implement trade and customs agreements aimed at promoting economic cooperation, which were also inked here.

'Early implementation of these agreements will give impetus to promotion of intra-D8 trade, which is at present only US$60.5 billion (S$82.4 billion)', he said.

Total trade by the eight members amounts to US$1 trillion dollars, officials said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Malaysia's Abdullah Ahmad Badawi are also attending the summit.

Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria and Turkey are represented by ministers and officials. -- AFP


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