A four-day meeting of the Developing-8 (D-8) countries beginning here today will formulate a strategy to enhance their share in global trade by 15 per cent by 2018. It will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

“The D-8 countries’ share in global trade has already increased from $67 billion in 2008 to $130 billion last year, which is almost double, and in this event a strategy will be chalked out to increase their share by 15 per cent,” Secretary of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Abdul Qadeer Qazi said at a press conference on Sunday.

He said that on sidelines of the summit to be held at the Pak-China Friendship Centre significant activities, including a trade exhibition, a meeting of heads of trade promotion organisations of member countries and an interactive seminar on ‘exploring trade opportunities among the D-8 countries’ will be held.

Prime Minister Ashraf will also inaugurate the exhibition on Monday. President Asif Ali Zardari will be the chief guest at Thursday’s session which will focus on ‘democratic partnership for peace and prosperity’.

The event will be attended by leaders and representatives from Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria and Turkey. It will project Pakistan as a business destination and underscore the linkage of democracy with peace and development.

Presidents Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Nigeria and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey will attend the summit. Malaysia is likely to be represented by its deputy prime minister and Bangladesh by its foreign minister.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid has informed the government of her inability to attend the summit, despite having initially agreed to do so. Media reports said Bangladesh had sought an apology for war crimes allegedly committed during the 1971 war. Pakistan has said it had already expressed regrets at different forms and that “it is time to move forward”.

Prime Minister Ashraf will open the D-8 Business Forum on Tuesday.

The president and the prime minister will also hold bilateral meetings with the visiting leaders.

The event will mark the visit to the country by an Egyptian president after four decades and that of a Nigerian leader after 28 years.

The TDAP secretary said the agenda for enhancing global trade had been set in 2008 but it would be thoroughly debated this time.

The commerce ministry is organising three main programmes aimed at promoting Pakistan’s potential and exploring trade opportunities the other countries have to offer.

Mr Qazi said pavilions had been allotted at the exhibition to member countries to exhibit their products.

Pakistan’s stall showcases engineering, textile and Halal food products.

He said D-8 leaders, exhibitors and business delegates and councils, representatives of local trade bodies, members of diplomatic corps and local businessmen were scheduled to attend the seminar and share experiences, especially in the fields of trade and investment and make recommendations for improving relations.

Source: dawn.com