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Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Monday said D-8 member states should leverage the commonalities and aim to promote intra-trade, investment in innovation; and minimise tariff and non-tariff barriers.

"We need common investment policies, guidelines, and strategies including diaspora investment opportunities; and work for minimising tariff and non-tariff barriers," he said at the D-8 Business Forum held virtually.

President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Sheikh Fazle Fahim and president of Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), Rifat Hisarcıklıoglu also spoke at the event.

The chairmanship of D-8 Chamber of Commerce and Industries (D-8 CCI) was handed over to the FBCCI from the TOBB.

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Rifat Hisarcıklıoglu took over as the Chair of the D-8 CCI in 2017.

Bangladesh will assume the chairmanship of D-8 for the term of two years through the 10th Summit scheduled to be held on 8 April. As part of the 10th Summit, Bangladesh hosted the D-8 Youth Summit for the first time on Monday.

Momen said they need to create funds for development, R&D, technology transfer, capacity building and support for institutions and centres of excellence, including the SME and blue economy sectors.

"We’d like to particularly stress on the area of innovation and mainstreaming them in our developmental strategy circuit," he said.

The D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation, also known as Developing-8, is an organisation for development co-operation among Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.
The foreign minister said the total GDP of the D-8 member states is around 4.9 per cent of world GDP and the total population is around 15.3 per cent of the world population. This is a manifestation of the region’s consumer base for both service and commodities along with its inherent growth potentials.

"To tap into that, I believe D-8 CCI could play the key role through effective collaboration and partnership with their government sector in addition to their own networking mechanism," Momen said.

The UN has estimated that the global economy is expected to lose nearly $8.5 trillion in output over the next two years.

"It’s this unfortunate situation that has compelled us to hold this auspicious Business Forum virtually. At the same time, it’s on you, the leaders of business sector who have a special responsibility and challenge, to help the global economy turn around," Momen said referring to the current pandemic situation.

Through people centric leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has been able to balance between “life and livelihood” to a great extent during this pandemic, he said.

Momen said the government has adopted a series of stimulus packages worth of US$14.6 billion, which is around 4.44 per cent of the GDP with a view to protecting the income of the poor, the vulnerable and helping the revival of economic activities.

He expressed his appreciation to the new chair of the D-8 CCI, the FBCCI, and also to the immediate past chair, the TOBB, for their laudable arrangements.

The foreign minister said the secretary-general of the D-8 Secretariat deserves special appreciation for his sincere efforts and significant contribution.

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