ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Tuesday said that presence of member states of D-8 in Islamabad is a testimony that all the members stand by their word and the summit will lead to increased prosperity for the people of member countries.Addressing the inaugural session of the seventh D-8 Business Forum here on Tuesday, where Nigeria handed over the Chairmanship of the D-8 BusinessForum to Pakistan for next two years, he said that current dynamism and diversity in economic relationship amongst the member states reflects a firm commitment to build a broad spectrum of trade and investment activities. He said that since the inception of D-8 forum, 20 per cent annual growth in trade volume of member states shows the trade potential amongst the member countries. He said the Intra-D-8 trade was US $130 billion in 2011, which was 7.5 per cent of the total trade of D-8 trade bloc, however the bilateral trade and investment among D-8 member countries is yet to reach its full potential. He hoped that it could reach to US $500 billion in 2018 after the implementation of Preferential Trade Agreement among the member states that had came into force.The Prime Minister assured the full support of Pakistan to the member states and said that the D-8 grouping was one of the most diversified clusters of developing countries and a unique platform to identify new opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation. He said the strategic positioning of the member states, its diversity and unique institutional framework provide the capacity to develop vast human and natural resources. The expanding network of relationships between the countries of the D-8 has created tremendous opportunities for business to flourish and gain a sure foothold. The Prime Minister said D-8 was a reflection of the solemn pledge made to the people 15 years ago to make their lives better - a life free from the shackles of poverty.Stressing the crucial role of the private sector in achieving the objectives of D-8 cooperation, he said sages of all hues have concluded that government was the enabler but the doer was the private entrepreneur. The Prime Minister also said, “Pakistan’s strategic and geographic location served as an international corridor providing huge opportunities for investment and trade in profitable sectors”.He further said that Pakistan had the potential to offer countless investment opportunities for business community in development, trade and industrial sectors. The PM on the occasion said, “Let me take this opportunity to assure you that Pakistan’s economy is stable and our economic policies are transparent and predictable”.Minister of State for Finance Saleem Mandviwala on the occasion said the forum would provide an opportunity to the participants to develop linkages and share experiences and expertise in their respective areas.He said there was an opportunity to interact in areas of energy, infrastructure development, agro-based industry, and textiles. He said Pakistan offers rich potential of growth for foreign investors, joint ventures and wider economic opportunities. He said the forum would formulate recommendations for the D-8 summit. The forum was jointly organised by the Board of Investment (BOI) and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI). Businessmen, industrialist and entrepreneurs from the participating member countries attended the forum. It was observed that investors from member states were so keen to participate in the event that many of them were coming straight from the airport just to attend the event thought few of them could not reach during the speech of PM Ashraf.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 21-Nov-2012 here.