ISLAMABAD - Meeting of the Trade Ministers’ Council of the Developing 8 (D-8) Group will be held in Islamabad today.

Pakistan will chair the council’s meeting for the first time. The meeting will deliberate on the status of Preferential Trade Agreement among the contracting parties, which is in advanced stages.

The members would discuss the tariff reduction lists, provided so far by the member states. As of now, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey have submitted their lists. 

The (D-8) is a group of Muslim countries, comprising Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Turkey and Pakistan. The establishment of D-8 was announced by the heads of state/government in Istanbul on June 15, 1997.

Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan, who will chair the council’s meeting, held a meeting with the ambassadors of D-8 countries and apprised them of the preparations Pakistan has made for the meeting.

Talking to the ambassadors, the minister said that Pakistan intended to hold meaningful negotiations on trade, and conclude negotiations on a fast-track basis to reap maximum benefits out of the agreement.

He said the economic cooperation and trade facilitation, among the member countries, would change the lives of teeming millions, who inhabit these states.

The meeting will also discuss the dispute settlement mechanism and continue its discussion on the Dispute Settlement document, which sets the rules for resolving the disagreements between the parties.

The council will discuss the provisions of Rules of Origin and the Bangladesh’s proposal to have 30% local value addition criteria for LDCs, as agreed among the OIC member Trade Preferential System

Pakistan’s total exports to D-8 countries, in 2014-15, were $1.602 billion, while the imports were $3.67 billion. The exports to Iran stood at $30 million, Turkey $309.2 million, Bangladesh $697.6 million, Indonesia $143.2 million, Malaysia $ 205.1 million, Egypt $ 150.9 million and Nigeria $ 66.7 million.