Turkey urges more trade, lifting FDI restrictions among D-8 members

The level of integration for the trade, investments, and supply chains among Developing-8 (D-8) countries is far below the desired level, the Turkish trade minister said, adding that the explicit or implicit restrictions on foreign direct investments (FDI) should be lifted for close cooperation to be achieved under the organization.

Speaking at an event organized for D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation’s 25th anniversary in Istanbul, Mehmet Muş stressed that the member countries have a great economic potential with a population of over 1 billion and economic size amounting to over $4 trillion.

“However, we have not yet been able to utilize this potential during the past 25 years fully,” he said and added that as of last year, the share of D-8 countries in Turkey’s foreign trade volume is only around 5%.

While the foreign direct investment (FDI) flow to Turkey totaled $242 billion (TL 4.1 trillion) since 2002, the total investment from D-8 countries to the country was only $1.1 billion during the same period, I have highlighted.

Activating mechanisms that will use the member countries’ potential most effectively is very important in accelerating the development efforts at the national and regional levels, he said.

The increased cooperation in the field of investment within the D-8 will provide unique opportunities to revive new trade and investment links among member countries and will make invaluable contributions to their growth to increase the employment and welfare levels, Muş also noted.

“At this point, I would like to underline the importance of the full implementation of the D-8 Preferential Trade Agreement, which we continue to see as the biggest building block of cooperation in the field of trade and investment.”

Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, the head of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), said D-8 countries have rich natural sources, young and dynamic populations, and an economy worth $3.8 trillion.

He said that 25 years ago, with the vision of Turkey’s deceased former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, the D-8 organization was established on six foundations: peace instead of war, dialogue instead of conflict, justice instead of double standards, equality instead of superiority , sharing instead of exploitation, human rights, freedom and democracy instead of oppression and domination.

With a total trade volume of $1.6 trillion, D-8 countries’ share in the world trade is currently 4.5%, Hisarcıklıoğlu noted.

Touching on the global issues, he recalled that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions in supply chains, an increase in prices, and problems in energy and food supply.

“Now, the negative effects of the war are spreading all over the world, especially raw material, energy and food supply security should be among our priorities in the coming period,” he underlined.

He also said the D-8’s internal trade is only 6.5% of the members’ total trade, while the internal trade has increased seven-fold since the organization’s establishment – ​​not at a sufficient level.

D-8’s internal trade should reach 30% of the members’ total trade, so the $500 billion mark and preferential trade agreement are very important for this target, he said.

Hisarcıklıoğlu added that the next step should be a free trade agreement.

Isiaka Abdulqadir Imam, D-8 secretary-general, said the organization is taking practical steps to enhance the financial and payment systems in its eight member countries.

“We provide opportunities for our people to achieve financial and economic independence,” he added.

Referring to the preferential trade agreement among the member states, Imam said: “We are now close to the full implementation of this important agreement.”

Chaudhry Salik Hussain, the Pakistani federal minister for the board of investment, said the fourth industrial revolution is currently taking place and it is more than just a technology-driven change.

“It is an opportunity to empower everyone, including leaders, policymakers, and people from all income groups and nations, to harness emerging technologies to create an inclusive human-centric feature,” he added.

It is now the time to focus on investment cooperation for the development and transfer of climate-smart agriculture technologies, he said, adding: “It is our responsibility to secure our future generations by ensuring fuel, food, and nutrition security and our people’s quality of life.”

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