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D-8 Chief lauds Iran role as member state

Tehran, Secretary General of D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation Dato' Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari praised Iran partnership in the organization.

Ku Shaari made the remarks in an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Commenting on the reason behind establishing D8 organization, Ku Shaari said On 15th of June, 1997 the D8 Organization for economic cooperation was established. The idea initiative comes from the [Former] Prime Minister of Turkey Necmettin Erbakan it begins with the first conference talking about economic development.

The D8 objective was to look at the sustainable economic development within the standard of living of the citizens of all member states looking at social areas of collaboration with a number of principles, he added.

We are talking about dialogue, attending the needs of member-states so few principles will be developed with that objective. After twenty years of establishment we have completed the first phase of the organization and since then focus was on six areas of cooperation and these six areas are trade, industry, agriculture, transportation, energy and tourism, he noted

So we developed cooperation to come up with instrument first to facilitate the need to trade among members, to cooperate in industrial area therefore we signed three important instruments; first is the referential trade agreement among the member-states and number two 'we have customs agreement and we have also visa' arrangement.

The visa sector is aimed at removing visa, he said, adding, 'We have achieved some remarkable success.'

By 2018, the interaction rate between member-states should be $500 billion, but due to certain reasons it was not achieved.

The highest rate that 'we have achieved was in 2012 that it mounted to 124 billion dollar then it was fluctuating to 112-110 billion, but I am happy to say' that the plan now is coming back.

Ku Shaari went on to say that in 2017 'we recorded the rising and reached something close to 110 billion dollar'. He expressed the hope for doubling this amount in the years to come.

Elaborating on the industrial cooperation, he said 'we developed a focal point to look for some areas' of industry like, steel, pharmaceuticals, scientometrics and technology transfer.

We have done a lot in civil aviation which is an area in which we have achievements related to providing expertise to member states,' he added.

We are now talking about even developing some components to support the aerospace industry, D8 Chief noted.

He pointed to the area of agriculture, and said, 'We had a few initiatives like fish breeding activities and some other areas of agriculture'.

Pointing to transportation field, he said 'we have partnership' under the civil aviation cooperation, countries like Turkey, Malaysia, even Iran and Egypt are giving much focus to it.

'We have maritime association' but this is an area that needs to be developed further in terms of shipping, the D-8 chief added.

He went on to say that in the energy sector 'we are now asking Turkey to host especial meeting of energy to look at potentials of energy sector'.

Referring to the transportation field, he said, 'we are now arranging for holding the ministerial meeting to look at the areas that we can develop further'. We have automotive association as well and this is an area that I think has a lot of potentials to be developed having all member states to participate.

Answering a question whether any request by other countries to join D8 was received, he said, Right now we have 8 member-states as the founding members of the organization, but in the D8 Charter there is a clause that allows any country to apply for being a new member'.

He added that at the 9th summit of D8 held in Istanbul in October 'this issue was raised about enlarging the size the organization'. We have not been given so much focus yet now after 20 years this is going to be the area that I think we look at the opportunity to initiate the activities.

Elaborating on whether D8 has any fund for implementing economic projects, he said, Last year during the Istanbul summit we signed an agreement with Islamic Development Bank (IDB) so IDB has now agreed to work closely with D8 to look at potential project proposals . They can provide funding, line of credit or may be some areas that we can support with other agencies not only for the IDB.

I also working to get support from UNIDO to look at some areas that would be beneficial for member- states in agribusiness, SME �[Small and medium-sized enterprises] where UN bodies will work closely not only with members of the United Nations but close collaboration with organizations such as D8 to develop together with other parties as well, Ku Shaari said. At the 9th summit in Istanbul the leaders in particular talked about new ideas now we have a plan of action which mentions few areas of focus that we need to concentrate.'

This involves science and technology, education, financial and health sectors, he said in response to another question whether D8 identified any mechanism to have economic exchanges with Iran based on national currencies.

He underlined that it opens up a new spectrum of economic collaboration within the organization, and said, So 'we are looking at this opportunity now to also venture to all these areas'. 'So the chair said that we have to start looking at using local currencies to trade to do business among member states.

The central bank of Turkey has come up with a very good idea to look at establishing a context in which local currencies would be used.

And at the same time we are thinking about establishing what we call a payment support system which would be a system that provides some funding in order to activate some project initiatives.

I am now engaging with a private sector company that came after they learned about the plan of action to use the local currencies. So what they did was to develop what they call D8 card, he said.

The D8 card is an especial card developed like visa, master card but what they have in mind is that the card would provide platform for us to do transaction for all local currencies, the D8 chief added.

The D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation, also known as Developing-8, is an organization for development cooperation among the following countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Turkey.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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