Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday called upon the Developing Eight (D-8) to build a focused roadmap for closer economic integration, adding that poverty from the members countries could be eliminated with the formation of the D-8 Business Forum.


Addressing the D-8 Business Forum ‚ the premier expressed satisfaction that the Preferential Trade Agreement among the member countries has entered into force.  He said trade volume of the D-8 member countries has increased from 433 billion dollars in 1997 to 1.725 trillion in 2011.


He, however, said the Intra D-8 trade was 130 billion dollars in 2011‚ which was 7.5 percent of the total trade of D-8 trade bloc. He said the bilateral trade and investment among D-8 member countries is yet to reach its full potential. The critical step forward is to build a focused roadmap towards closer economic integration.


Raja Pervez Ashraf said all member countries have undertaken reforms‚ liberalized markets and integrated better in the world economy. GDP growth rate of D-8 countries averages around six percent‚ with one member state Turkey registering 9 percent growth rate.


He said the D-8 Business Forum has the potential to create entrepreneurial synergies leading to increased wealth and prosperity of our people. Highlighting the importance of trade bodies for creating employment opportunities‚ the prime minister said they have a key role in accelerating the overall economy of the countries.


Referring to strategic location of Pakistan‚ the prime minister said the country provides huge opportunities for investment and trade in profitable sectors. He said the government attaches high priority to private sector investment especially foreign private investment.


He said foreign investors seeking a competitive manufacturing environment‚ healthy returns and skilled human resource in a growing market‚ can tap the vast opportunities available in the country. He assured the investors that Pakistan’s economy is stable and our economic policies are transparent and predictable.


The Prime Minister said expatriate Pakistanis are bringing their capital back home while the country’s credit rating in international capital markets has improved in the last few years. PM Ashraf said we have strengthened the roots of democracy and ensured minimal interference of the government in private entrepreneurship.