(Speech by Amir Hossain Amu MP, Minister for Industries Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh)
It is indeed a great pleasure and privilege for me to be present here in the historic city of Tehran, Iran and to address to the unique ceremony of the 4th D-8 Ministerial Meeting on Industrial Cooperation. I, on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh, express our hertfelt felicitations to you all and through you to the government and brotherly people of the D-8 member countries. It is my privilege, once again, to convey to you the warm greetings and reverence of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in this auspicious occasion.
You might have remembered that the Third D-8 Ministerial Meeting on Industry was held on 10 October 2012 in Dhaka. I would like to thank you all for your active and cordial participations in those events.
The D-8 is a unique inter-governmental organization. The vigor of the organization lies in the common values and culture of the Member States. Our Member States are located in the important strategic zones of the world. This is an important feature of this organization. D-8 can play a bridging role between Asia, Africa and Europe. We need to make our best efforts to realize its full potentials in this regard.
As we know, D-8 economies have displayed substantive growth rates in the recent past. To maintain this trend, the Government of the member states should act as a facilitator in D-8 cooperation and make space for private sector, as the private sector is the driving force in our economies. To this end, incentives should be given and, of course, I believe that these are being given to private sectors in order to encourage them to participate in D-8 cooperation. It is encouraging to learn that a considerable number of private participants from member countries are attending this meeting as a gesture of increased interaction between the government and private sector.
Excellecies Distinguished Delegates,
The main objective of D-8 is to improve the standards of living of our people. Inter-state trade can play an important role in this regard. We wanted to diversify and create new opportunities in trade relations. In the meantime, we have passed by 16 years and we have succeeded to take some major decisions to implement our commitments. There have been major policy successes in trade relations. Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) is an important achievement. The other important progresses are the visa and customs agreements. These successes can contribute tremendously to enhancing inter-state trade. An indication of the dynamism of D-8 economies is their rapid integration with the world economy. In recent years, our exports and imports, which constitute about a significant percent of the world’s total, have been on the increase. We will have to be more pragmatic in doing so. The development of trade is the most important and promising area for cooperation in this economic development alliance. The trade volume proves that the business between the member countries continues to represent just a tiny fraction of the countries’ overall trade figure and testify the great potential for the promotion of trade among the D-8 member states. We must consider that the D-8 is a strong forum with a large Muslim population of the world on the basis of mutual trust, respect, cooperation and development. We share to a great extent common culture, values, religious belief, food habit as well as similar economic status. I firmly believe that the trade volume would be further increased if we can harvest the growth of our potential sectors such as halal food industry, bio-tecnology, renewable energy, eco-tourism, ship building, pharmaceuticals, jute production, sub-contracting, ceramic, automobile, petro-chemical, seafood, fertilizer, furniture, electronics, artificial jewllery and agro-based production.
Excellecies Distinguished Delegates,
I would like to recall the inaugural address of Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh, during the 3rd D-8 Ministerial Meeting on Industry in Dhaka on 10 October 2012. She commended this organisation for its activities and also suggested a few issues which should be addressed by this potential and promising organisation.
Among others, she emphasized the need for promoting economic development for the member states. You are aware that her leadership has led our nation to attain the MDGs and the UN has recognized our success by awards to Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina. Despite our successes in some of the target areas, we need to achieve more satisfactory progresses in every sector of inclusive and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) in the post-2015 era. We need more collaboration to achieve the global and local development targets and deliver results.
The member states, rich with fossil fuels, can help others to ensure energy security. Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh expressed her firm belief that the issue will be given priority at the entire D-8 forum including the Summit level meeting. To do this, effective measures of the member states to generate more innovative approaches and policies in the renewable energy sector should be given priority.
Many of our member states are highly blessed with natural resources. The huge population is also our strength. Considering the dynamics of the global demography, the member states can garner the benefits from the global labour market by providing education and skill promotional training to the people. Many of our member states can open their markets for the labour forces of the other member states and it can equally benefit both the recipients and the contributing countries.
Paucity of raw materials has been identified as one of the major challenges in the steel engineering sector. Environment friendly ship breaking industry is emerging in some of the member states. Growth in the industry sector hinges on the availability of raw materials of steel. We need to think more carefully as to how we can help one another in this regard.
I would like to propose that member countries should adopt Common Projects for national interest in the areas of petrochemical, ship building and steel sectors for heavy industries and other areas like Establishment of Electronic products assembling plant, Establishment of Halal Agro-products plant, Involve in Fashion and fashion rich goods, Software manufacturing, Leather and leather goods manufacturing for SME.
It is my privilege to reiterate the issues in this forum which will eventually have more opportunity to consider a range of cooperation issues in the industry sector for further review and decision. I also believe that we will be able to contribute in formulating a set of pragmatic recommendations for the mutual cooperation among the member states in the coming days.
The member states need to pay more attention to promote the culture of tolerance, justice, equity and cooperation premised on the glorious values of Islam. Especially, we have to decide on not to promote any kind of extremism. We need to be more prudent towards good governance, accountability and representative government. By practicing these values and principles, D-8 can draw greater attention of the international community.
I wish to give all credit and appreciate the Government and Islamic Republic of Iran for the warm hospitality that has been extended to my delegation since arrival and, specially, I would like to thank the Iranian Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade for successful hosting of the of this Ministerial Meeting on Industrial Cooperation in Tehran. I hope that our continued interaction will bring about the economic and industrial development of member countries. Having said these few words, I conclude my speech with sincere thanks to the Honorable Chair, Excellencies, Delegates, the Officials and the Ladies and Gentlemen. I thank you all.