Nigeria, five others ratify D-8 preferential trade agreement

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Nigeria and five other member-nations of the D-8 Commission have ratified the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) aimed at boosting trade by reducing duties, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Nigeria’s Commissioner to the bloc, Martin Uhomoibhi, who disclosed this on Monday at the opening of the 31st session of the D-8 Commission in Abuja, urged the rest member countries yet to ratify the agreement to do so as this was central to the development of trade and economic cooperation among them.

Established in 1997 to foster economic cooperation among developing Muslim nations, the D-8 consists of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, with a focus on five priority sectors of trade, including agriculture and food security, industry and small and medium enterprises; transportation, civil aviation and shipping; and energy, mineral and mining.

Mr. Uhomoibhi, who is also the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the private sector remained the driving force behind the PTA, being “the engine for economic growth and international trade.”

“The PTA is central to the development of trade and economic activities among member countries,” he said. “I hope members will ratify it. This session in Abuja will afford us the opportunity to review progress of the PTA. And there is the need for continued involvement of the private sectors in its implementation as the engine for economic growth and international trade.”

He called on member nations to encourage and support the full participation of their business communities in the implementation of the agreement.

President Goodluck Jonathan assumed the chairmanship of the group in 2010.