Jakarta (ANTARA) - Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan invited the Developing Eight Organization for Economic Cooperation (D-8) members to accelerate the ratification process and join in tariff reduction cooperation between D-8 members (D-8 Preferential Trade Agreement, or D-8 PTA).

With the ratification, D-8 member countries can make the most of preferential tariffs and help realize the intra-D-8 trade target of US$500 billion by 2030, Hasan remarked.

"D-8 PTA has the potential to increase intra-D-8 trade. Therefore, D-8 member countries should accelerate the ratification process and join the PTA. Indonesia has started implementing the D-8 PTA on June 1, 2024," he noted in a statement from his office on Wednesday.

On Tuesday (June 11), Hasan attended an informal meeting of the D-8 Council of Trade Ministers in Istanbul, Turkey.

Currently, trade between D-8 member countries is recorded at US$170 billion and is targeted to reach US$500 billion by 2030, the minister explained.

To date, five of the eight D-8 member countries have ratified the agreement since it was signed by all D-8 Trade Ministers at the 5th D-8 Summit in Bali in 2006. The five countries are Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Malaysia, and Turkey.

"I believe the implementation of D-8 PTA can provide benefits to business actors, especially micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), through opening new markets, technology transfer, and increasing prosperity in the trade sector," Hasan affirmed.

He also proposed for the D-8 to take a bold initiative by forming a Comprehensive Trans-Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (CTREPA) as a new strategic partnership.

In addition, the ministers signed the D-8 PTA Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM) Protocol that was earlier adopted at the 3rd Meeting of the D-8 Trade Ministers' Council (TMC) on March 5, 2024, in Bangladesh. The DSM protocol is important in facilitating the implementation of the D-8 PTA.

Hasan said Indonesia supports the ratification of the DSM Protocol as an effort to increase trust among D-8 member countries by ensuring an efficient, transparent, fair, and predictable trade dispute resolution process.

Furthermore, D-8 member countries are expected to immediately ratify the DSM Protocol and notify the D-8 Secretariat.

In his closing statement, he echoed Indonesia's readiness to conduct the D-8 meeting next year. He also emphasized the importance of collaboration to succeed the D-8 PTA.

The result of this meeting was the Joint Declaration of the D-8 Council of Ministers of Trade. They condemned Israel's brutal aggression against the Palestinian people and demanded an end to Israel's total blockade of Gaza, as well as pressed for opening land borders and allowing aid to enter Gaza without hindrance.

The D-8 ministers also agreed to intensify intra-D-8 trade to reach 10 percent of the total D-8 trade with the world. In this regard, a study will be conducted to examine the possibility of expanding the PTA.

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Translator: Maria Cicilia G P, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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