Mr. Sheikh Fazle Fahim – President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and current Chair of the D-8 CCI,
Mr. M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu – President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and outgoing Chair of D-8 CCI,
Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh,
Secretary-General of the D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalamu Alaikum and a very good day to you all!
Thank you for kindly inviting me to this important event, and for giving me the opportunity to speak. I consider it to be an excellent opportunity for me to say something at such an august gathering where the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry is accepting the Chair of D-8 Chambers of Commerce and Industry from the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey. Allow me to congratulate Mr. Sheikh Fazle Fahim for taking over this responsibility of steering the D-8 CCI to the direction of prosperity for the next two years. I would also like to express thanks to Mr. Hisarcıklıoğlu for his successful leadership of this esteemed trade body since the 9th D-8 Summit held in 2017.
Excellencies and Distinguished Guests,
2. I would like to thank you all for convening this dialogue session at a time when the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation is moving forward towards to make this inter-governmental organization capable of responding to the challenges of present and future.
3. I would also like to thank the Secretary General of D-8 for allowing Bangladesh to facilitate this meeting and at the same time appreciate the proactive measures and initiatives that the Secretary General has undertaken to help chambers of commerce and industry of the D-8 Member States flourish in an appreciable way.
4. As the whole world is experiencing an unprecedented global public health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the D-8 CCI needs to stand together more than ever to boost up the intra-trade among the Member States. Bangladesh believes in a free and equitable access to markets for not only products but also services. Bangladesh attaches high priority towards democratizing elemental access to productive factors like finance and credit. D-8 CCI may play an important role in achieving these targets.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
5. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is transforming the business as we knew it, Bangladesh finds tremendous opportunity in the D-8 connectivity agenda and the Action Plan for boosting intra-D8 trade and investment. We, therefore, remain steadfast in our enthusiasm as the Lead country for facilitating B2B connectivity within the D-8 entrepreneurs and businesses.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
6. Bangladesh emphasizes on the need for development of the SME sector by investing in skills-building, entrepreneurship, apprenticeships, and the need for market data availability and market access. D-8 CCI can co-design technological spaces where the development, incubation and institutionalisation of breakthrough technologies are seamless and can cross-fertilize across functional boundaries. We believe that innovation takes place at the boundaries of our subject-specific knowledge, and the business sector can play the key role in this regard.
7. We should try to overcome the impediments to greater e-commerce and digital trade in the D-8, such as inadequate infrastructure to support e-commerce, insufficient skills to effectively use digital service, lack of awareness and poor cyber security. Therefore, it is now important to develop an enabling environment for digital trade and boost the capability to participate in goods-related digital trade and digital services trade. The countries that pivoted their operations to digital have been able to fare better than those who did not. Digitalization has become necessary for business survival in today’s world. This means that governments will need to examine the priority barriers to ease the business environment for firms to engage in digitalization.
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
8. Finally, I would like to assure, and I am sure the Chief Guest of today’s event, the Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh will agree with me, that the Government of Bangladesh will be ready to provide all out support to the D-8 CCI. During the Chairmanship of D-8, Bangladesh plans to take the D-8 to even further in terms of economic and social cooperation among the Member States. D-8 CCI will be an important partner in this process. We hope the policy makers of the public sector and the private sector together will successfully overcome the challenging time that we are facing now, and we will again flourish together to create a more resilient, greener and sustainable post-Covid recovery.
May the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation live long.