Turkey to open branches of public and private sector banks. Turkey and pakistan decide to boost investment and business, and act as hub of their larger alliance — The D-8 Group (Developing 8) — now when it moves ahead towards forming a new economic zone — spanning from Turkey to Nigeria and going as far East as Indonesia . Summit level diplomacy and big Turkish and Pakistani business corporations have joined hands with their governments to make the new zone, as well as the planned bilateral economic cooperation, a success. These decisions were taken by the two countries for which the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Pakistan this week and concluded talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad and Lahore . Chief executive offices of 39 key Turkish corporations accompanied Erdogan and decided on steps to boost business and create a wide ranging government-private business alliance. The Turkey - Pakistan summit is significant as it is keyed to push the D-8 Group operations on a fast track basis. The group held its own ministerial meeting in Islamabad , the same week as the two-nation summit took place in Islamabad . Bangladesh , Egypt , Indonesia , Iran , Malaysia , Nigeria , Pakistan and Turkey are members of the D-Group . D-8, in its Islamabad meeting, has decided to push their mutual trade from the present $150 billion a year as of now to $500 billion by 2018, or earlier. As a prelude to the proposed business plans, the two sides decided to conclude a Turkey-Pakistan Preferential Trade Agreement, or PTA, in the first quarter of 2014. Both Sharif and Erdogan are upbeat over the success of their planned economic cooperation. "I am confident that our new economic framework will significantly contribute towards facilitating trade and investment between our two countries," Sharif said after the summit. Erdogan was equally enthusiastic over the plan. "We are attaching great significance to plans for enhancing cooperation in different fields," he said. Erdogan also indicated the fields of cooperation. "We want to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in areas of aviation, railways and maritime services," he said. Banking is yet another sector. Turkey has announced to open branches of its public and private sector banks in Pakistan , to facilitate the proposed trade and investments. The two countries will facilitate and promote investments by the private sector, in both the countries. Pakistan will especially encourage the Turkish private sector investment in key areas of energy, especially coal, hydro-electricity and wind energy, infrastructure development, including motorways, roads, and airports, low-cost housing, urban development, and municipal services like public transport and solid waste disposal. They will encourager their respective state and private banks to open branches in Pakistan and Turkey , to finance the proposed investment, development and trade, a joint declaration issued at the end of the Summit said. Skill development and vocational training progarmmes will be launched by the two countries to upgrade industrial and business skills for employment within their two countries, and possible manpower export. Educational institutions will be encouraged to cooperate and increase the number of scholarships for under grated and post graduate students in the fields of engineering, technology, medicine, and management science. Turkey and Pakistan will ensure regular operations of Istanbul-Islamabad Container train for an enhanced on-land connectivity between the two countries. It will also benefit cargo carrying to and from other countries en route. The two countries will further expand their defence cooperation by exploring the possibility of joint defence production and allied research and development. Turkey and Pakistan signed Memorandam of Understanding, MoU, to make Islamabad - Tehran - Istanbul container train operative under the Economic Cooperation Organisation , or ECO — an alliance of these countries plus Afghanistan and Central Asian Muslim states. MoUs were also signed between the Punajb Industrial Department and Turkey Cooperation Agency , Pakistan Railways and Turkish Logistic organization, and Pakistan Standards Quality Control Authority and Turkish Standards Institution . Sharif has invited Turkish businessmen to invest in Pakistan's two major hydropower projects — Diamer-Bhasha and Bunji Dam , and help overcome the on-going energy crisis. Turkish Minister for Economy Mehmet Zafer and Pakistani Minister for Commerce and Textiles Industry Khurram Dastgir Khan who separately discussed expansion of trade and investment, decided to facilitate investment by the private sector in both the countries. Pakistan will especially encourage Turkish investment in the key sectors of energy, especially coal, hydro electricity and wind power, motorways, roads, airport and low cost housing. Their recommendations were endorsed and adopted by the Summit. Dastgir also raised the issue of additional protective duties, levied by Turkey in 2011, on the Pakistani fabric and garment shipments, as well as the quantitative restrictions on its rice export. Turkey , on the other hand, asked Pakistan to open its automobile and pharmaceutical sectors for Turkish business. Pakistan has allowed Turkish Airlines to operate direct flights from Turkey to Lahore . Its operation has just started. Turkish-built Metro Bus service has also just started operating in Lahore — Pakistan's second biggest city. It has turned Lahore into a modern and developed city. During the summit, Pakistan-Turkish Business Forum , representing the private sector businesses of the two countries was in session in Lahore . They decided that the two sides should work on joint ventures and investment in diversified sectors of the economy, including transport, energy, communications, textiles, automobiles, agriculture, industry, food processing, dairy development, IT, oil nd gas and other sectors. The proposals were andorsed by the Summit. Views expressed here are his own and do not reflect newpaper's policy.
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