ISLAMABAD: In a key Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) business meet-up held in Ankara, Turkey, participants stressed the need for furthering mutual trade and economic cooperation within the ECO member countries.
The speakers were attending the 20th Executive Committee and 14th General Assembly meetings of ECO Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ECO-CCI). The meetings were hosted by Turkey’s Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges.
President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and the current President of ECO-CCI, Mian Muhammad Adrees headed the eight-member delegation from Pakistan.
The meetings were also attended by envoys of ECO member countries. Pakistan’s Ambassador to Turkey Sohail Mahmood was also present.
In his address, Adrees highlighted FPCCI’s efforts for promoting increased connectivity including early operationalisation of ECO container train as well as implementation of the TIR Convention.
Adrees noted that the ECO region had yet to achieve its full economic potential and lagged behind when compared to other regional economic blocs such as EU and NAFTA. As such, there was an imperative need for ECO member countries to remove impediments in the way of increased trade, simplify customs and visa procedures and take other requisite steps for greater economic integration of the region, he added.
FPCCI president urged member countries to increase intra-regional trade by focusing on the implementation of ECO Trade Agreement, establishment of customs union, signing of bilateral investment treaties, linking of proposed Gwadar-Kashgar motorways, and harmonisation in business and financial regulations.
Turkey’s Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges President Rifat Hisarciklioglu underlined the need for urgent steps by ECO countries to seize the historic opportunity before them to upgrade their position in global development.
Turkey’s Minister for Development Cevdet Yilmaz, in his address as the chief guest, said that the ECO region had a strategic location and a vital role to play. “The focus of economic activity was shifting from the west to east and the emerging economies of Asia would become even more important,” he added.