ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that ECO countries could realise economic and trade potential of the region through greater integration and connectivity. The role of the private sector, he added, would be vital for achieving the 2025 vision of ECO. ECO region accounts for 16% of the world’s population but it shares only 2% of the world’s trade. Trade and investment are the areas that the ECO countries specially need to focus and for that regional connectivity is all the more necessary.
Talking to ECO Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ECO CCI members) here Finance Minister said that in addition to ECO initiatives and CPEC, regional connectivity was being enhanced through bilateral and multilateral agreements. The Minister cited the CASA-1000, TAPI and Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation in this regard. He said that with dedicated efforts the ECO countries can achieve the objectives described Eco summit in Islamabad.
Dar said it was indeed necessary to ease procedures for visa facilitation, especially for business community among ECO countries that would in turn help enhance better contacts and trade facilitation. He said ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industries needs to play it due role for achieving this objective.
He also emphasized active role of ECO Trade and Development Bank and its enhanced liaison with business community of ECO member countries to promote trade and business activities in the region. The Finance Minister said that Pakistan had achieved macro-economic stability and was now treading on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth.
Dar said international experts acknowledged the economic headway Pakistan had made. He said during last three years Pakistan has achieved an overall 60% revenue growth. We are eyeing a GDP growth rate of 7% in another year or so, and look for greater engagement with ECO countries, the Minister added.
Representatives of member countries including Eng. Gholamhosein Shafei, President ICCIMA and ECO CCI from Iran and Rifat Hisarciklioglu, President TOBB, Turkey viewed that the ECO summit would go a long way in promoting trade and economic opportunities among ECO member countries.
They emphasized efforts for visa facilitation between ECO countries to encourage economic activities. They said that Pakistan had made noticeable economic strides in the last three to four years. Pakistan was the founding member of ECO and now it had a key role to play for its success in realizing the goal of economic development. They opined that there was due focus now on the silk route and its active role in generating economic activity and ECO countries should also give due attention to this factor.
President ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Zubair Tufail said that Pakistan with a population of 200 million, a liberal investment regime and a bank rate as low as 6% was a great attraction for foreign business and traders community.
He said there was enthusiasm shown by representatives of ECO countries at the recent summit for participation in CPEC projects. This would help generate economic activities among the ECO countries. Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President SAARC CCI on the occasion felicitated the government on successful holding of the ECO summit.
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