Lahore: President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry Mian Anjum Nisar, emphasized on the need of an early implementation of ECOTA for the promotion of intra regional trade and investment among the ECO member countries.
While addressing the 28th Executive Committee and 28th General Assembly Meetings of ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industry held virtually by Zoom link on Thursday, Nisar also highlighted intra ECO tariff and non-tariff issues hampering the trade and investment opportunities in the region.
He also called upon the ECO member countries for implementation of Transit Trade Agreement, TIR conventions, Agreement on Protection and Promotion of Investment, ECO Visa and White card scheme for development of border trade, sharing of knowledge and transfer of technology etc.
He also highlighted the promotion of tourism prospects and development of transportation mechanism by road and rail among ECO countries. He invited the member countries to invest in CPEC related projects and utilize all natural resources of ECO for the sustainable prosperity of region.
The meeting was also attended and addressed by Mr. Azarakhsh Hafizi, President ECO-CCI, Dr. Hadi Soleimanpur, Secretary General ECO Secretariat, Mr. Rifat Hisarciklioglu, President TOBB (Turkey), Mr. Gholam Hussein Shafeiee, Vice President ECO-CCI and President ICCIMA (Iran), Jamshed Jumakhonzoda President Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tajikistan Representatives of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
In his remarks, President ECO-CCI Mr. Azarakhsh Haifizi underlined the need of developing unity, integration, harmonization of trade, movement of investment, business relations, facilitation of capital movement and exchange of business delegation among member countries for enhancing trade and other ties. He urged for barter and cross border trade relations among the countries.
While welcoming the delegates, Mr. Rifat Hisarciklioglu, President TOBB stated that trade has been a major driver of the economic development and private sector has always assumed leading role in boosting economic activities in national, regional and global economies.
He urged for developing significant trade and investment ties, liberalization of movement of goods and services, technological transfers and development of mechanism for dispute resolution among ECO member countries. He stated that ECO countries possesses one third of world natural resources which need to be utilized for economic prosperity and joint ventures.
Dr. Hadi Soleimanpur, Secretary General ECO Secretariat also updated the participants about the measures taken at Government levels for the promotion of bilateral relations. He suggested for creation a task force at the ECO-CCI level for analyzing the trade opportunities, production gap, supply chain issues, trade facilitation etc.
Mr. Gholam Hussein Shafeiee, Vice President ECO-CCI and President ICCIMA underscored the need to increase cooperation in health, tourism, education, petro chemical, gas and energy sector. He also focused on the promotion of E-commerce and E-trade among member countries.
He added that lack of bilateral Preferential Trade Agreements (PTA’s) among the member states as well as non-implementation of the ECO Trade Agreement (ECOTA) are of the major reasons for the low intra ECO trade.
Mr. Amjad Rafi, Chairman National Committee of ECO-CCI (Pakistan Chapter) and Chairman Specialized Committee of Trade Facilitation also talked about real challenges of trade facilitation in order to minimize transaction costs and the resolving of complexity of international trade for businesses, without compromising efficient and effective levels of collection of customs revenues and other border controls.
He emphasized early implementation of ECO TRADE AGREEMENT (ECOTA) which was signed in 2008 and issuance of VISA STICKERS to bonafide Businessmen for easy travel as in the case of SAARC.
During the meeting, the Presidency of ECO-CCI handed over to Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture and Vice Presidency to Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Representatives of other Member Chambers also discussed the intra-regional trade, E-Commerce, promotion of entrepreneurship, digitalization of economies, security, collaboration in science and technology, joint investment, SMEs promotion, SPS measures, trade cost, lack of bilateral agreement, exchange of knowledge, tariff rationalization, harmonization of visa regime, promotion of barter trade and opening of border gates, implementation of ECO trade transit agreement, implementation of ECO trade facilitation agreement, ECO trade fairs were discussed in detail.
The reports of the Specialized Committee Meetings were also adopted and it was decided that the next Statutory and Specialized Committee Meetings of ECO-CCI will be held in Turkey.