Islamabad: ECO countries need to take steps to reduce and ultimately eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers in order to increase trade, stated Senior Minister for Commerce, Mr. Makhdoom Amin Faheem while addressing the ECO Ministerial Summit in Kabul today. Honorable Minister stressed that smuggling and illicit movement of goods poses a direct threat to economic stability and security of the region. Therefore, tough measures should be taken to control it. Senior Minister also urged the early implementation of Economic Cooperation Organization Trade Agreement (ECOTA).
As ECOTA has only been adopted by five members (Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Tajikistan) out of ten members of ECO and the remaining five (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyszstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) have not yet signed it; he urged the remaining members to join. He also stated, as Pakistan is the founding member of ECO, therefore, it attaches great importance to this organization and has offered its services in enhancing capacity on trade related issues to the members. For this purpose, he welcomed the ECO members to join the recently signed Pakistan-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement.
Earlier in the day, Senior Minister for Commerce met with Iranian counterpart and his delegation. In the meeting, Honorable Minister discussed signing of new MOUs and strongly urged Iran to play its role in implementation of existing regional agreements. Senior Minister also has a meeting scheduled with Afghan Commerce and Industries Minister today.
Iran has offered to host the next ECO Ministerial Summit and all the members have accepted the invitation. Therefore, the next ECO Ministerial Summit will be held in Iran.
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