ISLAMABAD, Mar 15 (APP):Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar Friday reiterated the commitment of the government to fulfill the vision of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), underlining the need for creating a mechanism for enhancing regional trade and identify new areas for future cooperation.

Addressing a session on “ECO: Achievements and Challenges” organized by Pakistan Planning and Management Institute (PPMI), the minister highlighted the need of an effective monitoring system to ensure the acquisition of ECO goals.

The minister said ECO offers potential to enhance regional integration and connectivity as well as increase trade and commerce among member states.

The Minister also said that ECO Vision-2025 is an excellent framework and the impetus provided by Islamabad Declaration in 2017 will help translate and realizing the objectives of ECO.

Talking about the potential of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in regional connectivity, the minister said that CPEC provided a lot of opportunities for promoting links and enhancing trade between the regional countries.

The minister informed that the new Five years Plan was in final stages and one of the major pillars of this plan was regional trade and intra-regional connectivity.

The minister termed the development of infrastructure including roads and railways important for promoting regional trade and said that to ensure the availability of capital required, ECO needs to establish partnerships with banks and development institutions.

SAARC can also play vital role in bringing South Asian countries closer and promoting regional links, the minister added.

Addressing the ceremony the Secretary General ECO, Hadi Soleimanpour lauded the role and efforts of Pakistan for regional integration saying that Pakistan is a vibrant member of organization which offers potential to enhance linkage, trade and commerce activities among member states.

He emphasized that the trade potential needs to be fully exploited by overcoming trade barriers for mutual benefit of member states.

He said to promote the trade related activities and to attain all the objectives of ECO they need to provide ease in visa system between the member states.

The Secretary General also underlines the need of building road and railway corridors between the member countries for promoting trade.

He said that the start of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul train launched with the support of CEO is an important initiative by Pakistan, Iran and Turkey to foster trade through railway link among them.

Hadi Soleimanpour said that t he initiative will not only open a new era of
socio-economic development and prosperity in the region but also bring the people closer to each other.