Promotion of regional trade, ECO’s main objective: Pak official

Islamabad, Nov 14, IRNA -- Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan for Revenue said that the promotion of regional trade is one of the main objectives of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

Haroon Akhtar Khan made the remarks at the 8th meeting of the heads of the customs administrations of the ECO countries in Islamabad.
Forod Asgari, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance and Governor of Iran Customs Administration leads the Iranian delegation in the conference.
Akhtar Khan said that ECO countries together form a geo-politically important block. “Turkey bridges the countries of the Europe and Asia, Iran is situated at the crossroads of Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East,” he said.
He said that according to the latest ECO statistical report, the share of the ECO in the global trade is almost 2.4 percent as against the ECO’s population of 6.2 percent of the world’s population.
He suggested that simplification of customs procedures for ease of trade is an important step in enabling the economic integration of ECO members.
“The promotion of regional trade is one the main objectives of ECO and this can only be achieved properly through close cooperation between Customs Administration of the member countries,” said the official.
He added that Pakistan Customs is committed to work closely with ECO and World Customs Organization (WCO) on adoption of international best practices through enhanced representation.
Deputy Secretary ECO, Kanan Nazrov in his remarks said the organization represents a region of great trade potential adding that the ECO region accords high attention to transit trade and regional integration.
“We will pave the way to enhance trade among the ECO countries,” he said adding that complex customs procedures can be a major impediment to enhance trade.
Secretary General, World Customs Organization, Kunio Mikuriya said that trade is an important source of economic development. He said that the ECO countries must go for digital customs procedures which require further cooperation.
He said that along with promotion of trade there is also a great need to control the illicit trade and that WCO believes that this region has vast potential of transit trade.
The meeting reviewed actions on the decisions of previous meetings and also discussed the initiatives for further boosting customs cooperation in the ECO region. The progress on the ECO Agreement for Establishment of the Customs Offences Data Bank and the ECO Agreement for Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters was also discussed in the meeting.
The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) includes 10 member states: Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
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