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ECO best forum to promote trade.

ISLAMABAD -- Federal Minister for Communications Dr. Arbab Alamgir Khan has said that the ECO provides a unique opportunity of trade development as the region of the member states stretches from Europe to South Asia and from the shores of Arabian Sea to the Russian Borders.

Having a population of around 400 million and a combined GDP of around US$ 6,000 billion, the region gives the member states an unparalleled socio-economic potential, he added.

The Federal Minister said this while addressing the inaugural session of Road Committee of ECO Transit Transport Coordination Council (TTCC) in Islamabad. The meeting discussed Transit Transport Framework Agreement (TTFA) and measures taken by member countries for its effective implementation of its road related provisions.

The Federal Minister said that in the modern world no country can maintain a favourable balance of trade without the help of maritime facilities. Pakistan is fully cognizant of difficulties of landlocked member states of ECO.

"Therefore, we have extended transit trade facilities to these states through our warm water seaports. However, benefits of this facility cannot be optimized without an efficient road and rail network," he added.

For this reason Government of Pakistan had conceived National Trade Corridor (NTC) and entrusted the responsibility to Ministry of Communication to construct a network of highways and motorways of international standard. A few sections of these expressways have so far started operation and work on rest of planned sections is in progress, he told. He said that it would undoubtedly provide an efficient and economical road network for inter-regional connectivity particularly an effective access to Pakistan's seaports to ECO Member states.

Dr. Arbab Alamgir Khan said that ECO provides a dependable and active forum for regional development and socio-economic integration. The real opening up of trade corridors and actual implementation of the Transit Transport Framework Agreement (TTFA) will help greatly reduce our dependence on unpredictable global challenges which we are facing every other day, he added.

The Federal Minister said that Pakistan is deeply committed to the development of cross-border transport corridors with special focus on the ECO and Central Asia and to the trade and transport facilitation in the region.

Speaking at the occasion the Federal Secretary Communications said that facilitation of trade, commerce and movement of goods amongst ECO countries, as envisioned in TTFA, would contribute to economic growth of the region through lowering production costs, timely delivery of raw materials both in agriculture and manufacturing sectors, integration of markets, strengthening of competition, provision of social services, besides promoting trade, tourism and cross border investment.

Addressing the delegates Deputy Secretary General ECO Mr. Altaf Asghar said that socio-economic development greatly depend upon the road transport facilities. There are challenges to the ECO member countries and we are aware of those challenges, he added. Fruitful dialogue would help us meet those challenges, he said.
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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Apr 19, 2012
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