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No favorable trade balance without maritime facilities: Dr. Arbab.

Islamabad -- Federal Minister for Communications Dr. Arbab Alamgir Khan said that in the modern world no country can maintain a favorable balance of trade without the help of maritime facilities. ECO provides such opportunity of trade development.

Having a population of around 400 million and a combined GDP of around $ 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 told 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.

Concluding his speech 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.

Later in the Pakistan told that Pakistan is a signatory to the TTFA and is keen to implements it in true spirit. In order to facilitate and encourage the ECO traders Pakistan has signed an agreement which provides for swift issuance of visa to the ECO country traders.

It would help to enhance trade within the region. In order to provide quicker service and expeditious clearance of transit traffic, Pakistan has provided sufficient manpower at the border crossings. Government is in process to modernize the border terminals for trade facilitation and promote land route trade.
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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Apr 18, 2012
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