Secretary General Economic Cooperation Organization Halil Ibrahim Akca has called upon the ECO member states to double their efforts for increasing intra-regional trade by two folds.
He was addressing the 28th meeting of Economic Cooperation Organisation Regional Planning Council in Islamabad on Monday.
The Secretary General said the intra-regional ECO trade accounts for 7.64 per cent of the total trade of the ECO member states, which is not comparable with peer economic blocs; therefore, ECO needs to intensify efforts on this account.
Halil Ibrahim said although China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was not part of ECO but the member states of the organization are very much interested to take benefit of the corridor.
Regarding energy sector, he said we are in process of developing the next ECO plan of action for energy and petroleum cooperation for the period 2018-22.
Speaking on the occasion, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal stressed the need for enhancing regional connectivity to maximize trade volume among the member states.
He said keeping in view the increasing connectivity across the world, the region requires greater collaboration to promote trade, development, peace and stability. Ahsan Iqbal said we need to promote road and railway connectivity and direct flights among the member states besides further facilitating visa regimes so that more and more people could visit each other's country.
The Minister also stressed the need for promoting cooperation in energy sectors saying that the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project and Central Asia South Asia energy project will also help in meeting the growing needs of electricity across the region.
The four-day meeting will discuss preparations for ECO’s Special Conference on Afghanistan and adopt the draft outcomes of the ministerial segment on Annual Work Programme 2018 , calendar of events 2018 and draft ECO Advocacy Policy for Afghanistan.