What fu­ture ECO?

Enterprise - - Trade watch -

The Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ECO) com­pris­ing Afghanistan, Azer­bai­jan, Iran, Kaza­khstan, Kyr­gyzs­tan, Pak­istan, Ta­jik­istan, Tur­key, Turk­menistan and Uzbek­istan, aims to pro­vide a plat­form to dis­cuss ways to im­prove de­vel­op­ment and pro­mote trade and in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties to the mem­ber states. Much like the Euro­pean Union, ECO works for the es­tab­lish­ment of a sin­gle mar­ket for goods and ser­vices in the re­gion.

Lately, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has been less efficient in work­ing to­wards its ob­jec­tives. In a re­cent meet­ing be­tween Muham­mad Yahya P Ma­roofi, Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the ECO and Mir Changez Khan Ja­mali, Pak­istan’s Fed­eral Min­is­ter for Science and Tech­nol­ogy, stress was laid on the need for an ef­fec­tive role of the ECO.

“The or­gan­i­sa­tion should work for ef­fec­tive util­i­sa­tion of the agri­cul­tural and in­dus­trial po­ten­tials of ECO re­gion, and joint ef­forts to gain freer ac­cess to mar­kets out­side the ECO for the raw ma­te­ri­als and fin­ished prod­ucts of the mem­ber states,” Ja­mali said.

The two lead­ers dis­cussed mat­ters re­lated to the de­vel­op­ment of re­search in science and tech­nol­ogy. Fed­eral Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Science and Tech­nol­ogy, Ir­fan Nadeem and of­fi­cials of the ECO were also present on the oc­ca­sion.

The ECO Sec­re­tary Gen­eral was of the view that the re­gion was lack­ing in ap­pro­pri­ate in­fra­struc­ture and in­sti­tu­tions which the or­ga­ni­za­tion was seek­ing to de­velop on pri­or­ity ba­sis to make full use of the avail­able re­sources in the re­gion. He said that over the past 12 years mem­ber states have been col­lab­o­rat­ing to ac­cel­er­ate the pace of re­gional de­vel­op­ment through their com­mon en­deav­ours. Be­sides shared cul­tural and his­toric affini­ties, they have been able to use the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture and busi­ness links to fur­ther for­tify their re­solve to transform their hopes and as­pi­ra­tions into a tan­gi­ble re­al­ity. ECO has em­barked on sev­eral projects in pri­or­ity sec­tors of co­op­er­a­tion in­clud­ing en­ergy, trade, trans­porta­tion, agri­cul­ture and drug con­trol, he added.

Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agree­ment is said to be lever­aged as a legal frame­work that would en­hance trade be­tween Afghanistan and Pak­istan. Ma­roofi hoped there would be more such Agree­ments within the re­gion.

Ear­lier the min­is­ter wel­comed

ECO has em­barked on sev­eral projects in pri­or­ity sec­tors of co­op­er­a­tion in­clud­ing en­ergy, trade, trans­porta­tion, agri­cul­ture and drug con­trol. The mem­ber coun­tries have used the ex­ist­ing in­fras­truc­tural and busi­ness links to for­tify the trade agree­ments. The need of the hour how­ever de­mands much tan­gi­ble trade ties and co­op­er­a­tion among the ten mem­ber states

the sec­re­tary gen­eral and high­lighted the func­tions and ob­jec­tives of his min­istry, adding that the Min­istry of Science and Tech­nol­ogy was an ef­fec­tive arm of the gov­ern­ment of Pak­istan. He em­pha­sised the need for an ef­fec­tive science and tech­nol­ogy (S&T) Re­search base which would lead to the so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try in or­der to achieve the vi­sion for a bet­ter Pak­istan. He said it was im­por­tant for Pak­istan to build on its tech­no­log­i­cal com­pe­tence and de­velop a larger pool of hu­man re­source to re­verse the brain drain and to in­te­grate the soft tech­nol­ogy in­fra­struc­ture into a strong mod­ern tech­no­log­i­cal base.

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