ECO countries should remove non-tariff barriers immediately – Khurram Dastgir

The Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan on Friday stressed that the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) member states to take steps to immediately remove non-tariff barriers and get rid of the protectionist mindset, to expedite regional economic cooperation.

The minister said this while addressing the inaugural session of Executive Committee and 15th General Assembly Meetings of ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECO-CCI) here on Friday.

A vibrant private sector is necessary to achieve high levels of growth and employment. The openness to trade and the idea that private sector is the engine of growth and employment is necessary for the ECO countries to excel economically, he added.

The minister said that more important than the tariff barriers were the non-tariff barriers that immediately need to be removed by easing up the visa process, customs facilitation, mutual recognition of standards and arbitration mechanism.

“If we work on the openness of trade and the removal of non-tariff barriers, it will result in increased trade, greater people to people interaction, and enhanced physical connectivity. We must get rid of our protectionist mindset. We need to realise that if we are opening up, we are opening to our brothers and sisters with whom we share history, culture and values,” the minister said.

The minister stressed upon the distinguished guests to take this important message to their countries that Pakistan is coming out of the dark period of extremism, energy crisis and political instability. Pakistan is now more peaceful and economically stable, as the public finances and foreign exchange reserves have stabilised. The energy crisis has been resolved to a great extent and will be overcome by the middle of the next year. Pakistan’s connectivity to the world has improved in the shape of CPEC which is the backbone of our future prosperity.

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