Minister stresses need for enhanced connectivity between ECO member states

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ISLAMABAD: Planning, Development and Reform Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar has said that the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) offers a great potential to enhance regional integration and connectivity as well as to increase trade and commerce among member states.

The minister was talking to ECO Secretary General Hadi Soleimanpour, who called on him in Islamabad on Thursday. Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan and senior officials were also present in the meeting.

The minister underlined the need for creating a mechanism to enhance regional trade and to identify new areas for future cooperation.

The minister called for focusing on strengthening coastal, rail and road connectivity as well as facilitation of trade and investment for increased regional commerce activities. He said that ECO Vision-2025 is an excellent framework and the impetus provided by Islamabad Declaration in 2017 will help translate and realize the objectives of ECO.

During the meeting, ECO trade agreement was discussed in detail and it was emphasized that the trade potential needs to be fully exploited by overcoming trade barriers for mutual benefit of member states.

The minister also apprised about the functions of Planning Commission.

The ECO secretary general on the occasion said that Pakistan is a vibrant member and expressed optimism that the regional bloc will attain all its objectives through mutual cooperation among all member states.

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