Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo, President FPCCI, has expressed his dissatisfaction over the fact that the 10-country alliance of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) has a trade share of only 8% intraregionally; whereas, the border & land-based trade accounts for more than 70% among geographically contiguous countries and regional alliances. He was delivering his official address to the 4th ECO Business Forum; which saw the participation of all 10 Presidents of the national-level Chambers of Commerce & Industries (CCIs) of their respective countries.
Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo stressed that ECO Vision 2025 should be implemented in letter and spirit to enhance intraregional trade, investments, joint ventures, large-scale trade expos and B2B contacts & networking. We can double the intraregional trade within a short span of 4-5 years, if we can implement ECO Vision 2025, he added.
Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo also emphasized the enormous potential that ECO Free Trade Agreement (ECO-FTA) can unleash. He also called for a more inclusive and integrative approach towards the member countries other than Pakistan, Turkey and Iran; as, these three countries alone contribute to 94% of the total intraregional trade.
FPCCI Chief also stressed the need for free and convenient movement of businessmen, traders and industrialists of the ECO Member Countries within the region through simplification of visa issuance procedures; so that, the business community can better understand the markets in other regional countries and explore B2B opportunities as well. This should be taken up with immediate effect for the interim period through provision of Landing Visas for business community; until the ECO Visa Sticker Scheme is formulated and operationalized, he added.
Mr. Amjad Rafi, FPCCI’s Convener of International Forums & Pakistan Chapter Head of ECO CCI, welcomed the operationalization of Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Corridor; and, also apprised the 4th ECO Business Forum of the huge potential that the Pakistan’s signing up of TIR Convention has opened up for the entire region to trade with Pakistan; through faster, more efficient and cheaper land-based shipping and logistics facilities. Mr. Amjad Rafi also moderated the session on Development of Industrial Sector and Transport & Logistics Services: Investment Opportunities in ECO Region.
Mr. Shoaib Khakwani, a General Manager with National Logistics Cell (NLC), detailed the pioneering and highly-successful land-based transportation of 5 trucks from Islamabad to Turkey via Tehran under TIR in 12 days and an another consignment of 2 trucks from Islamabad to Azerbaijan via Tehran in 5 days. It is just the beginning, he added.
Mr. Sohail Swaleh, Director of Turkey-Pakistan CCI, apprised the audiences that Pakistan has posted a remarkable 90% growth in its e-Commerce business during the year 2020; and, given its mostly young population of approximately 225 million & e-Commerce growth rate, Pakistan will continue to be one of the most lucrative destinations for e-Commerce in the ECO region for many years to come.