President Alvi emphasizes trade and investment integration among CEE member states
ACHGABAT: President Dr Arif Alvi stressed the need for integration between the States of the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OCE) in terms of trade and investment.
Addressing the 15th CEE Heads of State Summit in Ashgabat on Sunday, the president said intra-regional trade among CEE members only accounts for eight percent of their total trade.
âUnlocking the potential for regional integration will give a significant boost to growth and development in all OCE member states. The ECO region has all the elements necessary for economic integration and rapid economic growth: rich resources, enterprising people, geographical contiguity, as well as a common culture and heritage, âhe said.
However, he said, for historical reasons, the ECO is among the least integrated regions in terms of trade, investment, finance, infrastructure, regional value chains, mobility of workforce and social integration.
The president said that to remain competitive, national and regional economies should move towards greater physical and virtual integration, calling for ensuring the implementation of ECO Vision 2025, the Islamabad Declaration, a free trade agreement or preferential; strengthening of regional institutions such as the ECO Trade and Development Bank (ETDB) and operationalization of the ECO Reinsurance Company (ERC).
President Alvi also called for advancing the transport corridors provided by the ECO under the Transit Transport Framework Agreement (TTFA) and also welcomed the operationalization of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul road corridor. (ITI).
Calling peace in Afghanistan as the “key to connectivity,” the president said that after the 40-year war ended, the country faced a humanitarian crisis and the specter of economic collapse hung over its people. .
âThe increasingly worsening liquidity crisis threatens financial and banking collapse, with serious social and security implications. We must all unite to prevent such a catastrophe, which could rekindle chaos and conflict and the threat of terrorism in Afghanistan, âhe commented.
He said in addition to urgent humanitarian aid, countries must provide assistance to the Afghan people in key areas of health and education. âThe frozen assets must be released to help alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people. We must together promote the economic stability and sustainability of Afghanistan as well as its rapid integration into the CEE and the international community.
Alvi said that the restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan would also allow the rapid implementation of the agreed infrastructure and integration projects, including the TAPI gas pipeline; the CASA 1000 electricity grid from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Afghanistan and Pakistan; and the construction of the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan railway line.
Recounting the economic impact of Covid-19 with disproportionate suffering from some CEE member states having double-digit economic contraction, the president said Pakistan had been relatively lucky. âOur strategy of smart foreclosure, compassion, generous social protection and strategic economic stimuli have saved lives and livelihoods and limited the damage to our economy.â
He told regional leaders that in part, global price inflation was driven by the $ 27 trillion fiscal stimulus injected by rich countries to revive their economies. âUnfortunately, developing countries have not been able to get even a small fraction of the $ 4.3 trillion they need to recover from the Covid crisis.â
The President called on CEE countries to join with other developing countries to promote a common development agenda in order to get back on the path of sustained and sustainable growth.
He also invited OCE member states, as well as members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to attend the upcoming OIC Foreign Ministers’ Conference in Islamabad on March 23 of the next year.
In addition, on the sidelines of the summit, bilateral relations were discussed during a meeting between President Dr Arif Alvi and his Iranian counterpart Seyed Ebrahim Raisi.
Alvi stressed the importance of the regular convening of bilateral mechanisms between Pakistan and Iran for trade and economy, also emphasizing the use of barter mechanism.
He expressed satisfaction with the recent operationalization of International Road Transport (TIR) ââshipments from Pakistan to Turkey and Azerbaijan, which would be beneficial for the whole CEE region.
In addition, the President stressed that Pakistan places the highest priority on changing the agenda of geo-economic prosperity and regional connectivity.