An ECO delegation headed by H.E. Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour, Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) participated in the 28th Executive Committee & 18th General Assembly of ECO -CCI, held on 19th Oct’ 2020. The meeting was held in virtual mode.
At the onset of his statement, Dr. Soleimanpour, whilst re-acknowledging Republic of Azerbaijan as an important Member of ECO, expressed deep concern from ECO over the flagrant violation and breach of internationally recognized humanitarian law by resorting to indiscriminate recent military attacks on the civilian population and residential areas in the Ganja city, Azerbaijan. Whilst extending deep condolences over the loss of precious human lives in this historical city, he paid tribute to the bravery and martyrdom of Azeri soldiers who sacrificed their lives to defend territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, recognized by international community through many UN resolutions. He stated that that our hearts and minds are with the people and leadership of Azerbaijan.
Dr. Soleimanpur underscored the importance of regional private sectors as a driver of sustainable economic growth and enhanced trade & investment, leading to job creation and poverty alleviations, as set forth in the ECO Vision-2025.
The Secretary General ECO highlighted the need for a more proactive role of the private sectors through national chambers with a closer liaison with their governments to remove the impediments in regional trade integration and formulate uniform policies to create Regional Value Chains (RVCs). In this context, he suggested to the national chambers to pursue signing and ratification of “Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investment(APPI)” as well as operationalization of “Articles of Agreement of the Economic Cooperation Organization Reinsurance Company”. He also suggested to national chambers of the non-signatory Member States to consider joining these two forums for increasing 'secure' investment.
The Secretary General, shared the updates that “the Agreement on Establishment and Operation of ECO Smuggling and Customs Offences Databank” in Ankara.
Dr. Soleimanpour shared that the ECO has launched Small Scale Studies projects on trade facilitation, reduction in tariffs and removal of non-tariff barriers (NTBs).
Referring the negative repercussions of COVID-19 on the region’s economy, he stressed the need for joint efforts to face challenges in the post pandemic era. The need to harmonize measures related to Covid-19 to facilitate trade in goods and services in hard hit sectors like transpiration, hospitality, travel and tourism etc, was also emphasized.
Dr. Soleimanpour, shared the idea that ECO -CCI may set up a regional task force to coordinate with private sectors and business communities across the ECO region, identify policy and production gaps in the wake of pandemic and recommend more realistic and uniform set of policies to regulate trade and investment, support long term development of RVCs and establish their linkages with GVCs. The task force may also study the potential for harmonization of standards like testing and certification for Covid-19 and measures on Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) to regulate movement of people, goods and services.
ECO-CCI, was founded by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines, and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, in 1990, to promote commercial, industrial and economic cooperation among member states. Today, ECO-CCI has 10 members.