The 16th General Assembly and 24th Executive Committee Meetings of the ECO-Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ECO-CCI), hosted by the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) was held on 3-5 March, 2018 in Tehran. Present at the session were Iran’s Transport Minister, Abbas Akhoundi, ECO,“CCI President, Ghazanfar Bilour, ECO Secretary General, Hilal Ibrahim Akca, Head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce Gholamhossein Shafei, Vice President of Turkey’s Union of Chamber and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), Mr. Selأ§uk أ–ztأ¼rk.
In a statement to the session, ECO Secretary General, Halil Ibrahim Akca, said that various agreements and legal frameworks such as ECOTA, APPI, TTFA, along with developing intuitions such as ECO-TDB, can serve as a tool for increasing regional connectivity and integration to foster economic growth and development in the region. During the 13th ECO Summit Meeting in Islamabad, the Member States approved the ECO Vision-2025 with the priority areas of trade, transportation, energy, tourism, economic growth and social welfare as a means to improving living standards of people of the region who are endowed with abundant natural and human resources, he added. Mr. Akca concluded by stating that implementation of the ECO Vision-2025 with the support of the Member States and their respective National Chambers has the potential to put the region’s economy on a permanently higher growth path within the next decade.
In their statements, the dignitaries and business leaders representing their National Chambers highlighted that in comparison with the peer economic blocs such as EU, ASEAN, NAFTA, etc the volume of trade among ECO Member States is below its preferred potential. They underlined that by stimulating economic growth and development through enhancing investment in regional infrastructure and connectivity, the region can effectively utilize human resources and benefit from its vast natural resources.
The delegations also underscored that the ECO Trade Agreement (ECOTA) as a preferential trading arrangement can play crucial role in enhancing intra-regional trade among the member countries and usher prosperity in the region. They also encouraged their respective governments to ease the business environment by removal of bottlenecks for reducing the cost of doing business within the region.