The 5th ECO Virtual Ministerial Meeting on Finance and Economy was hosted by the Republic of Tajikistan on May 25, 2021 in coordination with the ECO Secretariat.
While chairing the meeting, the Minister for Economic Development and Trade of the Republic of Tajikistan underscored the importance of the meeting which was aimed at expanding the scope of existing cooperation and engagements amongst the Member States as well as reviewing the overall pre/post-pandemic economic and financial conditions of the region. He appeared poised to express that the high-level interaction would yield desirable outcomes to gratify and jack up the economy of the region that is transiting through a strained phase due to the ongoing COVID crunch.
Recalling the aims and objectives of the Izmir Treaty, the ECO Secretary General underlined the significance of the ministerial meeting for the greater regional integration, giving a fresh impetus to the pace of multilateral economic activities in the region. He noted the essentiality of the event in special consideration to gauge the organization’s progress and performance in the area of finance and economy. Dr. Soleimanpour also acknowledged the committed contributions of the Member States for laying and maintaining the strong foundation of the ECO.
The meeting featured various ways and means of multifaceted economic and financial cooperation to maximize the utilization of available regional potentials for shouldering the process of socioeconomic recovery in the region during the time of crisis. Among other central issues, the participants considered an accelerated implementation of ECO Trade Agreement (ECOTA), trade liberalization policies to attract FDI in the region, expansion of membership of the Agreement on Protection and Promotion of Investment (APPI) as well as ECO Reinsurance Company (ERI) to host a secure environment for investment in the region.
The high-level ministerial forum also mulled over an ECO Clearing Union to introduce a robust financial system for facilitating smooth intra-regional remittances of trade-related payments. Keeping in view the impacts of the pandemic on economies of the region, the discussions further touched upon the proposed networking of ECO Specialized Economic/Free Trade Zones as well as the National Sovereign Wealth/Development Funds of the Member States which are intended to fast-track the economic growth and development in the region. The meeting also adopted 5th ministerial declaration on finance and economy that stresses for the continuity and enlargement of cooperative activities and engagements amongst the Member States to successfully attain the ECO Vision ,“ 2025.