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    • 2nd Meeting of the Heads of Free Trade/Special Economic Zones of the ECO Member States Hosted by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in Virtual Mode
      2nd Meeting of the Heads of Free Trade/Special Economic Zones of the ECO Member States Hosted by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in Virtual Mode
      The ‘2nd Meeting of Heads of Free Trade/Special Economic Zones of the ECO Member States’ was virtually hosted by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on August 2, 2021 under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Atta Nasib, Director General of Afghanistan Investment Facilitation Unit (AIFU), office of the President of I.R of Afghanistan. The representatives of the ECO Member States, delegation of the ECO Secretariat headed by Deputy Secretary General, Dr. Yahya Akhlaqi, Secretary General of the ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Adam Kula and the representatives of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) & Pardis Technology Park of Iran; participated in event.
      H.E. Mr. Atta Nasib, while chairing the meeting; apprised the participants about the special attention of the government of Afghanistan to the establishment and strengthening of ECO Zones with a view to deepen economic ties with the countries of the ECO region. He shared the vision of His Excellency the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to enhance regional economic cooperation for development, expand trade relations and enabling investment climate to play a pivotal role as a trade and transit hub in the region. He shared the resolve of Islamic Republic of of Afghanistan to trade and connectivity with neighboring countries. He informed that AIFU is committed to take practical measures for establishing FT/SEZs in Afghanistan, utilizing the good experiences of other ECO Member States, including Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
      The ECO Deputy Secretary General, Dr. Yahya Akhlaqi extended his warm gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for hosting the meeting while thanking the participants to attend the event. He stated that the aim of meeting is to take stock of the decisions made during the ‘1st Meeting of Heads of SEZs of the ECO Member States’ and implementation of these decisions. Moreover, the meeting is expected to develop an ‘Action Plan’ and a ‘Road-Map’ to improve business climate in ECO region, for investors and traders to invest and trade goods and services under the umbrella of ECO Zones.
      The ECO Director (Trade & Investment), Mr. Zahid Hussain Abbasi; whilst briefing the meeting, emphasized the need to opertionalize the ECO Agreements like ECOTA, APPI, ECO Reinsurance Company, cooperation in Customs and Taxation etc, to bolster business climate in the region. He explained the initiatives of the ECO Secretariat for removing Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and setting up robust financial systems for better transparency, predictability and reduction in cost of business.
      The meeting deliberated on the harmonization of policies for the networking among ECO Zones, the sharing of experiences from the existing legal and regulatory frameworks for fostering proposed cooperation. The meeting also requested the ECO Member States, to consider early implantation of ECOTA and APPI and expedite their nominations for the ‘Standing Committee of ECO Zones’ and engage their relevant SEZ/TFZ authorities for finalization for the guidelines with the Secretariat for setting up the network of ECO Zones.

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