ECO-PIDE Study on the Trading Patterns in the ECO Region
he objective of the Project is to study the potential of intra-regional trade within the ECO region, identify the impediments and suggest policy recommendations for enhancing trade and economic cooperation. The project proposal, prepared by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), was tabled at the 18th Regional Planning Council with the budgetary estimates. The 136th meeting of the Council of Permanent Representatives approved an amount of US$50,000/- for the Project. The Secretariat has received a draft Questionnaire on the project, prepared by PIDE on the basis of recommendations of the Secretariat. The Project Document finalized by the two organizations will be signed shortly for commencement of the study.
CO-UNIDO cooperation was initiated by conducting surveys of the Member States and organizing an Expert Group Meeting on Trade Capacity Building in December 2007. The EGM proposed ECO-UNIDO to conduct a needs assessment to determine the requirements of Member States for strengthening the Standard, Metrology, Testing and Quality (SMTQ) infrastructure.
In accordance with the EGM recommendations, UNIDO developed a project document for the 2nd Phase of the ECO-UNIDO Project. With a financial assistance of US$228, 141/- by UNIDO, the Project will be implemented in 12 months. ECO would support in coordination, assistance and facilitation of the activities to be carried out under the Project. The Member States will be required to offer support in kind which includes arrangements of training of their staff/technical personnel/ laboratory technicians working in the Standardization organizations. Besides international experts, professionals from within the region have been agreed to be associated by UNIDO for the Project to impart trainings in three different areas to 60 officials from each Member State. UNIDO has also offered hiring of one Administrative Staff/ Translator (Russian - English) to work with ECO for coordinating Project activities.
The project would be a major activity to assist member countries in elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers to trade. It would strengthen capacities of the Member States in implementing ECO Trade Agreement. It will also focus on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures. The member countries would be assisted through this Project in harmonizing their certification procedures enabling them to examine possibilities of entering into Mutual Recognition Agreements. Effort in this direction would lead to integrating the region with the international trade framework and strengthening infrastructure leading to enhancement of trade and investment.
The Project proposal, endorsed by the 139th CPR Meeting and 19th RPC has been signed by both the parties. A tentative schedule of activities planned for commencing from April 2009 has also been circulated to Member States.
he 16th Regional Planning Council (RPC) (Tehran, January 30 - February 02, 2006) welcomed the proposal of the Islamic Republic of Iran to nominate an appropriate company to reactivate and technically supervise the convenient operation of the ECO Web Portal www.tradeeco.org. Accordingly, the 120th Council of Permanent Representatives (CPR) (February 7, 2007) approved the project with a maximum cost of US$ 20,000/- from ECO FSF. An Iranian company, M/S Rahbar Informatics Services Co. was accordingly selected for implementation of the project.
The ECO Trade & Investment Network Web Portal has been launched and made functional through the designated National Focal Points (NFPs). This virtual informative and interactive communication platform has been specifically designed to facilitate the exchange of information on intra-regional trade and investment opportunities which would result in the expansion of economic activities in the ECO region.
The nominated NFPs are currently being engaged by ECO in collection and processing of information in prescribed format and for making an assessment of the necessary IT facilities available to the NFPs and their organizations. Based on the evaluation of the soft and hardware, the Secretariat plans to devise suitable strategy for compatibility of the existing IT facilities and systems of the Member States.
The 19th RPC approved hosting of Orientation Seminars on ECO Trade & Investment Network in all the Member States. The Seminars will be planned by the Secretariat in coordination with the relevant Trade and Investment Organizations. The Seminars of to be hosted by each Member State during April-June, 2009 are being designed for imparting specialized training to the NFPs along with 15-20 officials of the relevant ministries / departments. The IT experts of the Secretariat will provide Secured Information to NFPs for accessing the Web Portal during the Seminars. ECO officials would create awareness on the activities, plans and projects in the fields of Trade and Investment and the objectives to be achieved by the web-portal.
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