Secretary General's Call on the Commerce Minister of the I.R. of Iran
The Secretary General in his opening remarks highlighted the overall progress achieved by ECO in diverse fields of economy. The Secretary General mentioned that the pro-active role of Iran, has greatly helped ECO in laying down the legal instruments and developing institutional mechanisms.
Underlining the need for expeditious implementation of ECO Trade Agreement (ECOTA) tariff concessions, the Secretary General informed that it has a bearing on most of the ECO plans and projects. He expressed the hope that the Iranian authorities would complete their internal procedures for early submission of the ECOTA lists. He specifically cited the issue of withholding ECOTA tariff concessions by the three Contracting Parties including Iran which is negatively impacting expansion of intra-regional trade.
The Commerce Minister thanked the Secretary General for his keen interest and efforts in strengthening regional cooperation. The Minister stressed for a more active role of ECO to achieve ECO's declared goals of establishing Free Trade Area in the region by 2015. The Minister pointed out that tangible steps for the creation of a regional Trade Block are now required to be initiated. Similarly, there is a need for taking measure on the proposals of introducing single regional currency, joint trade promotional activities, joint investments and cooperation in banking.
On the status of ECOTA implementation by Iran, the Minister stated that the Negative, Sensitive and Prohibited Lists of Iran have been finalized in consultation with the stakeholders. The Lists will be forwarded to ECO Secretariat shortly for circulation. The Minister proposed for preparation of a workable plan for persuading the remaining Member States to join the ECO initiative on trade liberalization.