ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan has presented his six-point plan for securing the common objectives of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Countries, saying that we need to recover robustly from the economic and health crises induced by the COVID-19.
In his opening remarks at the 14th ECO Summit held virtually on Thursday with the theme “Regional Economic Cooperation in the Aftermath of COVID-19”, the prime minister said that we must adopt a plan to build resilient health care systems to respond to such crises in the future.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also said that we must develop an integrated transport network to facilitate both intra-ECO trade and serve as a pathway for trade between major economies of the East and the West, North and South.
The prime minister said that the Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad Commercial Cargo Train and the proposed Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan railway links are important regional connectivity projects. In addition, linking China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with Afghanistan and beyond is vital.
The prime minister said that we must implement the cross-border projects already agreed under the ECO members including Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and the CASA-1000, establishing an ECO investment agency and organizing an annual ECO investment fair.
Imran Khan said that our mutual trade which is just 8 percent of our total trade could be expanded 10-fold.
To remain competitive, he said that we must promote knowledge-based economies which need enhanced research and development and focus on rapid digitalization.
Further, he emphasized on taking full advantage of geographical location, economic assets, and political relationships among members of the ECO for achieving the common goals and priorities. He said that regional connectivity and integration have proven essential for growth and development.
The prime minister said that enhanced physical structure will generate economic activity, trade, employment, mobility, and cross-border exchanges.