ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan was scheduled to host the 5th ECO Ministerial Meeting for Trade Ministers on January 23-24; however, several of its member Countries have refused to visit Islamabad, forcing the postponement of the Summit.
The Trade Ministers of 10-member Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO); which includes Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; had to meet in Islamabad for upcoming two-day Summit, according to official documents as reported by Azhar Jatoi in Daily 92 News.
The trade among ECO members, despite cultural and geographical linkages, has been lower than its true potential. Five ECO member Countries including Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkey signed the ECO trade agreement on July 17, 2003 during the Second Ministerial Meeting for Trade Ministers, aimed at to promote trade among members. However since Iran and Tajikistan have not yet endorsed the concessional trade list agreement; therefore, ECO trade agreement could not be implemented.
As per the documents, Pakistan has requested Iran and Tajikistan to complete procedure of proceedings so that the agreement could be acted upon and trade activities among ECO members could be enhanced.
As part of efforts to promote mutual trade among ECO members, the Fifth Ministerial Meeting for Trade Ministers was scheduled in Islamabad on January 23-24, 2018 wherein the emphasize had to be laid down to ensure promotion of mutual trade and implementation of trade deal.
Sources were cited by Daily 92 News as saying that several members of ECO have refused to arrive in Pakistan for upcoming Summit; therefore, it has eventually been postponed.
When the Trade Ministry was contacted about the issue, the officials also confirmed the postponement of the ECO Summit in Islamabad over non-completion of its quorum.