Kabul Hosts Fourth ECO Summit

Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI) officials on Wednesday highlighted, at the fourth Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) summit, opportunities the organization has provided Afghanistan within the trade, transit and customs sectors.

Addressing the summit attended by all member states, the Afghan deputy commerce minister, Muzammil Shinwari urged that opportunities presented to Afghans must be utilized considering the current issues facing th‎e sectors.‎

“The summit is aimed at finding ways to use the opportunities facilitated by ECO,” he said.

In addition, the head of the Regional Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Roya Rahimi said: “Despite tremendous opportunities for the development of trade and transit in Afghanistan, we have still been unable to use them.”

The ECO members, however, highlighted the role Afghanistan can play in the organization and said this country was in a key position to link regional countries for trade and transit purposes.

“We feel that if Afghanistan moves ahead with customs harmonization, visa facilitation and infrastructural improvement in rail and road corridors within Afghanistan, this is going to increase the inter-regional trade,” said Hassan Ali Mangi, the Deputy Secretary General ECO.‎

The economists meanwhile criticized the government’s failure to utilize the opportunities ECO has provided to Afghanistan.

The organization was established by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey in 1985 in Tehran. ECO has now 10 member countries after it was expanded in 1992 to include seven more countries, such as, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

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