View Full Version : Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Projects and Updates
January 1st, 2011, 12:46 PM
A place where everything regarding ECO development and infrastructure can be posted and discussed.
The ECO was founded by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan in 1985 for economic cooperation among these three countries but later on Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were included in the organization.
The common objective is to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union and the organization’s population is 416 million and the area is 8,600,00 km.
Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul train to promote connectivity among ECO states: Gilani
August 16, 2009
ISLAMABAD (APP) -- Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday said that ECO container train, test run of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul train, which coincides with Pakistan’s 62nd Independence Day, would provide impetus to the joint efforts aimed at promoting regional connectivity among the member countries.
Prime Minister Gilani said that future of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) rests on its ability to deliver concrete benefits to the 10 member states and the common prosperity of the ECO states depends on enhanced regional trade, energy cooperation and strengthened links.
Pakistani Prime Minister was talking to Muhammad Yahya Maroofi, Secretary General of ECO who called on him at the PM House. The Prime Minister proposed that ECO Trade and Development Bank should invest in upgradation of the existing railway track linking Pakistan with Iran, through a consortium.
This will forge links of ECO states with European countries and establish a new corridor of trade and investment to the mutual benefits of the ECO members, Gilani added.
Prime Minister Gilani said that Pakistan is looking forward to host the next ECO summit and is determined to play the lead role in the organization for expansion of relations among the member countries, in multifaceted fields.
Muhammad Yahya Maroofi termed the trial run of demonstration container train as auspicious, as it coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of Pakistan.
Maroofi agreed with the Prime Minister that the transport and communication infrastructure facilities in the member countries need to be strengthened.
ECO Secretary General welcomed Prime Minister’s proposal for forming a consortium involving ECO Trade and Development Bank for that purpose. He briefed Gilani on ECO’s plan of action and thanked him for Pakistan’s unrelenting support and efforts for making the organization an active and viable international organization.
The first test run of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul train left Islamabad’s Margala Station on August 14 en route to Istanbul’s Haydarpashsa Station via Tehran.
According to railways officials, Iran would provide trans-shipment facilities at Zahedan station until the replacement of the Zahedan-Mirjaveh line by standard gauge.
As such, containers would be trans-shipped from the train with broader gauge to the train with standard gauge and vice versa.
They said that in this case Iranian Railways should provide a train including empty wagons for standard gauge 30-60 minutes before the arrival of the full container train from Pakistan station according to the approved schedule.
Similarly, Pakistan Railways would provide a train including empty wagons for the broader gauge 30-60 minutes before the arrival of a full container train from Tehran.
According to official data available, the trilateral ministerial meeting of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Republic of Turkey on the ECO freight train on the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul route was held in Tehran on March 1, 2009.
The meeting was attended by the transportation ministers of Iran and Turkey and Pakistan’s ambassador to Iran, M.B Abbasi. The ECO delegation was led by the Secretary General.
The meeting discussed some of the key projects needed to improve the capacity and speed of transit traffic in the region.
Two such obvious projects, namely upgrading Quetta-Taftan segments, and railways bypass around Van Lake, had been forwarded through the Secretariat to the Islamic Development Bank for financial contribution.
The Bank had showed interest, but had deferred further consideration of the projects to placement of direct official request by the concerned government. The cost of the project was estimated at 45 billion rupees (US$ 545,950,864).
The meeting appreciated the Islamic Republic of Iran for expediting the completion of railway segment on Kerman-Zehdan, which made the initiative of having railway connection between Islamabad and Istanbul feasible.
The meeting also stressed the need for expediting the formulation or implementation of the following projects: electrification of the railway on Tehran-Tabriz segment, sand due fixation in Sistan via Balochistan (Iran) and Balochistan (Pakistan), and enhancing the line capacity on Quetta-Sibi section.
Under this agenda the en-route member states decided to consider the possibilities of launching a passenger train between Islamabad and Istanbul via Tehran.
Upgrading Quetta-Taftan segment would greatly facilitate passenger traffic on the route. The passenger train would be an extension of the existing passenger train between Tehran-Istanbul.
January 1st, 2011, 12:55 PM
ECO-IRU Silk Road Truck Caravan 2010: mission accomplished!
The Silk Road Truck Caravan 2010, jointly organised by the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) with the support of its Member States and the International Road Transport Union (IRU) in cooperation with its national Member Associations in the ECO region, was today welcomed by the Government of Turkey and some 200 high level governmental, business and media representatives in Ankara, as the final stop of an 11,000km journey which started on 30 September 2010 to “Drive Progress from Islamabad to Istanbul”.
Greeting the Caravan, the Minister of Transport and Communications of Turkey, Binali Yildirim, said: “Turkey was a leg of the Silk Road centuries ago and due to its location, it remains today a crossroad, interconnecting the East, West, North and South. This Caravan has once more emphasised this role and highlighted the importance of road transport in driving progress in this strategic region of the world!”
Composed of 8 trucks, the ECO-IRU Silk Road Truck Caravan travelled across Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan, with the aim to further develop trade and economic cooperation within the ECO region and with the rest of the world in order to help landlocked economies reap the full benefits of globalisation by letting road transport drive progress and prosperity.
ECO Deputy Secretary General, Althaf Asghar, emphasised, “In today’s globalised economy, only with efficient road transport will ECO countries better connect their economies to each other and with major world markets. That is why ECO is striving to establish itself as the main regional driving force for road transport facilitation within the entire region to the benefit of all its citizens.”
The main objectives of this public-private partnership were to:
• promote road transport facilitation across the ECO region,
• promote and monitor the implementation of the ECO Transit Transport Framework Agreement;
• collect en route data, such as border waiting times, customs procedures and road charges, as well as visa requirements in the ECO region; and
• examine the infrastructure along the ECO road network.
Preliminary results indicate that the Caravan has achieved its set objectives and that the main non-physical barriers, notably at borders, mostly stem from the inefficient implementation of the key UN multilateral trade and road transport facilitation instruments.
The need to improve road infrastructure in certain areas has also been identified and such improvements should be planned and implemented along the main international trade corridors according to the IRU’s Model Highway concept, which includes both road and ancillary infrastructure, such as the modernisation of border crossing points; warehousing and logistics facilities at economically strategic locations; expansion of the network of refuelling stations; creation of a secure parking network with technical maintenance facilities and retail outlets for spare parts and convenience goods; and the development of hotels and motels to accommodate drivers.
The President of the Union of Chambers & Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), Rifat Hisarciklioglu, stressed, “By investing over USD 200 million in the past decade, TOBB has contributed to the modernisation of more than six border crossing gates in Turkey. TOBB is ready to play a more active role in modernising the border crossing facilities between the ECO Member States along the Silk Road routes.”
IRU Secretary General, Martin Marmy, concluded, “The IRU fully supports ECO’s efforts to turn the vision of reopening the Silk Road to trade across the region into a reality. This joint Caravan will undoubtedly pave the way for further promoting and facilitating road transport in the ECO region and beyond, through the proper implementation of the UN transport conventions and agreements, in particular the TIR Convention, to drive progress, prosperity and ultimately peace!.”
January 1st, 2011, 01:05 PM
Salehi calls for rapid implementation of ECOTA
TEHRAN (ISNA)-Iranian Acting Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi voiced hope Economic Cooperation Organization Trade Agreement (ECOTA) will be implemented as soon as possible.
“We hope technical problems in ECOTA would be fixed so that the agreement is put into practice as soon as possible,” Salehi said in the 19th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Foreign Ministers' Council in Istanbul on Wednesday.
“ECO enjoys considerable potentials to be turned into an important and influential regional organization,” Salehi added.
Iranian Acting Foreign Minister continued, “there is no political or economic obstacle to slow cooperation in ECO members.”
The Economic Cooperation Organization’s member states involve the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
Senior experts of ECO member states met in Tehran in November with the gathering chaired by Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Ali Abdollahi.
Also Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flies into Turkey on Wednesday evening for ECO summit.
Ahmadinejad is to hold talks with Turkish authorities as well as officials of other countries during the two-day summit.
ECO provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development and promote trade, and investment opportunities.
The common objective is to establish a single market for goods and services.
ECO's secretariat and cultural department are located in Tehran, its economic bureau is in Turkey and its scientific bureau is situated in Pakistan.
The organization was founded by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan in 1985.
In the fall of 1992, ECO expanded to include seven new members, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Activities of ECO are conducted through Directorates under the supervision of the Secretary General and his deputies which considered and evolve projects and programs of mutual benefit in the fields of trade and Investment, transport and telecommunications, energy, minerals and environment, agriculture, industry and tourism, human resources, sustainable development project and economic research and statistics.
January 1st, 2011, 01:08 PM
Pakistan poised to provide trade corridors : Zardari
ISTANBUL, Dec. 23 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari said on Thursday that Pakistan was well positioned to provide trade and communication corridors through its territory and ports to its friends and partners.“We are ready to provide energy as a bridge and develop win-win scenarios,” the President said while addressing 11th summit of ECO (Economic Coordination rganization). He said that Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and TAPI gas pipeline projects should be seen in that context.He described development as strategic priority and urged the ECO member states that infrastructure and energy connectivity in the region should be one of the key goals.
He said that trade was possible only if there were infrastructural linkages and integrated border arrangements for trade facilitation. He added that one of the major achievements of ECO was the enforcement of Transit Transport Framework Agreement (TTFA).
The President said that Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul train service and ECO Truck Caravan were commendable successes. He said, “Pakistan remains deeply committed to the aims and objectives of ECO.
ECO brings us together to renew our partnership for comprehensive regional development and prosperity”.
“Our region is blessed with enormous resources and we have vast human capital. We have huge natural resources, including hydro-carbons, minerals, agriculture and technology,” the President said.
President Zardari said that the ECO represented the best hope to promote trade and economic linkages in the region and urged the member countries to pool resources to harness their potential.
The ECO states have the capacity to collectively address their needs and be masters of their own destiny, the President said and added that since its establishment, the ECO had matured and progressed.
He said,”Vision 2015 developed five years ago, is a pragmatic roadmap and since then, the ECO has achieved a lot. However, we still have a long way to go to exploit the true potential of the region.”
Trans-regional development and economic integration is the core objective but for it the functional mechanisms of ECO needs to be fully operationalized, he said and added this included placing ECO Trade Agreement on fast track.
He said Pakistan had already signed and ratified (Economic Cooperation Organization Trade Agreement (ECOTA). He said “Pakistan and Turkey have recently agreed to operationalize this Agreement, bilaterally and urged other members, who have not yet done so, to become parties to this Agreement”.
“Free trade is central to regional economic integration,” the President said.
He said that ECO Trade and Development Bank needed to be turned into a vibrant financial institution and a vehicle for project development.
President Zardari said the ECO states would have to work together to protect their economies from the volatility of international markets and the protectionist and discriminatory policies.
In this context, he said, the central banks and planning commissions have a central role and called to harmonize standards including customs.
The President said that Afghanistan is an important country in the region and all have a shared responsibility towards Afghanistan.
Pakistan is committed to working closely with the ECO member countries and the international community for stability, peace and development in Afghanistan, the President added.
He said,”Pakistan has been in the forefront of ECO’s efforts for the reconstruction of Afghanistan”.
He said to realize the dream of creating an ECO Free Trade Area all members may operationalize ECO Trade Agreement.
The President said that infrastructure and energy connectivity should be strategic priority and member states should identify joint projects for trans-regional development.
The Heads of Central Banks and Planning Departments of ECO should meet and suggest measures to protect the economies from global economic recession and volatility of international markets by suggesting innovative solutions.
The President called for people-to-people contacts and establishing linkages between the universities, academia, think tanks and media organizations. The member states should also collectively project and promote their common cultural heritage.
President Zardari reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the goals and objectives of the ECO and wished every success to brotherly country, Turkey, as the new Chairman.
The President congratulated Turkish President Abdullah Gul on assuming the chairmanship of the Summit and hoped that under his able guidance, the meeting would be a landmark success.
President appreciated President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, for his able stewardship of the ECO, since the 10th Summit in Tehran.
Earlier, the ECO summit began with high hopes of giving new dynamism to regional economic and energy cooperation to regain the status of centre of world trade that ECO region sustained for thousands of year in the age of silk route trade in the past.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who replaced Iranian President Ahmedi Nejad as ECO Chairman, called for collective efforts for early realisation of the goals set five-year back in ECO’s 2015 Vision for linking ECO countries through rail and road links and building energy corridor for common cause of regional prosperity and economic development.
President Abdullah Gul in his opening remarks welcomed ECO leaders saying Turkey welcomes you with highly felt brotherly feelings stemming from centuries old shared historical and cultural bonds that bind 400 million people of ECO nations into unique affinities.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul called for intensifying efforts to connect the ECO regions with energy and trade corridors by building modern rail and road networks and energy pipelines as the region has great trade potential and energy resources to capture the international markets and linking East with the West consequently bringing collective prosperity to people of ECO nations.
President Abdullah Gul called member countries to join ECO Trade Agreement ECOTA that Turkey and Pakistan have signed bilaterally to boost the trade by liberalizing trade barriers and utilize the Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad cargo train service for multilateral trade as this service will open land-locked countries to rest of the world.
He called upon ECO nations to join the ECO Trade and Development Bank that has been set up by three ECO founding members Turkey, Iran and Pakistan to support trade and economic activities.
Abdullah Gul pledged all support Turkey can offer to realize the goal of ECO countries integration through communications, energy and trade corridors.
The Turkish President called for proactive multilateral cooperation to realize goals set in ECO vision 2015 saying,” we can reach higher goals as targets set in this document are modest keeping in view the great trade potential and energy resources of the region that is stretched over an area of 8 million square kilometers and is house to 400 million people”.
He also called for collective efforts to alleviate poverty and reduce child and maternal mortality rate that is alarming in our region.
Iranian President Ahmedi Nejad in his speech termed the last year of significant developments as Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul cargo train and Silk Route Truck Caravan services became operational and ECO Trade and Development Bank was established besides agreement to establish US dollar 30 million worth ECO Reinsurance Company.
The Iranian President reiterated his country’s commitment and determination to make Vision 2015 success.
Chairman of the ECO Council of Ministers Ahmet Davutoglo presented a report of the 19th meeting of COM that took place on Wednesday and reviewed the progress made in advancing the agenda of Vision 2015 across the region.
ECO Secretary General Mohammad Yahya Maroofi presented a report on the performance of ECO and its delegated bodies to achieve the ECO targets in trade, energy, transport and communication, agriculture, industry, tourism, human resources, sustainable development, international relations, drug control, counter terrorism measures, transnational crime control and reconstruction work in Afghanistan.
That was followed by summit discussions by ECO heads of states.
January 1st, 2011, 01:10 PM
ECO summit issues declaration on regional economic cooperation
ISTANBUL, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- The 11th summit of the heads of state and government of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) concluded here on Thursday and adopted a declaration focusing on regional economic cooperation.
The declaration focused on ensuring energy security and close cooperation on the matter and also touched on global matters like climate change and food security.
The declaration referred to the target of establishing Free Trade Zone in the region, included in ECO 2015 Vision Statement.
The member countries reaffirmed their commitments to fulfill 2015 Vision Statement and stressed the importance of signing of ECO Trade Agreement (ECOTA) by all member states.
The declaration called on non-member countries to sign the agreements that were opened to signature and included some projects and initiatives to make ECO stronger.
It reaffirmed the importance of trade among the member countries and appealed technical impediments and restrictions preventing free trade should be removed.
Istanbul Declaration eulogized financial means put into force by ECO Trade and Development Bank aiming to support member countries and underlined importance of inclusion of all the member countries to the bank.
Emphasizing the importance of boosting transportation network, the declaration said cargo train project initiated in August 2010 in Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul route was successful, noting such a route would be implemented between Istanbul and Almaty in 2011.
The declaration also focused on importance given to re- construction of Afghanistan and role of ECO and commended contributions of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran and Pakistan to this country.
Ten ECO member countries and guest states including Iraq, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria attended the summit, with the attendance of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Tajik President Emomoli Rahman.
ECO is an intergovernmental regional organization established in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey for the purpose of promoting economic, technical and cultural cooperation among the member states.
January 1st, 2011, 01:12 PM
Azerbaijan to be a shareholder of ECO Trade and Development Bank
Baku, Fineko/abc.az. The 9th Economic Cooperation Organization Summit of the Member States’ State/Government Heads that ended in Istanbul yesterday has led to the only positive result - the ranks of the ECO Trade & Development Bank’s shareholders will enhance.
At the summit Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated that Azerbaijan would continue to participate actively in the ECO, which had already become a large international organization.
"I appreciate my Turkish counterpart’s proposal that the accession of new members to the Bank is regarded as positive. Azerbaijan, for its part, uses this invitation to become a full member and shareholder of the Bank,” he said.
Initially only Iran, Turkey and Pakistan were among the shareholders. Turkish leader Abdullah Gul expressed great satisfaction with President Aliyev’s statement and voiced a hope that other member countries would also take a similar step.
When the Bank was under foundation Azerbaijan said then it would observe the establishment and operation of the institution.
January 1st, 2011, 02:52 PM
Has trade between these 3 countries increased much since the creation of this ECO in 1985? And data?