Iranian President Calls for Using All ECO Potentials
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi underlined the necessity for using capacities and potentials of members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) for further development.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran considers a special priority for economic cooperation and partnership with Asian countries, especially its neighbours in South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus," Rayeesi said, addressing the 15th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit in Ashgabat on Sunday.
"Undoubtedly, strengthening the role and position of regional organizations as facilitators of bilateral and multilateral cooperation is one of our concerns and efforts, one of the clear manifestations of which is the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)," he added.
"In addition to enjoying the material features of power, such as the population of half a billion, the ownership of one-third of the world's energy resources, the unique position for Europe-China connection with the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, the young and powerful human resources, the ECO entails a privileged identity called Islam," Rayeesi added.
"We are not only capable neighbours but also inheritors and at the same time promote a genuine identity emanating from Islamic culture that is able to lead the future of humanity in the brightest state and can also promote spiritual growth and vitality through the cooperation of all," the Iranian President noted.
The President went on to say that “over the years, good achievements and progress have been achieved in the ECO, but there is still a significant gap between the successes achieved and the real capacities and capabilities of the organization. For example, despite high trade potentials, intra-regional trade is still less than 10%".
"The Islamic Republic of Iran, as an important country, seeks to improve the level of cooperation in ECO and to raise the rank and status of this organization in regional and international relations. We believe that there are effective tools for the promotion of the organization that, if the efforts of the members are shared, can ensure the well-being of future generations in addition to the material progress of the countries," Rayeesi said.
Referring to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the President said, "Now we need the collective intervention of member states to remove the destructive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic from the region and promote the relations and interactions between us with appropriate speed and with the help of experiences in the field of health and education and the production of medicine."
Iran is a founding member of ECO, an organization which has sought to promote sustainable economic development for member states in a region beset by violence and political rivalries over the past decades.
The organization consists of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
Iran's customs office announced on Wednesday that the country's exports to members of the ECO had increased 60% in the past 7 months compared with the same period last year.
Iran has maintained a trade surplus of $2.8 billion with the ECO members in the seven months to late October, customs office Spokesman Rouhollah Latifi said.
He added that Iranian exports to the 10-member ECO bloc had amounted to over $6 billion in the seven months to October 22, an increase of 60% compared with the same period last year.
Latifi said the value of exports to ECO countries over the period had exceeded figures seen before the coronavirus hit trade in the region in 2019.
He said exports to Turkey had been responsible for 56% of all shipments sent to the ECO bloc at nearly $3.4 billion. Exports to Afghanistan and Pakistan reached $1.12 billion and over $655 million, respectively, added the official.
On Imports from ECO, Latifi said that shipments had increased by 31% year on year in March-October to more than $3.3 billion with Turkey being the largest supplier at $2.861 billion.