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Iran private sector calls for facilitating business visa issuance among ECO member states Featured

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President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture Gholam Hossein Shafei on Tuesday urged ECO member states to facilitate visa issuance for businesspersons from other member countries.

Shafei made the remarks during an online meeting of presidents of the Chambers of Commerce of ECO member countries.

The meeting was also participated by the presidents and vice-presidents of Chamber of Commerce of Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. ECO Secretary General Khusrav Noziri was also present in the meeting.  

Shafei, who also heads ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECO CCI), said that ECO is located in an intersection linking East-West and North-East corridors.

He noted that implementation of different corridors will undoubtedly cut the time and cost of transit and will also lead to a subsequent boost in trade and economic cooperation among ECO member countries.

He regretted that the volume of trade among ECO member states is too low, noting that the statistics suggest that the bloc has had as much as $927 billion of trade with the world in 2021 while an only 8.1% of the amount was the share of intra-regional trade.

He also said that the foreign direct investment (FDI) among the ECO member countries accounted for just 1.7% of the bloc’s total FDI inflow in 2021 which is much disappointing.  

President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Gholam Hossein Shafei (L) and ICCIMA Deputy for International Affairs Alireza Yavari are seen in an online meeting of presidents of the Chambers of Commerce of ECO member countries October 4, 2022.

Shafei called for implementation of a 2003 ECO Trade Agreement (ECOTA) and turning it into a free trade agreement

The Iran Chamber of Commerce president also said that launching direct flights, linking power grids and creating an ECO electricity market, as well as oil and gas swap activities can help the development of cooperation among ECO member states.

He also called on representatives from the member Chambers of Commerce and Industry to report existing problems in the area of trade, investment, visa, transit and transportation, and banking so as to be addressed in the ECO secretariat in Tehran. 

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