Jul 5, 2014, 7:11 PM
News Code: 2720326
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Iran tops ECO intergovernmental trade

Tehran, July 5, IRNA -- A senior Iranian member of the ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ECO-CCI) said Iran tops intergovernmental trade among its member-states.

Sunday edition of the English language newspaper Iran Daily quoted Ahmad Asghari as saying Iran imported $5.1 billion worth of commodities from the ECO nations in 2012, while its exports stood at $6.3 billion.

Asghari, however, said despite ECO’s rising trade, it has not lived up to expectations.

“With regard to the potentials of ECO member-states, there is a large gap between the organization’s rightful status and its current position as a trade body,” he said.

The Iranian official said the chamber has made efforts to facilitate business trips among members.

Asghari noted that the establishment of an ECO free trade zone is one of the chamber's targets.

“The ECO-CCI has put forward a proposal for devising a joint visa plan,” he said.

Asghari said tapping ECO's potentials can not only boost regional trade, but introduce Iran as a frontrunner in the organization.

He said the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea can be used as marine corridors for reexports among the member states, if free trade zones are expanded.

“The transit of commodities via Iranian waters can help boost trade among ECO member-states that are landlocked,” he said.

Asghari said forging joint investments and transforming raw materials into commodities can help boost exports, generate jobs and train skilful experts.

He said the ECO-CCI helps promote economic, industrial, agricultural, tourism, engineering, technical and banking cooperation in the private sector.

The senior member of the ECO's chamber noted that the body helps sort out legal and trade differences.

"Calling for tenders and gathering statistical information on economic and industrial sectors are also among the ECO-CCI's programs," he said.

Asghari noted that the ECO-CCI holds expos, conferences and meetings aimed at promoting trade and economic ties, and launches research projects for consumer goods utilized by ECO member-states.

The ECO Chamber of Commerce and Industries was formed by the heads of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Iran, Turkey and Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines in 1990 to promote commercial, industrial and economic cooperation.

ECO, as an intergovernmental regional platform, plays an important role in world trade. The organization's foreign trade reached $392 billion in 2012, which stood at $300 billion in 2010.

Apart from ECO’s foreign trade, its inter-government transactions also surged from $51.5 billion in 2010 to $83 billion in 2012.