ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said Pakistan is committed to promoting economic cooperation through regional integration for achieving the goal of poverty reduction.

Addressing the 15th ministerial meeting of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), Prime Minister Sharif said for the collective benefit of the region, it is important the governments of member countries work towards betterment of their people.

The prime minister said CAREC is an important programme that encourages regional countries to develop areas – mainly physical network, infrastructure, peace, stability and economic development.

He mentioned the forum was significant in poverty reduction by facilitating trade policies among its member countries.

Welcoming delegates from 200 countries, he expressed confidence that their attendance at the CAREC meeting would help realise the dream of region’s prosperity and development.

The prime minister said Pakistan, which became the member of CAREC in 2010, was pro-active in facilitating projects critical to sustainable development.

Proposing measures for the promotion of CAREC’s vision, he urged the inclusion of experts from CAREC countries and sharing their expertise for intra-regional transfer of knowledge.

He said Pakistan complies with international standards in trade activities and mentioned the improved economic conditions of the country.

The prime minister suggested that along with Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority, CAREC countries could work on the ‘CAREC Aviation and Open Skies Agreement’.

He appreciated that CAREC mobilised $29 billion for development projects in the region. He hoped that the mid-term review of CAREC in next 10 years would prove as an opportunity to fast track economic cooperation.

Prime Minister Sharif said Pakistan believed CAREC as a premier organisation to promote cooperation among member countries, particularly in areas of energy, transportation and trade policy facilitation.

He said Pakistan is a key facilitator of CAREC, bridging South Asia and Central Asia.

The situation had never been more challenging, however, we are cognizant of dealing with it effectively, he added.

The prime minister mentioned that Pakistan government was experiencing an economic revival at present, with a greater momentum gained in energy, transport and infrastructure activities under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He hoped that besides Pakistan, the benefits of CPEC would be multiplied for the CAREC countries.

Published in Dawn October 27th, 2016

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