Business Leaders to Encourage Trilateral Economic Cooperation

ISTANBUL, Dec 5 (APP)

Business leaders from Afghanistan, Turkey and Pakistan agreed to develop projects to encourage trilateral economic cooperation in food, energy and infrastructure development.

A joint declaration issued at the conclusion of the third meeting of the Istanbul Forum for Economic Cooperation between Afghanistan, Turkey and Pakistan, held parallel to the trilateral summit between the leaders of the three countries at the same venue, called for identifying the priority areas in capacity building.

Under the aegis of the Istanbul Forum, formed by the Union of Turkish Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) deliberations were held on projects that would be carried out jointly by Turkish, Afghan and Pakistani private sectors.

A presentation of the deliberations of the forum were given to President Abdullah Gul, President Asif Ali Zardari and President Hamid Karzai at the conclusion of their formal deliberations.

The forum focused on the role of private sector in regional development and called for taking further steps to designate areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan for setting up of industrial zones. Technical missions would be sent to make pre-feasibility studies for these zones.

The three sides also agreed on focussing on concrete projects to connect local economic activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan to each other and also to regional and global value chains. In this regard the TOBB University of Economics and Technology will also establish an Economic Development Institute.

The Forum also stressed the importance of infrastructure and capacity building needs for the successful implementation of the future projects including power plant with transmission lines to both countries.

The Istanbul Forum also decided to hold its fourth meeting in Islamabad at a date to be determined later.