President Dr Arif Alvi, here on Thursday, underscored the need to further build on transport and communication infrastructure in the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) region to facilitate trade and investment. While talking to ECO Secretary General, Dr Hadi Soleimanpour, he called attention to the great potential and capacity that the region held to connect both North to South, and Europe to Asia. Dr Alvi stressed that Pakistan believed in a robust implementation of ECO Trade Agreements to help minimise barriers to trade, which would ultimately lead to a Free Trade Area, as enshrined in the ECO Vision 2025. He claimed that for this purpose, Pakistan was upgrading its rail and road infrastructure to facilitate smooth passage of goods to its neighbours while galvanising trade opportunities within the region. The President said that Pakistan would continue to contribute to ECO’s projects regarding the provision of assistance to Afghanistan, further adding that it was, presently, the highest donor to ECO’s efforts to reconstruct Afghanistan. The ECO secretary general asserted that Pakistan had always been an active member of the block and was a cornerstone of peace and cooperation in the region. He further maintained that there remained a huge potential for eco-tourism in Pakistan, which could be a significant attraction for international tourists. Published in Daily Times, March 15th 2019.