The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) have agreed to boost their cooperation the areas of mutual interest such as trade, investment and tourism.

The agreement was reached after the September 26 Ministerial Meeting, co-hosted by both sides in New York , on the sidelines of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

During the meeting, the two organisations updated each other with recent developments in their respective regions, reviewed the status of their bilateral cooperation, and exchanged views on the future direction of the ASEAN-ECO relations.

They also reviewed the Work Programme to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Secretariats of ASEAN and ECO, which was signed in 2006.

Recognising the key role of the private sector in promoting inter-regional trade and investment, the meeting emphasised the need to better facilitate interactions among the private sectors and businesses from the two regions.

It also called the decision of the 12th ASEAN-ECO Joint Ministerial Meeting held in September 2011 in New York to undertake more concrete actions to host the ASEAN-ECO Business Forum and the ASEAN-ECO Tourism Forum in the 2013-2014 period.

In recognition of the increasing interactions and collaboration between the Secretariats of ASEAN and ECO in recent years, the meeting encouraged the two sides’ regular exchanges of information, experience and expertise to further cement their cooperation.-VNA