World Economy

SCO Expanding Partnership

SCO Expanding Partnership SCO Expanding Partnership

Prime ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states vowed Tuesday to deepen regional economic cooperation within frameworks including the Belt and Road Initiative.

Cooperation will help SCO members improve partnership, increase investment, expand consumer markets and improve employment, guaranteeing development for all, according to a statement issued by the SCO after a meeting of prime ministers concluded in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, Xinhua reported.

Economic and trade cooperation will focus on infrastructure and investment in production capacity, said the statement.

Prime ministers reiterated their support to the Belt and Road Initiative, which they believe will help reinvigorate their economy and safeguard regional peace. They agreed to expand cooperation in developing high-speed railways and forming an international transportation corridor.

They also considered establishing economic cooperation zones and increasing exchanges between enterprises to better use technology and increase employment opportunities.

The prime ministers agreed to optimize trade structure, expand service trade and strengthen e-commerce cooperation. They will also boost cooperation in medical care, education and energy.

The statement stressed financial cooperation to improve project funding and guard against regional financial risk.

A joint communique signed by heads of government of the six SCO members was also released after the meeting.

According to the communique, the prime ministers vowed to strengthen cooperation in renewable energy and environmental protection in a bid to reduce energy consumption and curb greenhouse gas emissions.

They suggested the SCO expand cooperation with observers, dialogue partners and other international groups.

They approved the SCO 2016 budget and decided to convene the 2016 prime ministers’ meeting in Kyrgyzstan.

The SCO currently has six member states: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are observers and Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners in the organization.

 Fighting Terror

India and Pakistan struck a rare united stand to forge collective action to curb terrorism at the SCO meeting where New Delhi also called on Islamabad to end cross border terrorism and external interference in Afghanistan.

“Many of the problems confronting our region, especially the rising tide of cross-border terrorism and extremism, require trans-national solutions,” Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V. K. Singh said while speaking at the SCO heads of government meeting.

“International terrorism has emerged as the most serious threat to our peaceful and pluralistic societies. Terrorism threatens to derail our developmental aspirations and undermine our very way of life,” Singh said as he sought close cooperation among SCO member states and zero tolerance towards terrorism to curb the menace.

Singh said the SCO decision at the July summit in Ufa to admit India as a member reflects the desire of member states to significantly widen the scope of the organization.

 Broader Framework

“India’s membership will create a broader framework for SCO that brings together, for the first time in history, countries of Central, East and South Asia as well as Russia, into a Eurasian regional cooperation entity,” he said.

He also said fast growing India has offered enormous opportunities for SCO’s economic and developmental agenda.

“India’s fast growing market provides an immense economic opportunity, especially for the relatively smaller economies of Central Asia. India’s energy requirements can be met by new and more ambitious energy projects within the SCO bringing on board the interests of energy exporting, transit and importing nations,” he said.

“On its part, India can bring to the region its strengths in financial management, especially micro-finance, pharmaceuticals, services such as IT and healthcare, as well as capacity building,” he said.

“The SCO should create a facilitating environment for trade and investment. We should bring down barriers to trade and enhance links between our businesses, especially our small and medium enterprises. We can also work together on issues of food security and agriculture,” he said.