Forum offers new prospects for SCO local cooperation

By Zhang Liying
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, May 25, 2019
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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Qingdao Forum on Local Economic & Trade Cooperation opens in Jiaozhou, a county-level city administrated by Qingdao of East China's Shandong province on May 24, 2019. [Photo by Chen Boyuan/ China Chamber of International Commerce]

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Qingdao Forum on Local Economic & Trade Cooperation opened on Friday in Jiaozhou, a county-level city under Qingdao of East China's Shandong province on Friday.

The two-day event, which includes thematic seminars, business talks and field visits, aims to consolidate the outcomes of the SCO 2018 Summit held last June in Qingdao, and further promote economic and trade cooperation among member countries.

With the theme of "Consultation, Cooperation and Benefit for All - Creating New Prospects for SCO Local Economic & Trade Cooperation," the forum drew more than 390 government officials, business leaders and academics from all the 18 countries within the SCO framework.

They discussed key issues including energy cooperation, development of regional financial centers and trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Wang Kaixuan, deputy director of the Eurasian Affairs Department at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, said that, after 18 years of development, the SCO provided a shining example of regional economic cooperation with mutual benefits.

Wang said cooperation at the local level had become a new direction for future SCO economic and trade cooperation, and member countries were now negotiating an outline development plan in this regard.

At the SCO 2018 Summit, China supported the opening of a demonstration area in Qingdao for China-SCO local economic and trade cooperation.

Located in Jiaozhou, the core area of the demonstration area covers 61.1 square kilometers. Mayor Bi Weizhun said seven projects were currently under construction and another 13 were planned, with investment of 6.8 billion yuan and 10.57 billion yuan respectively.

Bi said a financial service center was already providing professional financial support for bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and a total of 10 organizations, including China Development Bank were currently operation under its auspices.

A committee of legal services and an international arbitration center had also been established to create a law-based business environment, Bi added.

Wang Kaixuan said the demonstration area could act as an important logistics hub connecting the SCO and the wider Asia-Pacific market, as it provides convenient land, water and air transportation, with effective links to the Port of Qingdao, the Qingdao Liuting International Airport and the CRIntermodal Qingdao center.

Vladimir Norov, secretary general of the SCO Secretariat, said that, although the SCO had already developed into a united and well-established organization with global influence, there was still great potential for expansion, especially on the economic front.

Norov noted that SCO national leaders had called for enhanced cooperation on innovation and advanced technologies, and emphasized the importance of transport development at last year's summit.

He said the demonstration area offered a good platform for deepening cooperation, adding: "It can collaborate with other SCO industrial parks and demonstration areas to promote the development of new overseas economic and trade cooperation zones, as well as large-scale international transport and logistics corridors."

An effective mechanism was needed to this end, and the SCO Secretariat was ready to make due contributions.

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