Some US$2 billion worth of business contracts and loan agreements are expected to be inked on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit scheduled on Thursday in the Chinese economic hub of Shanghai.
Those deals will involve a highway project connecting Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, two high-voltage electricity lines in Tajikistan, a cement plant in Kyrgyzstan with a daily production of 2,500 tons, and a hydropower station in Kazakhstan.
"The projects are significant for the economic development of the region and related countries," Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Yu Guangzhou told a press briefing Tuesday.
He described the deals as "big presents" for the June 15 SCO summit, which will involve the heads of state of China, Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
China hopes to further expand trade with SCO members, Yu said. "With increasing exports and imports of natural resources, we should pay more attention to speeding up the trade of machinery and electronic products, high-tech goods and well-known brand products."
Trade between China and the other five SCO members hit US$37 billion in 2005, up 212 percent over that of 2001 when the SCO was founded, Chinese customs figures show.
Up to now, investment between SCO members surged to US$15 billion, covering oil and gas exploration, transportation, telecommunication, electricity, chemical industry, construction material, project contract and agriculture.
According to an action plan adopted by a meeting of SCO government heads in 2004, the six member countries will join hands in 127 economic and technological projects, which will require US$10 billion on the whole.
Besides the resolve and effort of the governments, substantial cooperation between companies in SCO member countries is also very important. To boost such cooperation, the SCO will host an industry and business forum and announce the official establishment of an entrepreneurs council on the sidelines of the summit.
Some 500 business people, government officials and scholars have registered for the forum and the council's first meeting. Topics will focus on trade and investment facilitation, cooperation in bidding projects in major sectors such as energy, transportation and telecommunication and regional funding system.
In fact, the SCO has instituted a road-map for regional economic cooperation which includes "three leaps": to facilitate trade and investment, to deepen economic cooperation and to realize the free flow of goods, capital, services and technology.
"When joint cooperation is carried out and all the projects are implemented, we will forge a network of energy, transportation and telecommunication in the region, which will boost our economic ties and benefit the growth of the organization," Yu said.
(Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2006)