Trade and finance ministers from the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization met for talks in Beijing on Wednesday. A key point that emerged was to build even stronger regional ties, particularly in the context of current turbulence on world markets.
This year's meeting was chaired by Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming. It discussed the implementation plans for the multilateral trade cooperation scheme. SCO member states have agreed to give preference to their cooperation in sectors, like transportation, telecom and agriculture.
For the first time, the annual meeting invited its observer states and neighboring countries, including India, Mongolia and Pakistan.
Che n Deming said, "The meeting is a good start. The attendance of observer states and neighboring countries will help enlarge the scale of regional economic cooperation among SCO members. It will also help increase the SCO's influence around the world."
Chen Deming said given the current situation, regional cooperation is critical and has potential for further development. He added that the SCO commerce ministers' meeting will further the participation of observer states and neighboring countries.
Chen Deming stressed that although China has felt the impact from the world financial turmoil, the country will maintain its stable and rapid growth in the third and fourth quarters of this year.
Chen said, "China has a huge population and domestic market. Given the increasing uncertainties in the global market, China will speed up its stimulation of domestic consumption. This will also contribute to the overall stability of the world economy."
Chen Deming is also urging India and Russia, which also have huge consumer markets, to work on increasing their domestic consumption. He said it will have a positive impact on the development of the world economy.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a regional group consisting of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The commerce and trade ministers' meeting is held by turns by its member states.
The next session will be held in Kyrgyzstan in 2009.
(CCTV September 26, 2008)