SCO Huge Economic Prospects Bishkek Summit to accelerate trade, economic cooperation among members

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is already the world’s largest regional organisation in terms of population and economic potential. Its recent expansion following the accession of India and Pakistan may strengthen the organisation’s position in world politics. SCO is strengthening its position and is recognized as one of the most respected organizations in the world. The prospects of cooperation among the members are seen as very deep with far-reaching plans for close cooperation. Strengthening the authority of this organization will depend on the effectiveness of cooperation in all vectors of mutually beneficial cooperation. Modern realities have changed a lot, and political trends have changed. The so-called center of gravity of political weight is changing. Now it is more important than ever to strengthen close ties and strengthen integration processes.

The SCO was founded as a permanent intergovernmental international organisation, which currently includes eight countries: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. There are four observer states, six dialogue partners, and four guest attendances. The Declaration on the creation of the SCO was signed by the initial six members in Shanghai on 15 June 2001.

In 2010, China put forward the idea of establishing an SCO bank. If the SCO sets up its own Development and Investment Bank, it will help members of organisation meet their countries’ funding needs. According to Liu Huaqin, Director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under China’s Ministry of Commerce SCO member states have reached basic consensuses in setting up the bank, like what the BRICS did. The only difference now is on its operation model and they will ultimately clinch an agreement.

During a meeting of the regional security bloc of the SCO, Xi announced that China would offer the equivalent of 30 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) in loans under a framework of the Inter-Bank Consortium of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Some of the initial steps took place at the Davos Forum in 2017 and continued with Boao Forum for Asia 2018. In addition to the economic factor, Xi laid the theoretical foundation for cooperation and promoted the ideas of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for humanity.

Following the SCO Summit 2018, the heads of state adopted the Qingdao Declaration. Special attention was paid to economic cooperation between the SCO countries in the declaration. The countries plan to examine the prospects of expanding the use of national currency in trade and investment activities. The SCO summit participants also signed a memorandum agreeing to mutual understanding to promote cooperation in the field of micro, small, and medium-sized businesses. The members of the organisation also intend to develop cooperation in the field of tourism.
All members of the SCO agreed to turn theoretical strategies into action. Xi Jinping noted the strength of unity and mutual trust amongst member states, respecting each other’s chosen paths of development and accommodating each other’s core interests and major concerns. He stressed that collaboration and discussion are the key points in the development of the SCO’s economic component, which has become more vital.

Since the establishment of the SCO, member states have realized comprehensive development in politics, security, economy, people-to-people exchanges, foreign affairs and institutional construction. The SCO member states enjoy closer trade ties, China’s total trade volume with other members rose to $217.6 billion in 2017; 19 percent surge from the previous year. In the first quarter of 2018, trade continued to maintain good momentum with an increase of 20.7 percent. The structure of China’s trade with other SCO member states has been optimized step by step to include a growing proportion of mechanical and electrical products as well as mechanical equipment.

Development of the SCO has also brought fruitful investment and contracting projects, according to the spokesman. By the end of this March, Chinese investment to SCO member countries amounted to approximately $84 billion, with sound progress in large-scale energy, mineral and industrial projects. The turnover of China’s contracting projects in other SCO member states has amounted to $156.9 billion, and a number of highways, power stations, and pipeline projects have become demonstration projects.

Positive progress has been made in interconnection and interoperability, such as the completion of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan road, the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline, the construction of the China-Kazakhstan and China-Russia crude oil pipelines, and the regular and efficient operation of the China-Europe freight train routes. The SCO has initially formed a complex infrastructure network including roads, railways, oil and gas, and communications within the SCO region, further strengthening ties among member states.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a major development opportunity for SCO’s member countries and has broad prospects. The SCO will promote positive docking of the initiative and development strategies of the member countries for common prosperity. The SCO is successful in consideration of its wide coverage, large population, economic volume of its member countries, and various mechanisms and platforms it has built. If the SCO continues consolidate and strengthen the achievements and goals, it will sure to achieve important results at this summit. The Shanghai Spirit and the philosophy of the Belt and Road Initiative are highly consistent with each other. In the future, the SCO will play an increasingly important role in promoting regional economic cooperation, economic globalization and peaceful development of the world.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit 2019 will be held in Kyrgyzstan, is going to be a landmark event in the political life of the country. Kyrgyzstan sees great prospects for the development of the SCO in the geopolitical space of the world in general, and in Central Asia in particular. Kyrgyzstan considers the SCO as a platform for establishing mutual trust relations and developing cooperation. The authority of the SCO is strengthening and growing every year. The basis of the Organization is the unity of the member states, trusting partnership and mutual respect.

At the moment, preparations for such a significant event are in full swing. Some activities have already been held in the relevant ministries and departments, such as meetings of the Ministries of Justice, heads of the Accounting Chambers, heads of border services, ministers of agriculture of the SCO member states, the Council of Regional Anti-Terrorism Cooperation.
Not less important events are expected, namely, the meeting of the Security Council Secretaries, the Council of Foreign Ministers, the Council of Ministers of Defense, as well as cultural and humanitarian events, including the SCO Media Summit, an art exhibition, the International Marathon, the SCO Business Forum. The main event, the Council of Heads of the SCO member states, is scheduled for June 14-15.

President Sooronbay Jeenbekov stresses that 2019 will be held under the auspices of the SCO and that all planned activities within the framework of the Summit are an important event for Kyrgyzstan. The head of state note that special attention must be paid to strengthening the authority of the SCO in the international arena, strengthening cooperation in the fight against terrorism, extremism, illicit drug trafficking, deepening political, trade, economic, cultural, humanitarian and investment cooperation.

One more significant event was the recent meeting of Sooronbay Jeenbekov with Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Vladimir Norov. The meeting of Jeenbekov and Norov was fruitful. They discussed many vital topics. In particular, the political issues, security, cultural and humanitarian relations and the possibility of enhancing the economic potential within the framework of the SCO were discussed. Kyrgyzstan sets one of priorities as fruitful participation in the SCO. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization for the Kyrgyz Republic is seen as a promising and reliable development platform on many interaction vectors.

Where, the president noted that over the 18 years of activity, the Organization has taken a worthy place among authoritative international organizations and has become an important factor in ensuring security and sustainable development of interstate relations. Before the summit of the heads of the SCO member states, which is held in June 2019 in Bishkek, we will hold all the relevant events, get ready to receive distinguished guests.

Today, final documents are being worked out, which are planned to be signed at a meeting of the heads of the SCO member states. I am confident that by joint efforts we will be able to qualitatively fill the substantive part of the meeting and achieve great success for the sake of prosperity of the peoples of the SCO member states and will hold this event at a high level.
Vladimir Norov notes the symbolism of the fact that his first visit as Secretary General took place precisely to Kyrgyzstan, a country that is presiding over the SCO this year. Since taking office I have identified for myself as the main priority the holding of the SCO summit at the highest level, as well as related activities within its framework.

We had fruitful meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of the Security Council of Kyrgyzstan, the head of the Youth Council and the Business Council of the SCO. At these meetings, we discussed in detail all the issues that need to be resolved before the summit. First of all, it is a package of documents that need to be prepared.

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev stresses on the participating countries have the necessary potential, and we are determined to successfully address the most pressing issues in all areas of cooperation. Abylgaziev stresses that the issues and problems that are raised at each meeting of the Organization are always relevant and require the adoption of effective decisions and measures to develop trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation between the SCO member states. Kyrgyzstan has repeatedly proved its ability and capability to hold large forums at the highest level, whether political, sports, or cultural. Therefore, there is no doubt that this time all the planned activities will take place without any problems.

About Amna Malik 40 Articles
Author is the President, Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) and Editor-in-Chief of ‘Mélange int’l Magazine’ and ‘ The Asian Telegraph’.