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SCO member states embrace closer economic cooperation

Author  :  YAN YONG     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2019-07-01

From June 13 to 14, the 19th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The SCO has increasingly become a driving force that has proactively participated in global governance and promoted regional cooperation.

Data released by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China indicated that, as of the end of April 2019, China’s total investment in SCO member states exceeded $87 billion. Several large-scale projects in the fields of energy, minerals and industrial manufacturing have been implemented smoothly. China’s cumulative contract amount for investment in SCO member states is approaching $237.8 billion, with many leading projects including highways, electric transmission and distribution circuits, and oil and gas pipelines.

Lidiya Parkhomchik, a research fellow from the Institute of World Economics and Politics of Kazakhstan, put forward that the Eurasia’s need to promote connectivity and integrated development has led to a combining of the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union. SCO member states should seize the opportunities brought about by these multilateral cooperative platforms.

Kazakhstani experts noted that Chinese investments in Central Asia within the framework of the B&R initiative are very high. In recent years, the volume of exports of Kazakhstani products to China has increased. China has also become a focal point in terms of education.

According to the statistical data released by the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation, from January to April 2019, Russia-China trade volume increased 4.1% year-on-year, reaching $33.52 billion. Russia export volume to China reached $17.34 billion (4.2% growth year-on-year), and import volume amounted to $16.14 billion (4.1% growth). In the first four months of 2019, the proportion of Russia-China trade volume in Russia’s total foreign trade volume increased to 15.7%, up from 15% last year. The volume of cargo traffic between Russia and China is slated to increase 20%, said Oleg Belozerov, head of Russian Railways. Rail transport is a gauge of the intensity of trade relations between countries. Belozerov added that, currently, cooperation in the field of transportation has been established with 34 Chinese cities. In the near future, this figure will increase to 50. In order to raise the efficiency of cargo transportation, Russian Railways reduced prices and increased the speed of delivery. From a number of Chinese provinces, cargo can be delivered to Europe today in just 6 days, while by sea the delivery time is 2 months. Last year, the two countries managed to create a single electronic invoice system, improving the flow of documents.

It is likely that the economic cooperation among SCO member states will draw ever closer. This cooperation will not only aid the economic development of SCO members and benefit their citizens, it will also help protect the free trade system.

 

(Edited by Su Xuan)

Editor: Yu Hui

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