Business / Economy

SCO pledges 5-year plan for economic growth

By Zhong Nan (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-17 07:59

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian political, economic and military grouping, pledged on Wednesday to initiate a five-year cooperation plan to put regional economic growth on a firmer footing, amid the toughening global business climate.

Delegates from its 16 member states, observer countries and dialogue partners attended the 14th session of the Economic and Trade Ministers' Meeting of SCO in Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province, and approved the drafting of the "List of Measures by the SCO to Further Promote Project Cooperation 2017-2021".

Worth a total of $100 billion, said officials, the list will involve more than 100 major projects in 10 main sectors including energy, infrastructure and telecommunications.

Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said China is ready to use financing platforms such as Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund to meet the investment needs of SCO member states.

"We will give priority to investment cooperation on major infrastructure projects, resource development, and industrial and financial cooperation in accordance with the list," said Gao.

The SCO is an inter-governmental organization founded in Shanghai in 2001 by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Together with observer countries such as Pakistan, India and Iran and dialogue partners including Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nepal, its members had a combined population of 3.3 billion and gross domestic product worth $15.5 trillion in 2014, representing 20 percent of the global GDP.

China's trade with other SCO member states surged from $14.23 billion in 2002 to $130 billion last year. The country has proposed a series of strategic concepts in that time, most recently the Belt and Road Initiative-a trade and infrastructure network that includes the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The network connects Asia, Europe and Africa and passes through more than 60 countries and regions with a population of about 4.4 billion.

Six SCO member states and the six observer nations are along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.

The SCO has targeted 2020 as a crucial target for the free flow of goods, services, technology and capital among member nations.

To avoid unexpected risks caused by the global financial market, Gao said companies within the region are encouraged to use their own currency to seal deals, and build e-commerce platforms to save on both operating and trading costs, as well as carry out closer cooperation between customs authorities to simplify clearance procedures.

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