Kazakh PM Calls for Strengthening Economic Ties amongst SCO Members

Nov 08. MFA

Kazakh PM Calls for Strengthening Economic Ties amongst SCO MembersThe Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) should become a solid platform for strengthening the economic cooperation and minimizing the consequences of the global financial crisis, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov said at the meeting of heads of government of the six SCO states held in St. Petersburg, Russia on November 7.

Over the ten years of its existence, the SCO had become an important mechanism for elaborating and implementing the strategically important tasks in the sphere of economic and humanitarian interaction, Massimov said at the meeting also attended by his counterparts and senior government officials from Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

“Looking back, we can say that we have achieved the desired results such as the increase in trade turnover, the expansion of economic integration, the strengthening of regional security, the creation of legal base, and the adoption of anti-crisis measures,” the Prime Minister noted.

He emphasized the importance of discussing the economic issues within the SCO against the background of significant slowdown of economic growth and worsening of the financial situation in the USA and Europe, and called upon SCO member states to use the group as “a solid platform” for strengthening the mutual interaction and coordinating the efforts in trade and economic sphere.

To this end, Massimov put forward an initiative “to foster economic cooperation through the establishment of an Interstate Reserve Bank or Fund for minimizing the risks within the SCO”. This measure, according to the head of the Kazakh government, will contribute to the effective use of financial resources in expanding trade and economic relations and will also serve as a reserve capital in case of worsening situation of the world economy.

He also called for greater interaction of the SCO member states’ economy ministries and central banks in order to minimize the consequences of a possible second wave of the global economic crisis through regular consultations which would ensure adequate response and development of concerted anti-crisis measures.

During a closed-door meeting, the prime ministers discussed the prospects of further improvement of the Organization’s activity and practical measures to promote cooperation in trade and financial, scientific and technical, agricultural and humanitarian spheres.

The heads of government appreciated the progress made by the SCO over the 10 years since its establishment in the trade and economic sphere, including the construction of infrastructure projects, holding industrial business forums, enhancement of cooperation between companies with the support of the Business Council of member states and the Interbank Association.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed to establish a SCO special account to finance feasibility studies of projects implemented within the organization.

He also added that Russia supports the idea of setting up an Energy Club, which would include members and partners of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

“We now need to work quickly through the organisational phase and agree on a specific action plan,” Putin noted. The decision to establish the Energy Club was made during a recent summit in Moscow.

According to Massimov, co-operation in agriculture within the SCO is also an important issue and of interest. For that purpose, he proposed to convene a meeting of the SCO ministers of agriculture in the first half of 2012 in Astana.

He also suggested holding in Astana the second meeting of ministers of science with the aim of further developing the interaction in the spheres of high technology, strengthening scientific, and technical cooperation.

Voicing the support for intensification of cooperation in the financial and economic spheres at the high level, Chinese State Council Premier Wen Jiabao expressed Beijing’s readiness to share its experience in economic development with other member states.

The meeting participants were unanimous in noting the rising international status of the organization and its potential for further development.

The joint expanded session of the SCO Council of heads of government also brought in the heads of government delegations of observing countries India, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

At end of the meetings, a number of documents were signed, including the report of the SCO Secretariat on the Programme for Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation of the SCO member states, the SCO budget for 2012, a Joint Communiqu? of the meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government, and the list of measures for further developing project activities within the SCO.