EXEMPLARY PROJECT: The road linking Tajikstan and Urumqi in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is built by the China Road and Bridge Corp. (CRBC)
It was also in 2005 that China and Tajikistan opened the Karasu-Kulma border crossing. The border crossing only opened for 90 days during 2005, with a small freight volume of $2 million. In 2008, the freight volume at the border crossing reached $1.02 billion. Now the border crossing is not only a window for trade, but also a gate that opens the two countries to each other. It will become a 24-hour international border crossing according to a new agreement signed in December 2011.
Increasing our exports to China is a high priority for Tajikistan. My country is trying to improve our export structure to China. Now we export about 100 kinds of products to China, mainly aluminum, cotton, precious metals and metal products. China exports about 2,000 kinds of products to Tajikistan. The gap is due to differences in the two countries' economic structures. But I believe complementary cooperation between us is more important.
Tajikistan hopes the two countries can improve cooperation in the fields such as agriculture as well as metal and mining industries. In addition, Tajikistan has ample water resources, and we are accelerating our hydropower plant construction right now. If Tajikistan and China can make joint efforts, it is possible that Tajikistan can export electricity to China's western regions, especially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in the future.
China has been making great efforts to develop its western regions. How does this strategy strengthen cooperation between China and Tajikistan?
China's western region development strategy is playing a decisive role in strengthening cooperation. Tajikistan is interested in enhancing its cooperation with China's Xinjiang because the two sides share the same border.
The strategy is in accord with Tajikistan's policy of economic development. In June 2010, President Rahmon visited Xinjiang. The Tajik Government and the Chinese Government signed a special agreement on working together in Xinjiang during the visit. Leaders from Tajikistan and Xinjiang now exchange visits on a regular basis.
China's western region development strategy pushes Xinjiang onto rapid development, while Xinjiang's development encourages the development of Tajikistan's east areas. Therefore, Tajikistan welcomes this strategy.
Tajikistan is one of the founding members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). What is your opinion about the SCO's role in the region?
In June 2011, the SCO held a grand celebration in Astana, Kazakhstan, for the 10th anniversary of its founding. Member states summed up the SCO's activities during the past decades, and mapped out plans for its future development during the celebration.
The SCO's development strategy focuses on strengthening cooperation on economic development and security. Tajikistan believes the SCO is the most influential and most efficient organization in the region. Tajikistan gives high credit to regional cooperation under the SCO framework.
We hope the SCO will improve cooperation among its member states in the next 10 years. We also hope SCO members' economies rapidly develop during this period. There is no doubt that the SCO will try its best to realize development and prosperity in the whole region.
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