Stronger economic cooperation among member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will play a more important role in promoting the multinational grouping's future development, officials and experts attending the SCO business forum said in Beijing on Wednesday.
In fact, regional economic cooperation has been increasing rapidly since the six member countries signed a document to promote their trade ties.
According to data from China's Ministry of Commerce, total trade volume of the SCO member states reached $4.65 trillion in 2011, an increase of 25.1 percent year-on-year.
China's trade with other SCO member states rose from $12.1 billion in 2001 to $113.4 billion in 2011. China has become Russia's largest trading partner and second largest of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, said the same source.
Statistics released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showed that the total GDP volume of all the six SCO members reached $9.39 trillion last year despite the impact of the global financial crisis, while in 2001, the figure was $1.67 trillion in 2001 when the SCO was established.
Minister of Commerce Cheng Deming said in his article published on Wednesday that an infrastructure network connecting regional energy, transportation, telecommunications was in the making and financial cooperation has been taking shape.
The SCO banks consortium, established in October, 2005, urged its members on Tuesday to implement social responsibility and contribute to sustainable economic and social development of its member states.
Chairman of China Development Bank (CDB) Chen Yuan told a press conference on the sidelines of the SCO summit on Wednesday that the CDB's loans within the SCO focus on energy, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, and trade.
He also said all member banks of the consortium agree that they would continue their support for the real economy, and at the same time they would stress modern service industry, high-end equipment manufacturing, agriculture, and finances for small and medium-size firms.
Sun Zhuangzhi, a researcher from Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the SCO members have become even more aware of the importance of regional economic cooperation because of the financial crisis. Economic cooperation, the foundation for multilateral cooperation within the SCO, will not only help promote the region's competitiveness, but also to face the challenges together.
However, efforts to deepen economic cooperation across the region still face a series of obstacles because the SCO members have different development levels and plans.
Liu Huaqin, a researcher with Ministry of Commerce, said these differences would make policy coordination among SCO members rather difficult.
But she also said that as most of the SCO members' economies were growing at a rapid pace, and their industries closely complemented each other, and there are large quantities of chances for cooperation in such areas as finance, manufacturing, tourism and infrastructure, as well as in the non-resources sector, adding that regional economic cooperation has a very bright future.
(CNTV.cn, Xinhua News Agency June 6, 2012)