On 15 November 2017, Moscow, Russia hosted the 16th meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) ministers responsible for foreign economic and foreign trade activities (hereinafter referred to as the Meeting).
The Meeting was attended by Minister of Commerce and Industry of India Shri Suresh Prabhu, Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan Timur Suleimenov, Assistant Minister of Commerce of China Li Chenggang, Deputy Economic Minister of Kyrgyzstan Almaz Sazbakov, Minister of Economic Development of Russia Maxim Oreshkin, Federal Minister for Commerce and Textile Industry of Pakistan Mohammad Pervaiz Malik, Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan Nematullo Khikmatullozoda, Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan Sahib Saifnazarov.
Other participants were SCO Deputy Secretary-General Aziz Nosirov, Executive Secretary of the SCO Business Council Sergei Kanavsky and Chairman of the Council of the SCO Interbank Consortium Bolat Zhamishev.
Representatives of the SCO observer states, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia were also at the Meeting that was chaired by Minister of Economic Development of Russia Maxim Oreshkin.
During the Meeting, which passed off in a constructive and friendly atmosphere, the participants discussed a broad range of topics related to the further development of regional economic cooperation and also exchanged opinions on the current state and prospects for trade, economic and investment cooperation in the SCO region.
The delegation heads took note of the draft Report of the SCO Secretariat on the implementation of the Programme of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation and recommended that it be submitted in accordance with the accepted procedure for consideration of the next meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government (prime ministers), which will be held in Sochi, Russia between 30 November and 1 December 2017.
The participants also took note of Russia's information regarding the establishment of a forum of regional governors from the SCO member states.
The delegation heads recommended that the draft Memorandum on Mutual Understanding to stimulate cooperation in the field of small and medium-sized business between the SCO member states' ministries responsible for foreign economic as well as foreign trade activities be coordinated/reviewed.
The participants listened to a report by the SCO Secretariat on the activities of special working groups at the Meeting of the SCO ministers. They recommended that the special working groups intensify their efforts to implement the SCO's policy documents and plans on economic subjects.
Representatives from the SCO Business Council and Interbank Consortium reported on their performance between 2016-2017 and their priorities for 2018.
The delegation heads welcomed India and Pakistan, which have joined the SCO's practical economic activities, in particular the implementation of the related policy documents as well as plans.
The participants have confirmed the importance of joining forces to maintain and strengthen the multilateral trading system based on the standards and principles of the World Trade Organisation while focusing on development. They decided to continue acting together to stand up against the global challenges facing the multilateral trade system and to fight protectionism.
They listened to China's report on preparations for the 2018 SCO Summit that are ongoing in trade and the economic sphere. The delegation heads pointed out the importance of promoting cooperation between the SCO member states in e-commerce, trade in services, as well as trade facilitation together with the further development of cooperation between research and analysis centres on economic topics. They also highlighted the need to consider the forms and prospects of cooperation in the above spheres.
The next Meeting of SCO ministers will be held in Tajikistan in 2018. The timeframe and venue will be coordinated additionally through the SCO Secretariat.
The delegation heads signed a protocol following the Meeting.