Between 24-26 May 2018, SCO Secretary General Rashid Alimov is attending events at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) 2018.
The programme of the Forum's first day opened with a panel session dealing with matters of intra-SCO trade and economic cooperation. About 200 representatives from business circles from many countries were involved in a detailed discussion The Next Stage of the SCO Business Agenda.
In his speech, Mr. Alimov drew attention to the fact that the "SCO is now the world's largest universal trans-regional organisation. Advanced production clusters, including high-tech and science-intensive facilities, are located in the SCO region which has all types of mineral deposits for organising any type of production cycles." He also added that "the economic interdependence of SCO member-states is determined by their proximity and intra-SCO agreements, accords and joint regional economic development programmes."
"Today, the SCO region is quite attractive and promising in the context of implementing business projects and new ideas. It is marked by stability, dynamic development as well as constantly emerging new opportunities," Mr. Alimov noted and mentioned some statistics to prove his point. In late 2016, SCO countries' GDP grew by an average of 4.84 percent or almost twice as fast as the global GDP. Indicatively, SCO member-states accounted for 11 percent of all direct foreign investment throughout 2016, Mr. Alimov noted. During that period, over 587,000 new companies were registered in the SCO region. Mr. Alimov also noted that this did not include Chinese statistics, due to be submitted shortly.
Rashid Alimov particularly noted the cultural and humanitarian aspect which "is becoming an increasingly profitable and, therefore, increasingly attractive area across the SCO. For example, according to the World Tourism Organisation, more than 200 million foreign tourists visited SCO countries in 2016, and the tourism revenue accounted for almost 8 percent in the total export, or around $281 billion."
Therefore, the Secretary-General concluded, "the SCO region is currently very appealing in terms of business projects as well as new ideas. It is characterised as stable, dynamic and constantly offering new opportunities."
Sergei Katyrin, President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, moderated the session. The discussion also involved Shamshad Akhtar, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNESCAP Executive Secretary; Governor of the Chelyabinsk Region Boris Dubrovsky; Yu Jianlong, Secretary General of the China Chamber of International Commerce; Vladimir Ulahovich, Chairman of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Syed Mazhar Ali Nasir, Senior Vice President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Daniil Algulyan, Senior Vice President of the State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank).
The St Petersburg International Economic Forum is an annual business event focusing on the economy. Held in St Petersburg since 1997, it has been supported and attended by the Russian President. The organisers estimate that the 2018 SPIEF will have the largest ever attendance as the number of registered participants has now exceeded 15,000 people from 140 countries. The forum's key audience includes top managers from major Russian and foreign companies, heads of state and government, diplomats, political leaders, deputy prime ministers, ministers and governors.