On 24 June 2020, at the initiative of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov met with AIIB President Jin Liqun in Beijing.
The officials focused on the coronavirus pandemic and response measures taken in the world. They noted the importance of restoring and strengthening the global economy and trade, as well as building up coordinated actions of countries in the transport, customs, phytosanitary, and other areas in order to ensure security in the region.
"COVID-19 disrupted our work schedule and daily routine. The pandemic affected the dynamics of world trade and interbank relations. In this difficult time, the SCO countries continue to support one another. Since the first days of the epidemic, the leaders of our states expressed strong support for and solidarity with China's efforts to combat the virus and sent humanitarian aid to the country. Special campaigns were held to support residents of Wuhan and all Chinese people. In turn, the SCO countries were grateful for the help of Chinese doctors and humanitarian supplies of medical and protective equipment," the SCO Secretary-General said.
Emphasising the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for national economies, Vladimir Norov drew his counterpart's attention to the importance of consolidating the efforts of all countries and international organisations in order to respond to the global economic downturn.
In this context, the SCO Secretary-General said that the SCO member states are working on measures to restore the economy and prevent the food crisis and to create a special "green corridor" mechanism for transit freight traffic.
"In general, transport, energy, e-commerce, information and communication technologies, tourism, agriculture, as well as the banking and financial sector, with the prospect of expanding the use of national currencies in trade and investment activities, continue to be the SCO's key priorities," Mr Norov noted.
Speaking about the banking and financial sector and the prospects for creating a financial mechanism within the SCO, including the establishment of the SCO Development Bank and the SCO Development Fund (Special Account), the Secretary-General emphasised the activities of the SCO Interbank Consortium as one of the effective tools for financial and investment interaction.
He stressed that the Interbank Consortium is able to not only respond to the consequences of the pandemic and the global financial crisis but also to optimise the financial resources of the SCO countries and strengthen internal financial cooperation and investment activity between the states. The SCO is a space rich in mineral and energy reserves, with advanced production facilities and technologies, as well as a huge consumer market with highly qualified human resources. The total foreign trade of the SCO member states with other countries exceeded $6.3 trillion in 2019.
In this regard, the SCO Secretary-General invited the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to consider the possibility of cooperation with the SCO Interbank Consortium as a partner bank.
In turn, Jin Liqun praised the current activities of the SCO and informed the Secretary-General about the priority areas of the AIIB's work, including infrastructure projects focusing on energy, transport and agriculture implemented in the SCO countries.
The AIIB President expressed interest in the activities of the SCO Interbank Consortium and the prospects for possible interaction, as well as in enhancing contacts with the SCO Secretariat.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was established on 25 December 2015. Its activities are aimed at developing infrastructure and manufacturing sectors in the Asian region, including energy, transport, telecommunications, agriculture, water supply and environmental protection. At present, 93 countries are members of the AIIB.