On 26 April 2021, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov delivered a speech at the opening of the SCO International Investment and Trade Expo and SCO Qingdao Forum on Local Economic and Trade Cooperation (Qingdao, Jiaozhou, 26-28 April 2021).
Mr Norov noted the success the Shandong and Qingdao people's government achieved in implementing the initiative to create a demonstration zone for China-SCO local economic and trade cooperation.
According to the SCO Secretary-General, at the 2018 SCO Summit in Qingdao, President of China Xi Jinping announced the creation of a demonstration zone for China-SCO local economic and trade cooperation that received comprehensive support and was noted many times in declarations following meetings of the SCO Heads of State Council and the SCO Heads of Government Council.
The demonstration zone's middle-term and long-term goal is to create a firm foundation for bilateral investment and innovation in order to develop industry and expand mutually beneficial trade between the SCO countries. The key to success is its focus on facilitating the further development and alignment of the national economies of the SCO countries with China's Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the deepening of regional cooperation in the areas of small businesses, international transport and logistics, e-commerce, education, tourism and innovation in the SCO space. All aspects of the demonstration zone's activities correspond with the objectives and areas of cooperation outlined in the Programme of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation of the SCO Member States until 2035 adopted at the SCO Heads of Government Council in November 2019 in Tashkent, according to Vladimir Norov.
"In accordance with the main provisions of the Moscow Declaration of the SCO Summit, the SCO member states are committed to facilitating trade and investment in order to gradually introduce the free movement of goods, capital, services and technology in compliance with the SCO Charter.
In order to achieve these goals, the city of Qingdao and the demonstration zone can help interested bodies of the SCO member states to develop the necessary legislation to simplify trade and attract mutual investment, including signing agreements between special economic zones and SCO logistic centres and adopting common technical regulations and standards.
"Qingdao is a gateway for cooperation between the SCO and ASEAN countries as well as the member states of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. This is why cooperation between the SCO and ASEAN countries at the platform of the Qingdao Demonstration Zone opens up broad opportunities, especially for the Central Asian countries, which are the core of the SCO in solving the strategic task of ensuring direct access to seaports and transforming the region into the largest crossroads of transcontinental motorways from East to West and from North to South. In order to deepen such relations, it is necessary to pay attention to the unification of transport standards, phytosanitary control and the construction of barrier-free transport connections.
"In this aspect, we believe it beneficial to construct and develop, based on the example of the demonstration zone and with its assistance, the infrastructure of multi-modal logistic centres in cross-border zones and along SCO transport routes connecting different means of transport, upgrade networks and transport facilities, and step up the process of harmonising and unifying transport standards.
"The last 20 years can be called a period of active development of SCO comprehensive cooperation and successful alignment of national and regional interests in many areas of our countries' economic development. In this context, today's event is an important contribution to celebrating the SCO's 20th anniversary," the SCO Secretary-General noted.
In conclusion, Vladimir Norov noted the importance of holding the SCO International Expo as part of the SCO's 20th anniversary celebrations.
Taking part in the opening ceremony of the SCO International Investment and Trade Expo and SCO Qingdao Forum on Local Economic and Trade Cooperation were also Liang Zhenying, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the 13th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference; Secretary of the Shandong Provincial Party Committee Liu Jiayi; Vice Foreign Minister of China Le Yucheng; Zhang Shaogang, Vice Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the Chinese Chamber of International Commerce; Secretary-General of the ASEAN-China Centre Chen Dehai; and the ambassadors of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Belarus and Armenia.