The 6th International Business Forum SCO Moscow Business Dialog, organized by the Secretariat of the SCO Business Council and the SCO Business Club, took place in the Russian capital on November 22, 2017.
The event was another stage in preparations for the annual meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government, scheduled for November 30 – December 1 in Sochi, and was devoted to prospects of building a Greater Eurasian partnership based on combining formats of economic cooperation and integration in the Eurasian Economic Union, SCO and ASEAN, coupling of the EEU and China’s One Belt, One Road initiative.
In his opening address, Bakhtiyor Khakimov, the Russian President’s envoy, emphasized the relevance of using the SCO’s huge potential of trade and economic interaction between its member states, presence of a solid legal framework and project pipeline for developing economic ties within the organization. “At the same time, we still lack mechanisms of project financing,” he noted. The SCO Charter sets the goal of creating a free trade zone, and, although no common ground has been found on the issue, the first steps have already been taken: China, as part of its SCO presidency in 2017-2018, has come up with a draft agreement on trade facilitation. In the context of present-day integrative processes, “the SCO is trying to keep up with the trend,” Khakimov said, uniting efforts of the member states for coupling of the EEU and the One Belt, One Road initiative, and engaging ASEAN and, in future, the European Union, for creating a single economic space from the Atlantic to the Pacific, about which Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at the forum in Beijing on May 14, 2017.
Denis Kravchenko, deputy chair of the Russian parliament’s committee for economic policy, industry and innovative development, says the SCO today has acquired a new tone, due to the sanctions imposed by Western countries against Russia. “We have come to even better understand who our true friends and partners are,” he noted.
Zhao Quan, counselor for trade and economic relations of the Chinese Embassy in Russia, said that “over the 16 years, the SCO has demonstrated vivid examples of a new type of mutually beneficial economic cooperation.” China’s turnover with SCO member states has grown by 18.7% since the beginning of the year to $159 billion, while its total investment in the SCO member states has reached $84.6 billion.
The forum was also attended by Sergey Kanavsky, executive secretary of the SCO Business Council; Georgy Muradov, deputy chairman of the Ministers’ Council of the Republic of Crimea; Vladimir Savchenko, CEO of the CIS Business Center for Economic Development; Denis Shulakov, first vice president of Gazprombank; Azat Fazlyyev, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Bashkortostan; Andrey Margolin, vice principal of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Xu Jingli, head of the Russian office of the Chinese Committee for International Trade Assistance; and Yaroslav Lisovolik, member of the management board of the Eurasian Development Bank.
The forum gathered over 200 representatives of the business communities of Russia, China, India, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and other SCO countries. They discussed project cooperation, coordination of national economic development programs, interaction between small and medium-sized businesses, and new trends in global economic development, such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, self-driving cards and e-commerce.
Denis Tyurin, director of the SCO Business Council, says that the main outcome of the Forum’s work will be an address of its participants to the SCO Council of Heads of Government. “It will reflect new ideas of the business communities of our countries aimed at developing the SCO as a center of international economic innovations,” he explained.