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Will the SCO become an instrument of economic security?
08.06.2018 15:54

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) should turn into an effective tool for maintaining economic stability. This was stated by the candidate of economic sciences, deputy chairman of Vnesheconombank (VEB), former Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Andrei Klepach, speaking at the Second Sochi Forum of Eurasian Integration "Prospects for the Development and Strengthening of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization" on April 17.

"The key task now is to avoid the world's slipping to a new round of trade wars. In this regard, the SCO and the economic partnership that is beginning to form on its basis can become an alternative to what is happening, and a carrier of not only the political security but also an instrument for preserving economic cooperation," Klepach said.

According to him, the world is currently experiencing a period of dynamic changes in the balance of economic forces—Asia is gaining strength and in some sense, returns to the level it possessed in the world economy in the middle of the XIX century. But at the same time, we have to state that the world does not become more secure as a result of the undergoing changes.

"We see this in the political, geopolitical and economic breaks that are taking place in Europe. This sanctioning struggle, which is being waged by the US and the countries they support against Russia, is the elements of a trade war that will now go between the US and China, although I would like to hope that the real scale of the conflict will be less than what is claimed now," he said.

In this context, the SCO has the opportunity not just to coordinate trade policies, infrastructure projects, but also in fact to build a space for economic cooperation in large Eurasia as a whole.

"The SCO could play a leading role in this regard. There are huge spaces of interaction and mutual enrichment with practices of development and solving those issues that exist in each of our countries," Klepach said.

At the same time, the issue of financial systems under the current conditions becomes a particularly acute and "toxic" one.

"This is not the primary reason, but it is also an important incentive for the SCO member states, which account for more than half of the world's gold and currency reserves and a significant portion of financial flows, that they, despite the dominance of the European and American markets, jointly develop a new financial model," explained the economist.

"Certain steps to this were done within the framework of the Asian Bank for Infrastructure Projects, within the framework of the BRICS agreement on the pool of foreign exchange reserves. But in fact, this is only the beginning of the road. The very yuan, which China presents for mutual settlements, does not yet have sufficient liquidity. Therefore, I think that within the framework of the SCO and even outside its framework, on a bilateral basis, we have a great potential for cooperation for settlements in national currencies and for the removal of currency risks," he stressed.

Currently, the SCO member states in the "broad G8" make up about 30% of world GDP. According to IMF forecasts, by 2020 they will be making up about 34-35%. At the same time, according to VEB estimates, by 2025 with this dynamic, the volume of the SCO economies will be equal to a share of 38-40% of world GDP.

The Second Sochi Forum of Eurasian Integration "Prospects for the Development and Strengthening of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization" was held on April 17-18. About 200 representatives of 17 SCO member states, observer countries, and dialogue partners took part in the forum. Experts from a number of other countries related to integration projects in the space of the "Great Eurasia" are also involved in the work of the forum.

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