The SCO Industrial and Supply Chains Forum and the 2023 SCO International Investment and Trade Expo kicked off recently in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong province.
A total of 330 enterprises and organizations from 34 countries and regions, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) routes, showcased more than 10,000 types of imported specialties at the expo. Deals for purchases of goods totaling a billion yuan ($140 million) were inked.
At present, the world is facing a sluggish economic recovery, while global industrial and supply chains are undergoing in-depth adjustments.
In the face of instability and uncertainties in the world economy, SCO countries have strengthened collaboration of industrial and supply chains and promoted effective aggregation of factors and resources, contributing to the resilience and stability of the global chains, said participants in the forum.
Stable and efficient industrial and supply chains are crucial to the SCO regions and the world, noted SCO Deputy Secretary-General Nurlan Yermekbayev.
At this year’s investment and trade expo, a rich array of characteristic food, consumer goods, handicrafts, and agricultural products from different countries were put on display, offering visitors a chance to shop while enjoying a glimpse into foreign customs and traditions.
The exhibition zone of Russia was designed to resemble an elegant and romantic avenue, with a large screen wall displaying the Russian State Historical Museum.
The exhibition area of Egypt was decorated with national elements, including pyramid models, pharaoh statues, as well as live-action scenes of dromedaries and cactuses in the desert, attracting many visitors to take pictures.
Honey, dairy products, jam, and other characteristic products from Kyrgyzstan were also showcased. According to a staff member of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce of the Kyrgyz Republic in China, Chinese consumers have shown a strong interest in products from Kyrgyzstan, but lacked purchasing channels.
A batch of agricultural products from Kyrgyzstan, including honey and cherries, has arrived in China recently, said the staff member, adding that Kyrgyzstan was ready to open an official online store on Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com and planned to open brick-and-mortar stores in Chinese cities including Qingdao and Urumqi, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
Since the establishment of the SCO in 2001, China’s trade with other SCO member states has been climbing. The trade volume reached $343.3 billion in 2021, a 28-fold growth from 2001.
The China-SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Area (SCODA) in Qingdao saw its foreign trade volume hit 36 billion yuan in 2022, up 38.3 percent year-on-year.
The SCODA has launched 31 regular international railway routes connecting China and 54 cities in 23 countries, including SCO members and countries along the BRI routes. In 2022, a total of 279,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers were handled, up 5.4 percent from the previous year.
The forum witnessed the launch of the SCO Comprehensive Service Platform 2.0. As China’s first one-stop public service platform for local economic and trade cooperation among SCO countries, the platform has attracted nearly 5,000 enterprises since its launch.
The 2.0 version focuses on meeting the actual needs of SCO countries, such as import and export processes, local currency settlement, barter trade, and the reciprocal recognition of supervision.
It has innovatively incorporated a good number of systems for services covering SCO cross-border payment and settlement, new forms of cross-border barter trade, aviation logistics, used-car exports, and taxpayer information verification, effectively solving problems including poor cross-border settlement channels between SCO countries in the past.
As the largest regional cooperation organization in the Eurasian continent with the greatest potential, the SCO has made unique contributions to regional stability and development.
Efforts will be made to leverage platforms including the SCO Industrial and Supply Chains Forum to continuously motivate various parties to deepen pragmatic cooperation, according to Yermekbayev, who noted that regional economic cooperation among SCO countries will yield more fruitful results.
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