Maksim Oreshkin: “New topics on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's agenda: digital technology, innovation, e-commerce”


On November 15, 2017, Maksim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, held a meeting of Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states responsible for foreign economic activities and foreign trade.

The Ministers of India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan took part in the event. It was for the first time, when the representatives of India and Pakistan participated with the status of full-fledged members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Moreover, representatives of the observer states under the SCO were also attracted to the formation of the economic agenda.

The participants of the meeting considered the prospects of deepening trade, economic and investment cooperation on the SCO area, issues related to the implementation of the Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation Program of the SCO member states, and development of cooperation in the sphere of small and medium-sized businesses.

Maksim Oreshkin recalled that the Organization united over 40% of the world's population. "This is a huge consumer market," – said Oreshkin. He mentioned that the total parity GDP was close to 30% of the global one, and the share in the international trade reached 15%. In fact, all the SCO countries are self-sufficient in terms of industrial opportunities, production of modern technology, labor and other resources.

According to the Minister, one of the main tasks for the near future was development of trade and economic cooperation, taking into account the emerging opportunities, including the increase in the consumer and investment demand. "We need to talk about the creation of interconnected value chains that allow us to optimize all costs and to use competitive advantages of each of the participants," – added the Minister.

Maksim Oreshkin noted that the Organization was constantly in search of new directions of cooperation, involving scientific, expert and business circles in the discussion of the economic agenda of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

"Today, besides the traditional issues like trade and investment, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, science, information & communication technology, environmental protection, there were discussed such relevant issues as the development of interaction on the interregional track, in the sphere of small and medium-sized business, as well as support of the multilateral trading system, digital technology, innovation, and e-commerce. This dialogue once again confirmed the ability of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and to respond to the challenges of our time," – said the Minister. According to him, many of these areas should be implemented within the project logic.

Maksim Oreshkin noted the significant prospects associated with the interregional cooperation. "We are making progress in creating the Forum for the Heads of the regions of the SCO member states, which will allow us to create necessary conditions for direct communication, exchange of experience and the best practices of territorial development," – he stated. It was the initiative of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation supported by partners under the SCO.

Also, the Ministers discussed the topic of the World Trade Organization. Maksim Oreshkin reminded that the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization would take place in Argentina next month. According to him, all participants of the meeting unanimously supported the World Trade Organization as the main body regulating international trade, as well as the trade system based on the participation of all countries in accordance with the established rules. "Therefore, we all agree here. At the Ministerial Conference, which will be held in Argentina next month, we will come out with the common opinion to further develop the World Trade Organization and to adopt the joint declaration," – concluded the Minister.

"In fact, we summed up all the work performed on economic issues during the year," – emphasized Maksim Oreshkin. He added that all the developments would be the basis for the upcoming meeting of the Council of Governmental Heads (Prime Ministers) of the SCO Member States to be held in Sochi in December 2017.