Source: China Plus Published: 2018-6-11
Economic cooperation has become one of the major components of Shanghai Cooperation Organization system, with observers suggesting significant headway has been made in economic and trade cooperation among SCO countries in the 17 years since the group`s founding.
Stats from China`s Ministry of Commerce shows total trade volume among Shanghai Cooperation Organization member countries rose to $217.6 billion US dollars in 2017, a 19 percent surge from the previous year.
By comparison, trade volume among China and SCO member states only stood at 12.1 billion US dollars in 2001.
From 2013 to 2017, China has imported products from other SCO member countries worth more than 340 billion US dollars.
Liu Ying, a professor leading research into the Belt and Road Initiative from Renmin University says the development of economic cooperation and trade among SCO member states is promising.
"The trading volume among SCO member states has seen steady growth during the past a few years. China is working closely with other SCO countries. For example, India has already become a very important trade partner with China after its entry into the SCO. Trade between China and Russia and the four Central Asian countries, and trade among SCO member states have all seen steady progress. The SCO member states have become very important trading partners to one and another."
Development of the SCO has also created signficiant investment and contract opportunties for Chinese cmopanies.
Total investment among the various SCO member states has reached approximately $84 billion US dollars, including numerous large-scale energy, mineral and industrial projects.
In the Central Asian region, the China-Kyrgystan-Uzbekistan road, the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline and the construction of the China-Kazakhstan and China-Russia crude oil pipelines have been completed.
Beyond oil and gas, other infrastructure construction is also underway, including roads and railways, strengthening ties among member states.
Zhou Rong, a professor of Central Asian Studies with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University, says its investment like this which has helped maintain stablity in central Asia.
"The SCO has been able to help secure regional stability and security. Central Asia has become one of the the most stable regions in the world. This is also the contribution by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Stability itself has provided a solid foundation for SCO countries. And then interconnectivity becomes possible for economic cooperation and trade."
This year`s SCO Summit in Qingdao Summit will be the first time all eight state leaders from the full SCO member countries will sit down together.
Among them will be Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Professor Swaran Singh with Jawaharlal University suggests India should take advantage of its new position within the SCO.
"In the last year, China has held 120 meetings under Shanghai Organization Cooperation. So it is also seen as the most successful organization. Therefore, India is very fortunate to be part of the Shanghai Organization Cooperation and wants to contribute as much as it can in this very successful and largest organization."
Observers have suggested the inclusion on India and Pakistan as full SCO members is going to help promote economic integration, as well as help maintain regional security and stability.
Liu Ying is a research fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.
Zhou Rong is a senior fellow of Chongyang Insitute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.