On October 28, the 19th Meeting of Ministers of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) responsible for Foreign Economic and Foreign Trade Activities was held via video conference. Yu Jianhua, Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative, attended and spoke at the meeting, on behalf of Minister Zhong Shan. At the meeting, participants agreed on the Statement on the Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Statement on Supporting the Multilateral Trading System, the Action Plan for Implementing the MoU on Promoting MSME Cooperation, the Cooperation Framework on Intellectual Property Rights, the Action Plan 2021-2025 for the Implementation of the Program of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation, and the Cooperation Concept on Developing Remote and Rural Areas in the Digital Age. These outcomes paved the way for the 20th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State and the 19th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government in terms of economy and trade.
All SCO members spoke for solidarity and coordination. SCO members will join hands to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on regional social and economic development, stabilize supply chains and markets, safeguard the multilateral trading system, oppose unilateralism and protectionism, support necessary reforms of the WTO, support the development of MSMEs, enhance cooperation in digital economy, and strengthen IPR protection.
Yu said that under the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has made major strategic achievements in responding to the disease while ensuring economic and social development. He pointed out that China’s growth turned positive over the first three quarters this year, effective underpinning regional and world economic recovery. He said that in the face of the pandemic, SCO members have helped each other out and overcome the difficulties together, which has fully demonstrated the Shanghai Spirit. He highlighted that in the next step, members should further deepen regional economic cooperation by advancing trade liberalization and facilitation, fostering a market-oriented and law-based business environment, enhancing connectivity, exploring sub-national cooperation, strengthening cooperation in digital economy and trade in services, and firmy safeguarding the multilateral trading system.