Six SCO PMs Start Formal Talks in Beijing
On September 23, 2003, prime ministers of the six Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), i.e., Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Kazakh Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Nikolai Tanayev, Russian Prime Minister Kasyanov, Tajik Prime Minister Akil Akilov and Uzbek Prime Minister Utkur Sultanov started formal talks in Beijing, focusing their discussion on the SCO organization building and regional economic cooperation. They were all satisfied with the results.
Wen Jiabao chaired the meeting and delivered an opening speech, during which he said that since its founding two years ago, the SCO had made positive achievements in consummating mechanism and boosting practical cooperation and diplomacy. The Moscow Summit held in May marked the SCO's entering into a stage of all-around development. The goal of this meeting was to study how to put into effect the spirit of the Moscow Summit and promote the cooperation within the SCO in every field.
Wen noted that economic cooperation was a major cooperative area of the SCO. The six SCO members have established mechanisms of economic and trade ministers' meeting as well as transportation ministers' meeting. The six countries have started the process to facilitate trade and investment and explore concrete cooperation in economic and trade areas, which has laid down a foundation for regional economic cooperation. The document on economic and trade cooperation among SCOmembers to be ratified at the consultation was important in guiding the six countries to carry out regional cooperation in the future.
Wen also made three proposals at the consultation. The proposals are:
To promote the facilitation of trade and investment in a bid to realize the smooth circulation of goods within the framework of the SCO as well as to reduce and eliminate non-tariff barriers like those in customs service, quarantine, standards and transportation.
To set certain large projects on economic and technological cooperation and give priority to those in transportation, energy, telecommunication, agriculture, home appliances, light industry and textile.
To set a long-term objective for regional economic cooperation and gradually set up a free trade zone within the SCO.
Wen stressed that the SCO should set up an efficient and practical cooperation mechanism to ensure the implementation of various decisions. Enterprises should be given full play in their role in regional economic cooperation within the SCO. He also urged the SCO to adopt an open policy to conduct economic cooperation with countries and organizations all over the world, so as to comprehensively utilize resources outside the SCO.
Last but not least, he said the SCO and the cooperation among its members now face a very good opportunity. As long as the SCO members join hands to strengthen regional economic cooperation, a modern "Silk Road" will be explored out for common development and prosperity of the six SCO members.
After the consultation, prime ministers of the SCO members signed six documents. The six documents cover multi-lateral economic and trade cooperation among SCO members, SCO budget for the year 2004, rules and regulations on salary guarantee and allowances for staff members of the SCO permanent body, local anti-terrorism institution and personnel arrangement, technical initiation of the SCO permanent body, and a joint communiqué.