On 26 April 2021, the 2021 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) International Investment and Trade Expo & SCO Qingdao Forum on Local Economic and Trade Cooperation was held in Jiaozhou, Shandong Province. The event was co-hosted by the Qingdao Municipal People’s Government, China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC) and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Shandong Sub-council, and organized by the Administrative Committee of SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Area (hereinafter referred to as the SCO Demonstration Area), and the Jiaozhou People’s Government.
Mr. Leung Chun-ying, Vice Chairman of the 13th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Mr. Liu Jiayi, Secretary of the CPC Shandong Provincial Committee, Mr. Le Yucheng, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Mr. Zhang Shaogang, Vice Chairman of CCPIT, and Mr. Vladimir Norov, SCO Secretary-General attended the ceremony and delivered remarks. Mr. Zhao Haozhi, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Qingdao Municipal Committee and Mayor of Qingdao, presided over the opening ceremony. About 500 people were present at the event, including ambassadors of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Belarus, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Moldova to China, the Economic Minister of the Embassy of Nepal, the Commercial Minister of the Embassy of Sri Lanka, ministers of the Embassy of Indonesia and the Embassy of Malaysia, the Consul General of Thailand in Qingdao, officials from international organizations, scholars and representatives of enterprises. Mr. Chen Dehai, Secretary-General of the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) also attended the ceremony upon invitation.
Liu Jiayi mentioned that following President Xi Jinping’s important instructions, Shandong province has firmly promoted the building of the SCO Demonstration Area by deepening economic and trade cooperation, building platforms and enhancing connectivity and people-to-people exchanges, and achieved more fruitful results in opening-up to the outside world. The forum will facilitate broader opening-up and deeper international cooperation for SCO and countries and regions along the BRI routes, and establish a new system for higher-level open economy.
Vladimir Norov noted that since the establishment of the SCO Demonstration Area, it has provided a platform of exchanges and cooperation for SCO member states. Its connectivity with the BRI promotes the economic and social development of the countries along the BRI routes. He expressed hope that the SCO Demonstration Area will continue exploring innovative ways to promote trade facilitation, logistics, e-commerceand connectivity for better development of the demonstration zone in the future.
The forum was held under the theme of “Sharing Opportunities Brought by the SCO, Pursuing Common and Open Development”. Both domestic and international guests shared views on enhancing bilateral and multilateral local economic and trade cooperation under new international situation for a higher-level opening-up. Topics are well discussed including the role and opportunities of cities and industrial parks in SCO local economic and trade cooperation, innovation in business models of SCO local economic and trade cooperation in the post-COVID period, and the opportunities and challenges brought by both RCEP and SCO.
Secretary-General Chen Dehai stressed that both SCO and ASEAN Member States (AMS) are close neighbors and important partners of China. ACC will proactively facilitate the development of the SCO Demonstration Area, support Qingdao’s important role in BRI New Eurasian Land Bridge Economic Corridor and Maritime Cooperation, promote the cooperation and development of AMS enterprises in Qingdao, and work hard to enhance the economic links between ASEAN and SCO member states.
On the forum, the guests witnessed the launching ceremony of the Liaison Office of the Joint Conference Mechanism for Former Diplomats of the Ministry of Commerce and the Liaison Office of the SCO China Business Council. A number of 20 cooperation programs were signed with a total investment of 66.8 billion RMB. China’s trade index with the SCO member states and the SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum “Qingdao Initiative” were discussed and released at the forum.
During the visit in Qingdao, Secretary-General Chen Dehai attended Secretary Liu Jiayi’s meeting with the representatives of SCO member states and countries along the BRI routes. He also attended the banquet held by the Qingdao Municipal People’s Government, and visited the 2021 SCO International Investment and Trade Expo and major companies in the SCO Demonstration Area.