Premier Li Keqiang (C) attends a large-scale talk during the 12th prime ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, Nov 29, 2013.[Photo by Li Xueren/Xinhua]
TASHKENT -- Premier Li Keqiang urged members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to step up their trade and finance cooperation on Nov 29.
Li made the remarks while addressing the 12th prime ministers’ meeting of the SCO member states in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. He arrived in Tashkent on Nov 28 after wrapping up a visit to Romania.
The SCO members should simplify customs clearance and inspection, lower tariffs, and remove trade barriers so as to create conditions for free trade within the SCO, he said.
Li also said China would like to expand imports of lamb and beef from SCO members.
On finance cooperation, Li said the SCO Interbank Consortium should be given a bigger role to meet member states’ financing needs in promoting interconnectivity and industrial cooperation, and to support major projects.
Li called on the members to move forward on the establishment of an SCO development bank, and to move faster in realizing local currency settlement between SCO members.
China is also willing to set up a fund for all SCO members, observers, and dialogue partners, he added.
To further promote interconnectivity with the SCO, Li hoped all parties to play an active part in building the new Eurasian continental bridge and the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe international railway service, saying China is ready to offer help in terms of technology, equipment, and financing.
Also in his speech, Premier urged all sides to make counter-terrorism and drug control as their top priority in their security cooperation.
On environment and energy cooperation, Li proposed that the SCO members set up an information sharing platform and jointly draft a cooperation strategy for environmental protection.
He also urged the SCO members to continue discussions about the establishment of an SCO energy club, deepen energy cooperation in various stages like production, transmission and processing, and carry out new energy cooperation including nuclear energy.
In a bid to promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges, Li said Beijing would like to increase the number of scholarships for students from other SCO member states, and backs closer tourism cooperation within the bloc.
The SCO is a six-member inter-governmental organization founded in the Chinese city of Shanghai on June 15, 2001.
Grouping China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the SCO covers a total area of 30.2 million square km, with a combined population of 1.53 billion.