ISLAMABAD – Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Pakistan, Aybek Arif Usmanov on Sunday said that Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member countries could play a key role in global and regional economic and trade integration in the current scenario.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) has important member countries in terms of geo-economic and geopolitical position, including developed economies, which can play an important role in the development of global and regional economies through this organisational platform, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Pakistan told media here.
The SCO countries’ trade and economic bloc can combine the markets of the European Union and Eurasia for trade interests by merging South Asia and Central Asia, he said. The ambassador said that in the same way, world trade can be linked by gaining market access to key trading regions such as Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEANs) and the Middle East through this important global trade bloc, which is expected to accelerate in the world of trade. He said that Uzbekistan, as the chair of the SCO annual summit 2022 of the SCO Heads of State Council, was hoisting on September 15-16 in Samarkand.
The Uzbek ambassador said that Pakistan and Uzbekistan have a very important role to play in providing trade and economic integration to the SCO member countries, which will usher in a new era of economic integration in all member countries. He said that technology, information technology and renewable energy would be the major topics at the SCO summit this year which would help in reshaping trade and economic relations between the member countries. There will also be sessions on telemedicine at the Summit this year, which has led to the introduction of many facets in the medical field after COVID-19, which could open up new avenues for economic cooperation in the member states, he said. He said that at the same time, member states are likely to sign agreements on renewable energy.
He said that women empowerment is a major issue which will be discussed in the member countries and future strategy will be worked out on it. The ambassador said that the leadership of the SCO countries, including the Central Asian countries, is now fully committed to the economic and trade integration of the member countries and increase in bilateral trade and economic activities.
Ambassador Usmanov said that facilities and road and rail links are very important in bilateral and transit trade which will increase economic activities in SCO countries. He said that the logistics and transportation sector is of utmost importance in this regard which needs to be strengthened.
SCO countries’ trade and economic bloc can combine markets of EU and Eurasia for trade interests by merging South Asia and Central Asia
He said that sea routes need to be opened for trade and at present a trade agreement has been signed between Pakistan and Uzbekistan through Karachi and Gwadar ports. He said that in this regard a connectivity terminal will be built in the city of Tirmuz in Uzbekistan, which will connect Pakistan with Central Asian countries including Euroasain and European and maritime markets.
He said that SCO member countries need to be connected to the Iranian ports of Chabahar and Bandar Abbas in order to be commercially and economically connected to the markets of the Middle East and other ASEAN countries. “We need a new economic dimension and paradigm shift to increase our bilateral and transit trade,” he said. Similarly, new drivers of economic growth, including technology, information technology and e-commerce, need to be adopted, he added. He said that there is a strong hope that regional trade and economic relations at the multilateral level will increase.
In response to a question, he said that apart from agreements between Pakistan and Uzbekistan at the national level, consideration is now being given to enhancing bilateral economic and trade relations between the provinces and major cities. In which agreements have been reached between the province of Punjab of Pakistan and the province of Namangan of Uzbekistan, he said. Similarly, agreements have been reached with the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Peshawar and the Uzbek cities of Samarkand and Surkhandarya to increase economic cooperation. Ambassador Usmanov said that Uzbekistan is committed to economic connectivity, development and regional prosperity, which will lead to harmony and peace in the region. It requires a joint strategy and efforts from SCO member countries, he said.
He said that the SCO Summit will have 80 sessions in which the member countries will focus on tourism, technology, transportation and industrial innovation. Thus, there will be 40 different sessions of the summit in Samarkand city for which various sectors, hotels and tourist places are being constructed for the convenience of the delegates coming to the city.