To build China-SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Area into highland of opening up

By Zhang Xinzhu

On June 10, 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong province, during which he announced that the Chinese government supports building a demonstration area in Qingdao for China-SCO local economic and trade cooperation.

Six years on, the China-SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Area (SCODA) has grown into a center for international logistics, modern trade, two-way investment cooperation, and commercial, tourism and cultural exchanges, while boosting the development of the China-SCO Institute of Economy and Trade.

The demonstration area has become a gathering area for enterprises from SCO member states to share development opportunities in the Chinese market, and is forging ahead to build itself into a new and promising platform for Belt and Road cooperation.

The SCODA is striving to establish itself as a hub for institutional innovation.

Since its establishment, the SCODA has placed institutional innovation front and center and has reaped early fruits by pioneering more than 80 institutions.

Besides, the demonstration area has set up a comprehensive economic and trade platform to offer one-stop services covering trade, customs clearance, logistics, and finance, resolving obstacles faced by enterprises in economic and trade investment.

These achievements have proved that steadily expanding institutional opening up can facilitate trade and investment, and enhance the level of trade cooperation.

The SCODA is striving to establish itself as a new hub for economic and trade cooperation.

Based on the SCO International Hub Port and a multimodal transportation service platform covering railway, sea, air and land ports, the SCODA is working to build a convenient connectivity pattern and a manufacturing center, logistics center and product distribution center facing Northeast Asia. The SCO International Hub Port has obtained the United Nations Code for Trade and Transport Locations (UN/LOCODE).

Moreover, the SCODA has launched 21 international train routes and set up an overseas assembly center for China-Europe (Qilu) freight trains in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Besides, it has also opened a sub-demonstration area in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. By further enhancing infrastructure connectivity, the SCODA can provide enterprises with more opportunities and contribute to economic growth.

The SCODA is striving to maintain safe and stable industrial and supply chains.

Industrial and supply chains are important parts of modern economy, which have a significant impact on the operation of the modern economic system.

To better ensure stable industrial and supply chains of SCO member states, the SCODA has hosted the SCO Industrial and Supply Chains Forum & the SCO International Investment and Trade Expo, and launched the China-SCO Industrial Park Alliance, promoting information sharing, logistics connectivity, and project collaboration.

In addition, the SCODA has set up an area for the application of the industrial internet and built 20 export-oriented industrial clusters, including the Haier COSMOPlat Industrial Internet Ecopark. By enhancing the resilience and security of industrial and supply chains, the SCODA aims to better safeguard the common interests of all SCO member states.

The SCODA is striving to nurture high-caliber professionals.

Close economic and trade cooperation relies heavily on talents. The China-SCO Institute of Economy and Trade, which was established in 2022, serves as a practical platform to train professionals who can contribute to multilateral economic and trade cooperation among SCO member states.

So far, the institute has carried out 180 training sessions for more than 13,800 participants from SCO member states and Belt and Road partner countries, providing practical experience tailored to their actual needs. An increasing number of professionals with expertise in international economic and trade rules and national conditions of different countries have emerged, which will further deepen the exchanges and cooperation among SCO member states.

History tells us that openness and cooperation are a major driving force behind dynamic international economic and trade activities. Looking ahead, openness and cooperation will remain essential for continued human progress.

Moving forward, the SCODA will consolidate its role as an important link in international industrial, supply and trade chains, boosting economic and trade cooperation of SCO member states. It will continue to build a pilot area for institutional innovation in two-way investment and trade among SCO member states, a gathering area for entrepreneurship and business development, and a new and promising platform for Belt and Road cooperation, so as to create a new highland for opening up in the new era.

(Zhang Xinzhu is a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Qingdao Committee and secretary of the Party Working Committee of the China-SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Area)


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