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SCO Trade Ministers Meet - cross-border payment system, resilient supply chains on agenda

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, SEP 30, 2023: THE 22nd Meeting of Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states responsible for foreign economic and foreign trade activities (Trade Ministers) was held under the chairmanship of the Kyrgyz Republic on September 27, 2023 in Bishkek, Kyrgyztan. From the Indian side, Ms. Anupriya Patel, Union Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, Government of India participated virtually. The SCO Ministers shared their perspectives on the subject ‘The prospects and measures to deepen trade and economic cooperation among SCO Member States'.

Union Minister of State highlighted the various initiatives undertaken by India including providing support to domestic industries to boost manufacturing in sectors like Pharmaceuticals, Electronics, Medical Devices, ACs, LED, Solar PV Modules, Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery, Automobiles and Auto Components. She also welcomed investments in infrastructure development, industry and services sector.

Ms. Anupriya Patel congratulated the Kyrgyz Republic for its Presidency and welcomed Iran as a new Member state. She stressed about harnessing the opportunities available to the region for mutually beneficial, balanced and equitable growth and emphasized that with the SCO region accounting for 40% of the global population and 30% of the world's economy, there is significant potential for increasing trade within the SCO region.

While mentioning India's successful completion of its term as the Chair of the head of States of SCO in July, 2023 wherein it created five-new pillars and focus areas of cooperation namely, Startups and Innovation, Traditional Medicine, Digital Inclusion, Youth Empowerment and Shared Buddhist Heritage which shows that India strives for ‘multi-dimensional cooperation'. Ms. Patel also stated that Varanasi being named as the ‘Cultural and Tourism' capital of SCO for 2022-23, India looks forward to forging closer ties and boost cooperation with the Member States.

She addressed several key issues, including safeguarding of the core principles and goals of the Multilateral Trading System, as well as the vital areas of environmental preservation, environmental security, mitigation of the negative impacts of climate change, and the conservation of biodiversity.  She also cautioned that the climate agenda at the world forum should not be used to introduce measures restricting trade and investment cooperation. She also stressed upon the importance of digitalization to minimize the gap of digital divide and further underscored India's digital which is being hailed across the globe.

The Union Minister of State emphasized the importance of leveraging the SCO platform for pursuing an agenda that is inclusive and development oriented to build a strong, resilient, and reformed trading system that lays the foundation for our shared aspirations. She expressed her gratitude to the Member states for their support in the creation of a Special Working Group on Startups and Innovation to be permanently chaired by India. She also appreciated their support for the creation of an Expert Working Group on Traditional Medicine. Further, she extended a warm invitation to the SCO member states to participate in the 1st meeting of the Expert Working Group on Traditional Medicine, scheduled to be held at the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar, Gujarat in November 2023, a facility established by the World Health Organization.