India today hosted the 19th Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Ministers responsible for Foreign Economy and Foreign Trade Activities.
In his opening remarks, Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal said that the current crisis due to Covid-19 is a clarion call to the SCO countries to leverage the economic strength and explore partnerships that enhance trade and investment in the region. He said that cooperation should be continued to enhance intra-SCO trade and investment which would be critical in ensuring the speedy recovery from the aftermath of the pandemic. Goyal said that every nation’s world view is shaped by its civilization and philosophical tradition. India’s ancient wisdom sees the world as one family – Vasudeva Kutumbakam, he aadded.
Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri also spoke on the occasion. The virtual meeting was attended by the Secretary General of SCO and Ministers from, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
In the meeting four documents were adopted. These were:-
- Statement on the response to Covid-19. It reinforces the need for greater cooperation for access to medicines and facilitation of trade.
- Statement on the Multilateral Trading System of Ministers of SCO Countries who are WTO Members. This statement highlights the importance of the rules based multilateral negotiations.
- Statement on SCO Cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). It relates to cooperation of intellectual property and include sharing information/experience on legislation and enforcement, cooperation in international organisations and other areas.
- Action Plan for Implementation of MOU to stimulate cooperation within the framework of SCO in the field of MSMEs. It looks at number of areas of cooperation among MSMEs, including exchange of information, organisation of events and collaboration on research and capacity building.
In his concluding remarks, Goyal emphasised that all these outcomes of the meeting are very important milestones for the SCO solidarity.