Home of Confucius eyes deeper, higher-level cooperation with SCO countries

Source: Xinhua 2018-06-08

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QINGDAO, June 8 (Xinhua) -- East China's Shandong Province looks forwards to deeper and higher-level cooperation with Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries as its coastal city Qingdao will host the 18th SCO summit on Saturday and Sunday.

Shandong, the home of Confucius, who advocates self-discipline in appeasing others and harmony in diversity, has been a front-runner in the country's opening-up drive, Wei Huaxiang, deputy secretary general with the provincial government, said Friday at a press conference ahead of the summit.

The SCO countries have become an important emerging market for the coastal province's trade with bilateral volume reaching 118.6 billion yuan (18.5 billion U.S. dollars) last year, up 17.5 percent year on year, much faster than its overall trade growth, while imports from SCO members surged 45.5 percent year on year, according to Wei.

Shandong's actual investment into SCO countries stood at 440 million yuan in 2017, up 22.4 percent year on year.

In the first quarter of this year, bilateral trade reached 28.72 billion yuan and Shandong's actual investment in SCO countries stood at about 30 million yuan, according to Wei.

Shandong will continue to invest in cooperation projects with SCO countries in overseas industrial zones, expand economic and trade ties via exhibitions, and improve cross-border e-commerce facilities, Wei said.

The province also aims to develop itself into an international open platform to facilitate global trade, Wei said, adding that the Ministry of Commerce has decided to support Qingdao in building the country's first demonstration area for China-SCO regional trade and economic cooperation.

The demonstration area is located in the Eurasian Economic and Trade Industrial Park, initiated by Qingdao and the Business Council of the SCO in 2015. The industrial park has attracted 21 projects with a total investment of 18 billion yuan.