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BRI and Integration Strategies of SCO Member States.

I. Introduction of SCO and BRI F ounded in Shanghai on June 15 th , 2001, The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to strengthen mutual trust and relations among member states. It also promotes cooperation in political affairs, economics and trade, scientific-technical, cultural, and educational spheres.

It also covers energy, transportation, tourism, and environmental protection, to promote regional security and stability and to create a democratic, equitable international political and economic order. After the expansion of the member states currently, SCO has eight member states, four observer states and six dialogue partners.

SCO has become the regional organization with the largest population, the largest geographical area, and a great potential for economic cooperation.Since the early stages of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) put forward by China, BRI has been closely connected to SOC. Most member states, observer states and dialogue partners of SCO are countries located along BRI and have been supporters and participants of BRI. Both SCO and BRI play an essential role in regional development. After years of development, the two have stepped into a new stage and by being complimentary to each other, the two can give full play to their advantages to benefit all the people along with the BRI and SOC countries.

The 2016 SCO Summit issued a communique reaffirming: "the SCO member states' initiative to establish favorable conditions for developing regional economic cooperation, including China's Silk Road Economic Belt project (as part of the BRI), which will contribute to forming new models for international cooperation, strengthen partnership ties between countries, increase investment, and create new employment opportunities.

The 2018 SCO Qingdao Summit communique reaffirmed that heads of the delegation of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and other countries would support BRI. The efforts are taken towards its joint implementation, including the efforts to interlink project of the Eurasian Economic Union and the BRI and advocate the use of the potential of the countries of the region, international organizations and multilateral associations to create a broad, open, mutually beneficial and equal partnership in the SCO space.

II. Integration Strategies of SCO Member States With the in-depth cooperation and development of BRI, the member states of SCO have reached a consensus on BRI, and most member states have developed the national strategies to welcome and participate BRI. Considerable progress has been made during the first harvesting projects.

1. Russia, EEU and BRIOn May 8th, 2015, a joint declaration---Joint Statement on Cooperation on the Construction of Joint Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Projects --- was signed between China and Russia in Moscow on the integrating the development projects of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and China's Silk Road Economic Belt. It is believed that the Eurasian integration project and the Silk Road Economic Belt project will complement each, ultimately creating a common economic space across the entire Eurasian continent.

After five rounds of negotiations, three working group meetings and two ministerial consultations, on May 17 th , 2018, China and EEU signed an economic and trade cooperation agreement, which came into force on December 11th, 2018.

The main contents of the agreement cover a wide range of fields such as customs cooperation, trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, e-commerce cooperation and government procurement. The agreement made a significant breakthrough between China and the EEU in terms of economic and trade relations, symbolizing a new era in which economic and trade cooperation will change from project driven to system-led. It is conducive to further reducing non-tariff trade barriers between China and the member countries of EEU, improving trade facilitation, and providing safeguards for bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

With the integration of BRI and EEU, great progress has been made on the economic cooperation between China and Russia while China remains the largest trading partner of Russia. In 2018, the bilateral trade volume between China and Russia reached US $107.06 billion, an increase of 27.1% compared with the previous year. In 2018, Sino-Russian trade in electromechanical and high-tech products increased by 15% and 29% respectively, and agricultural trade increased by 31%. The two sides cooperated actively on some new fields such as e-commerce and service trade, which can be proved by the speech given by President Putin on the 4th Eastern Economic Forum.

The two sides are working actively on some large strategic projects. The Sino-Russian crude oil pipeline project has been completed, and fuel supply has been started. The east natural gas pipeline is under construction. The first shipment of Yamal liquefied natural gas has arrived in China through the "North ea Route".

Cooperation on joint development of the long-distance wide-body aircraft and heavy-lift helicopter. The signing of the agreements on "Sino-Russian Economic Cooperation in the Russian Far East, 2018-2024" and "Agricultural Development Planning in Northeast China and Russia's Far East and Baikal Regions" clarified the future direction for two sides. The construction work on Tongjiang Railway Bridge and Heihe Highway Bridge will play a supportive transporting role, and China-Russia Regional Cooperation Development Investment Fund will provide financial support to the related projects.

2. Kazakhstan's "Bright Road" and BRI

In September 2016, China and Kazakhstan signed the agreement on "Development Cooperation Plan for the Construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Bright Road". China currently is the second largest trading partner to Kazakhstan's, and in 2018, the trade volume between China and Kazakhstan was US $19.985 billion, an increase of 10.1% over the previous year. China is also the fourth largest source of foreign investment to Kazakhstan. By the end of June 2018, China's total investment to Kazakhstan has exceeded US $29.01 billion. The two sides work actively on production capacity with a list of 51 key cooperation projects, and the value reached US $2 billion.

Three projects have been completed and put into operation. Another 17 capacity cooperation projects have been launched, providing 20,000 new jobs for Kazakhstan. In 2018, China's transit European transit trains in Kazakhstan reached 2,792, an increase of 31.72% over the same period of last year, and the cargo volume was 123.16 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 48.78%.

In 2018, the number of visitors to China-Kazakhstan Horgos International Frontier Cooperation Center reached 12.22 million, an increase of 8% over the previous year.

3. Uzbekistan and BRI

In June 2015, Uzbekistan and China signed the agreement on "Protocol on Expanding Mutual Benefit and Economic Cooperation under the Framework of the Implementation of the 'Silk Road Economic Belt' Initiative". In 2017, Uzbekistan issued the "Strategy of Actions on Five Priority Directions of Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-202", whose main aim and direction are closely compatible with BRI.

As the largest trading partner, China had a trading volume of US $6.267 billion with Uzbekistan in 2018, an increase of 48.5% over 2017. China is Uzbekistan's largest source of foreign investment, the largest cotton export country, and the largest supplier of telecommunications equipment and soil improvement equipment. The two countries cooperated on many strategic projects.These projects demonstrated positive social and economic effects to Uzbekistan, such as jointly established plants for the production of tire, PVc and soda, cooperation in cotton processing, ceramic tiles, smart phones, leather products and shoes in the China-Uzbekistan Industrial Park, which has established more than 10 companies and created more than 1,300 local jobs .

4. Kyrgyzstan's and BRI

The government of Kyrgyzstan integrated BRI by issuing "The Government's National Strategy for Sustainable Development (2013-2017)" in 2012. In this context, China-Kyrgyzstan economic and trade cooperation flourished. The two way trades between the two sides grow at in increasing speed every year.Currently, China is Kyrgyzstan's largest trading partner and the largest source of investment.

In 2018, the bilateral trade volume between China and Kyrgyzstan was US $5.611 billion, an increase of more than 150 times compared with US $35.48 million in 1992, the first year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two. China's direct investment to Kyrgyzstan has reached US $3.86 billion. The road construction projects on Bishkek-Balykchy, China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan International Road have reatly reduced transportation costs and prompted regional connectivity.

In December 2017, Kyrgyzstan announced the "National Sustainable Development Strategy for 2018-2040", in which the country planned to implement 89 projects focusing on transportation infrastructure in the first phase (2018-2023). The country's strategy works perfectly compatible with BRI, brining new impetus to international cooperation.

5. Tajikistan and BRI

On 24 May 2017, the SCO headquarters in Beijing hosted a roundtable presentation of Tajikistan's National Development Strategy for the Period up to 2030. So far, the strategy has integrated with BRI successfully, and many transportation infrastructure projects have been under going on well or completed, such as Ayni-Panjakent Freeway, Vahdat -Yovon tunnel, Tajikistan-Uzbekistan Road, China-Tajikistan Road, Khatlon tunnel and 500 KV transmission project.

The projects have not only improved the condition of Tajikistan's outdated transportation infrastructure but also promoted the interlink between China and Central Asia.

In 2018, the two-way trade between China and Tajikistan was US $1.54 billion, an increase of 3.5% over the year 2017. As the second largest trading partner and largest source of investment, China has invested over 2 US $ to Tajikistan, accounting for 30% of Tajikistan's foreign investment. More than 400 Chinese-funded enterprises registered in Tajikistan, providing a large number of jobs to the local people as well as the tax revenue to the government,

6. Pakistan's CPEC and BRI

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the flagship project of BRI, connects China's Xinjiang and Gwadar Port in Pakistan. It is a sample of regional connectivity that has a positive impact on Iran, Afghanistan, India, the Central Asian Republic, and the region. The enhancement of geographical linkages has improved. It gives great importance on the road, rail and air transportation system . Frequent and free exchanges of growth and people to people contact enhances the understanding through academic.

Moreover, cultural and regional knowledge activities result in the a higher volume of flow of trade and businesses, producing and moving energy to result in more optimal businesses.Furthermore, it enhances the co-operation by using the win-win model that results in a well connected, well integrated region of shared purpose, agreement and development.

In Energy Cooperation sector, there are 15 CPEC-Energy Priority Projects, 4 CPEC-Energy Actively Promoted Projects, and 2 CPEC-Potential Energy Projects. Many projects have been completed and have brought up to 3,140 megawatts of power generation capacity to Pakistan and greatly eased power shortage. In the infrastructure sector, Peshawar-Karachi Motorway (Multan-Sukkur Section) has been completed and put into use.

KKH Phase II (Thakot -Havelian Section) is in early harvest Project category, and it is in the implementation phase after signing of commercial and financial agreements. Other projects like Khuzdar-Basima Road N-30 (110 km), Upgradation of D.I.Khan (Yarik) - Zhob, N-50 Phase-I (210 km), KKH Thakot-Raikot N35 remaining portion (136 Km) and Expansion and reconstruction of existing Line ML-1 are in the well-controlled implementation phase as well. Twelve projects on Gwadar East-Bay Expressway, international airport, reakwaters, free zone, water supply and distribution, hospital, school, industries are under implementation phase. In 2018, the first Gwadar Expo in Gwadar Free Zone was successfully hosted, representing Gwadar has become a shipping and business hub.

CPEC greatly improved the lives of people of two countries by building an economic corridor promoting bilateral connectivity, construction, explore potential bilateral investment, economic and trade, logistics and people to people contact for regional connectivity.III. ConclusionWith the development of globalization, more and more Asian countries are eager to deepen cooperativeties with international partners to promote regional connectivity. Most member states of SCO have developed their national strategies to integrate with BRI. However, some integration projects are not well implemented due to the poor efficiency, out-dated views, interest distribution and regional security, which, play an adverse role in regional economy development. State members should give prior to the key cooperation sectors according to different practical needs and situation.

There is no doubt that a good integration of transportandinfrastructure, energy, economy, agriculture, industry, tourism and people-people exchange among countries as well as SCO and BRI is the hope of better region of the future with peace, development and growth of the economy.
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Publication:The Diplomatic Insight
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 30, 2019
Words:2184
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