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India Hosts 19th Meeting of SCO Ministers for Foreign Economy and Foreign Trade Activities

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19th Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation OrganisationOn October 28, 2020, India hosted the 19th Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Ministers of Foreign Economy and Foreign Trade virtually.

Participants in the meeting:

i.Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (MoS) for Commerce and Industry, Hardeep Singh Puri participated in the Meeting.

ii.It was also attended by Vladimir Norov, Secretary General of SCO and Ministers from Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Key Points:

i.Union Minister Piyush Goyal stated that SCO countries should use their economic strength and explore partnerships to increase intra-SCO trade and investment for speedy recovery from the aftermath of the pandemic.

ii.Four documents were adopted in the meeting. Which are

  • Statement on the response to COVID-19 – to reinforce the need for cooperation for access to medicines and facilitation of trade.
  • Statement on Multilateral Trading System of Ministers of SCO countries who are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) highlighting the importance of rules based multilateral negotiations.
  • Statement on SCO Cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), which relates to cooperation of intellectual property on sharing information/experience on legislation and enforcement, cooperation in international organisation and other areas.
  • Action Plan for Implementation of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase cooperation within SCO in the field of MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises). The MoU looks at areas of cooperation among MSME, which includes exchange of information, organisation of events and collaboration on research and capacity building.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal Launches First-Ever SCO Startup Forum:

i.On October 27, 2020, Union Minister Piyush Goyal launched the first-ever SCO Startup Forum ahead of SCO Trade Minister Meeting on 28th October, 2020.

ii.The Startup forum will act as a foundation for multilateral cooperation and engagement among SCO members to develop and hone their startup ecosystems.

iii.It is a maiden initiative by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

iv.It will identify key areas of cooperation by launching multiple entrepreneurial activities like Startup showcase through dedicated virtual platform, mobilizing capital for startups, sharing of best practices, procuring social innovations, and knowledge exchange workshops.

v.Innovations and Startups will be a key focus area of SCO Heads of Government meeting to be held on 30th November 2020, which is going to be hosted by India for the first time.

Note: – India is the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world with 35, 000 startups. 25% of which are core technology startups operating in areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Health, Financial & Education Technology.

8th Meeting of Ministers of SCO Member states:

i.Giridhar Aramane, Secretary, Road Transport & Highways, Government of India, participated in the 8th Meeting of Ministers of SCO Member States held virtually on 28th October 2020.

ii.The meeting was chaired by Russian Federation.

iii.Giridhar Aramane stated the need for coordination actions at the level of Transport Ministries/Departments of Member States to ensure sustainable transport operation during Pandemic to prevent spreading of emergency situations across the borders.

iv.He highlighted India’s priority of connectivity with SCO countries and shared India’s experience in Intelligent Transport Systems.

Recent Related News:

i.On September 10, 2020 Union Minister of State (MoS) (Independent Charge), Prahlad Singh Patel virtually participated in the 17th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Culture Ministers meeting.

ii.On 13th May 2020, External Affairs Minister(EAM) S.Jaishankar participated in a virtual conference of foreign ministers hosted by Russia from Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) member states

About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):
Secretary General – Vladimir Norov
Headquarters – Beijing, China