SCO: Settlements in national currencies to be expanded

Complicated processes in global politics and economics are now taking place, yet “Not everyone is ready to accept that the modern world is becoming multipolar,” Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said at a videoconference of the SCO Heads of Government Council. “Some Western states seek to maintain a privileged position, violating the most important international principles through a policy of economic pressure. Sanctions become a tool of interference in others’ internal affairs; protectionist measures are introduced in trade and investment under far-fetched pretexts.”


As he noted, “The spread of the novel coronavirus infection is further exacerbating the controversy, escalating the already difficult situation. Economic activity is declining around the world, and international production and distribution-chains get disrupted. Trade is flagging, incomes are falling, and unemployment is on the rise. The coronavirus has been a stress test for all states without exception. At the same time, according to some estimates, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member economies this year will contract less on average than the decline in the world economy.”

Modern challenges require new areas and formats of cooperation,” Mikhail Mishustin said. “In the current situation, we all need a predictable multilateral trading system relying on the WTO rules. It is important to ensure that all members follow its rules and all the obligations assumed, and to preclude the blatant attempts by a number of countries to bypass WTO norms. The World Trade Organization is not perfect and needs to be reformed. But for now, it is the only mechanism to protect our trade and economic interests. It needs to become more stable and work smoothly, to be able to adapt to new conditions and shut the grey zones some states use to strengthen their protectionist measures.”

As far as cooperating within SCO is concerned, he suggested adopting “a five-year plan for the implementation of the Program of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation for the next 15 years to solve the most important tasks in almost all areas, from trade and transport to spatial development and region-to-region ties.”

Another important topic is the development of alternative payment methods, independent of the dollar,” the PM said. “We believe the practice of mutual settlements in national currencies is effective and should be expanded.

Mishustin also stressed that “Economic innovations such as going digital and introducing modern technologies are of particular importance given the current coronavirus situation. Digitalization will enable faster inclusive economic development, will create new points of growth and increase the investment appeal of our economies. Russia is ready to share its best practices in using 5G, cloud storage, big data, artificial intelligence, electronic government services, and many other technologies.”

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