New Development! Qingdao International Energy Exchange Inaugurated! SCODA Undertook National Event and Accelerated Building New Platform

2023-07-24 16:49:43 admin source: share:

SCODA is unleashing greater energy by deepening practical cooperation with Central Asian countries and promoting high-quality development under the Belt and Road.


On February 17, the First China-Central Asia Industrial and Investment Cooperation Forum and its sub-forums were held online and offline. Under the themes of "Digital Empowerment: New Opportunities for Asia-Europe Industrial Chain and Supply Chain Cooperation" and "Deepening Energy Industry Transformation for Common Prosperity and Development", the participants shared and discussed cooperation opportunities. The Qingdao International Energy Exchange was unveiled, and SCO Agricultural Industry Development Alliance was established.

In fact, long before the debut, Qingdao International Energy Exchange has begun performing its duties. Currently, a total of 61 trading entities have settled in.

Last year, SCODA introduced the SCO International Agricultural Science and Technology Research and Development Center, which is the pilot supporting facility of the SCO Agricultural Industry Development Alliance.

As the only demonstration area of local economic and trade cooperation for SCO countries and countries along the "Belt and Road" in China, the continuous upgrading of SCODA further consolidates its role as the main channel, main platform, and main window for high-quality development of the "Belt and Road" and local economic and trade cooperation.

More importantly, relying on SCO strength, China has fully demonstrated its sincerity in opening up its enormous market to SCO member states with Central Asian countries as its core region.

For China, the major highlight and expectation in 2023 is a relatively normal environment for economic development, with pent-up demand in 2022 likely to see retaliatory growth this year.

In the process of confidence transmitted gradually from the recovery at the end of consumption to the upstream bulk consumption and then to enterprise investment, foreign trade and foreign investment play a significant role in the connectivity of the domestic and international dual circulation. When it comes to the development of the Belt and Road, the "only" SCODA serves as the key hub. This is an important task entrusted to Qingdao by the state under the new development pattern, and also an opportunity mustn't be missed.

The year 2023 will be the first year for the implementation of the requirements of the 20th CPC National Congress and also marks the fifth anniversary of the construction of SCODA. Moreover, it will be a year when SCODA forges ahead to seek breakthroughs from a higher starting point. Facing the new opportunity of full recovery of economic and social development after the pandemic, SCODA will strive to write a new chapter.

SCODA Highlighted at the Grand Event

The consensus of the heads of state is implemented in Qingdao, which undoubtedly benefits SCODA.

The Qingdao International Energy Exchange and the SCO Agricultural Industry Development Alliance and other important achievements have been implemented, which have been presented to Central Asian countries during this grand event while further promoting practical cooperation.

Central Asian countries boast rich renewable energy reserves, which have always been one of the four sources of China's energy import. The two sides have joined hands to form an integrated energy cooperation chain. For example, the construction of the Northwest oil and gas passage has become the main energy artery between China and Central Asian countries.

From the perspective of energy security, SCODA plays an increasingly important strategic role. From the perspective of resources application, the launching of the Qingdao International Energy Exchange means that SCODA will connect with the potential production capacity of Central Asia more directly and conveniently.

In addition to implementing related achievements, SCODA seized the opportunity of this grand event to display itself in an objective and comprehensive manner, enabling the local governments, enterprises, and business associations of more Central Asian countries to get to know this key hub empowered by opening-up.

For instance, the China-SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Comprehensive Service Platform (hereinafter referred to as the SCO Comprehensive Service Platform) was highlighted at the sub-forums several times. In 2022, thanks to the full support of the General Administration of Customs, the SCO Comprehensive Service Platform was launched within 114 days. It provides full-cycle, full-element, and full-chain one-stop comprehensive services integrating "trade + customs clearance + logistics + finance", and has been listed at China International Trade Single Window as one of the three special sections. Since its launch, it has attracted over 500 enterprises from home and abroad. The recognition brought by this forum will release the magnet effect of this platform at a faster pace.

The significance of this forum goes beyond enabling more enterprises from Central Asian countries to discover Qingdao and SCODA. Moreover, it lets local companies truly get access to and know Central Asian countries.

By comparison, companies in Qingdao are more familiar with and have more cooperations with the markets of Japan, the Republic of Korea, Europe, and the United States, accumulating diverse channels and abundant experience from years of economic and trade cooperation. But they are relatively unfamiliar with the policies, laws and regulations, market environment, and characteristics of industries in Central Asian countries. Roadshows for Central Asian countries have been arranged during this forum for them to promote the key industrial directions for investment attraction, so that enterprises in Qingdao could explore the corresponding overseas market more precisely.

For years, Central Asia has been the key destination for the brands of leading enterprises such as Haier and Hisense to go global. Now more enterprises could be empowered by the SCO Comprehensive Service Platform to go global in groups. 

Undertaking the National Task of Opening-up

Under the national task of "Building an Even Closer China-Central Asia Community with a Shared Future", SCODA is undoubtedly the most important player. Through five years of innovation and practice, SCODA has also explored feasible solutions to serve the overall opening-up.

In terms of "connotation", SCODA is an empowering platform for Qingdao to continuously release the "multiplier effect".

As China's first cultural experience base for SCO countries, the only comprehensive exhibition center for SCO countries, and the first SCO-themed commercial complex, the Qingdao · SCODA Pearl International Expo Center was completed and put into operation within only 197 days, and all 20 SCO national pavilions were put into operation. It is also the center of the upcoming Ruyi Lake Headquarters Base and Shanghe Avenue Emerging Industrial Belt, creating a "preferred", "must-go" and "new hub" for economic and trade cooperation with SCO countries and countries along the Belt and Road, attracting Fortune Global 500 and Fortune China 500 companies to settle here.

"A bottle of honey from New Zealand costs up to a thousand yuan, but the same type of product of equally good quality from Kyrgyzstan costs less than 200 yuan. Why is there a price difference?"

Zhang Dong, Member of the Party Working Committee and Deputy Director of the Administrative Committee of SCODA made a small example to explain the new methods and new ideas for deepening international economic and trade cooperation. What is more important than products presented in front of consumers is to improve the added value, and to upgrade directly from rough processing to presenting good stories and good brands.

Last year, the 2022 National Chinese New Year Online Shopping Festival and SCO Featured Products E-Commerce Livestreaming & SCO Online Fair was successfully organized, which invited diplomats of SCO countries to China to promote products via live streaming and was highly commended by the Ministry of Commerce.

In addition to To C, there is the SCO Comprehensive Service Platform as a To B end, expanding new models of modern trade cooperation. From January to November 2022, driven by SCODA, Shandong's foreign trade with SCO countries reached 373.8 billion yuan, an increase of 36%, ten percentage points higher than the 26% growth rate of the whole country.

In terms of positioning, SCODA is also an important pivot for Qingdao to build itself into an international gateway hub city.

In March 2022, Qingdao Airport Comprehensive Bonded Area, the province's first airport comprehensive airport bonded area, was officially approved for establishment. 29 domestic and international freight train routes have been opened to 53 cities in 23 SCO countries and countries along the Belt and Road, making it the largest arrival and departure site for China-Europe freight trains in Shandong Province and the ninth largest in China.

At the end of last year, the SCO International Hub Port was approved by the United Nations and obtained an international port code, and was included in the Action Plan of Qingdao for Building Shandong Demonstration Area in a Major Transportation Nation at the beginning of this year. 30 key logistics projects, including the Smart Highway Port, with a total investment of 80.2 billion yuan, are also being accelerated, and the level of logistics hubs linked to the multimodal transport of "sea, land, air and rail" has been upgraded.

Meanwhile, in the field of cultural and people-to-people exchanges, the China-SCO Institute of Economy and Trade was officially inaugurated and a council meeting was held, providing 106 courses for more than 8,900 people from SCO countries.

It is worth looking forward to that the newly launched Qingdao International Energy Exchange also comes with a daunting task. In 2023, it will integrate the resources of enterprises such as the East China Petroleum Exchange in the province, promote upstream and downstream enterprises of the refining industry in the province and the whole city to gather in SCODA, and ensure the realization of the "three ones"—100 traders to enter the market, the annual turnover of more than 100 billion yuan, and the international trade volume of 10 billion yuan.

Make Targeted Efforts in the Year of Breakthroughs

Despite the highly likely rebound in the Chinese economy compared with last year, many challenges remain. For example, as the advanced Western economies fall into recession, the export engine will be less powerful, which is why the new dual-circulation development pattern should be implemented at a faster pace.

For the export-oriented economy of Qingdao, the changed situation means to accelerate the active transformation of manufacturing and foreign trade. Such a prediction has already been shown in the "2+2" breakthrough priorities of SCODA this year, namely, accelerating the construction of version 2.0 of the SCO Comprehensive Service Platform, and version 2.0 of China-SCO Institute of Economy and Trade, and striving to build the COSMOPlat New City cluster and the SCO International Hub Port cluster.

In Zhang Dong's opinion, SCODA should continue to focus on logistics.

Taking the five Central Asian countries participating in the forum as an example, landlocked countries without access to the sea have urgent practical needs for ports. In order for SCODA to give full play to its demonstration effect, it is necessary to make good use of the SCO Comprehensive Service Platform to provide the five Central Asian countries with more convenient and efficient sea, land, air, and rail multimodal transport and one-stop logistics services.

The logistics park in Xinjiang jointly built by SCODA and Shandong Hi-Speed Group is a typical case. Pushing the "preposition warehouse" directly to the door of Central Asian countries is to promote trade expansion with logistics as the leading force, thus forming positive interactions.

In addition to the connectivity of "hardware" platforms, SCODA is also advancing the alignment of rules, standards, and industries.

Still take Central Asian countries as an example, the logistics cost of the international transport of their rich mineral resources is extremely high, so the originally cheap copper gets expensive once shipped to the southeast coastal areas of China. To solve this problem, SCODA is constantly exploring a new mode of cooperation—actively introducing industries and building an industrial chain from west to east, so that each value end can form the cooperation mode with the highest efficiency and the best distribution effect on the industrial chain.

Currently, SCODA has signed friendly cooperation memorandums with nine cities, industrial parks, and organizations, including Vitebsk of Belarus, Pengsheng Industrial Park of Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan Investment Cooperation Agency, promoting the implementation of six cooperation projects such as the SCO digital dual circulation cold chain train.

At the beginning of this year, Qingdao issued a list of key projects in 2023, and 11 projects from SCODA were included. These featured projects will focus on key industries and follow a more active "going out" and "bringing in" approach, so as to truly break through bottlenecks, improve connectivity and smooth circulation.

SCODA is poised to become a hub where international industrial, supply, trade, and value chains converge.

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