Two Extraordinary SCO-Days
Shakeel Ahmad Ramay
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)Summit 8-9 June, concluded with the
message of hope and promise of working for mutual benefit. President Xi
emphasized to pave way for constructive engagement and come out of shell of
selfishness and self-centered approaches and actions. He showed willingness to
lead the way for greater global integration and cooperation. Russia chipped in
and put greater importance to acknowledge and respect international agreements
like Iran Nuclear deal. Beijing and Moscow both stressed the need of mutual
respect and joint working to look for sustainable solutions and prosperity.
On contrary, G-7 Summit 8-9 June, ended with chaos and without joint communiqué.
President Trump lashes out on G-7 and especially on Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.
Mr. Trump reached deliberately late to attend the Summit lift before the final
press appearance. Mr. Trump considers the Europe, integral part of G-7, even
bigger threat to USA’s interest than China in the context trade deficit. Before
leaving for G-7 Summit Trump administration introduced a new set of tariffs on
steel and aluminum import from Canada, Mexico and European Union, which will
have severe implications for these countries. USA is largest import market of
steel worth $29bn in 2017 and its action will impact global steel and aluminum
Trump considered it legitimate action as diary sector faces a tariff around 270
percent from Canada. According to him EU and Mexico are also making profit at
the cost of US interests. However, these countries think differently. They
consider it unfair treatment by USA. These countries have taken retaliatory
measures and imposed correspondence tariff measures. Jean-Claude Juncker,
president of the European Commission said EU will impose tariff, which will have
relevance for about $7.5bnworthtrade volume. It would be really harmful for EU,
US and rest of world’s trade, as the trade volume between EU and USA is more
than one trillion US$ excluding Canada and Mexico. USA imports stuff worth of
$593bn and export $501bn. In line with EU,Canada is also devising new set of
tariffs, which will affect $12.8bn trade volume.
These tariff measures are in addition to action against China. Although the
trade deficit is huge with China (import $524, export $187) but both countries
are benefiting form trade at large. It is giving impetus many related industries
of both countries. China is trying to avoid the trade war but it retreated that
it is ready to fight it.
Mr. Trump also questioned the status of NATO, along with these economic and
trade measures. He is of point of view that America is bearing the major cost
for the security of Europe and member states of NATO. Europe on one side is
incurring trade benefits and on other side also getting security at the expense
of US. He wants to change this and is asking European countries to take
responsibility of their own security and contribute more. European leaders are
now pondering on, how they can manage their own security. Ms. Angela Merkel is
already pressing European leaders to think about their own measures and actions
for the security of Europe and individual countries.
USA actions at trade, economic and security fronts are badly impacting global
economic and governance model and arrangements. It is perceived that a new trade
war is on horizons. USA at this point is only thinking about its benefits even
at the cost of other countries and regions. Retaliatory measures by other
countries are further complicating the situation. It seems that President Trump
is opposing system of global integration, which USA created along with allies
At a time, when USA seems to trigger trade war and undermine its
responsibilities as global leader China seems to be eager to take lead to lead
the world in all aspects. SCO summit concluded with a very positive note and
firm belief in global order and trade. Qingdao Declaration has all elements to
consider it, new global agenda and order.
Declaration starts with the need of cooperation of solving the current problem
of world. It pinpoints the required efforts to tackle the issues through mutual
cooperation and trust. Mr. Xi said, there is need to work together and think
about the shared prosperity and come out of selfish action. Selfish actions will
only damage the entire world and no one will be winner. Qingdao declaration also
talks about the importance to accommodate special needs of developing countries.
Mr. Xi promised an amount of $4.7bn for loans to promote development in SCO
countries. Region and beyond the region connectivity was also discussed and it
was agreed that connectivity will be enhanced to promote trade and economic
It was proposed to work for creation of SCO Development Bank and SCO Development
Fund. It would be a great step forward in the presence of Asian Infrastructure
Development Bank, PRI Fund etc. It will contribute to give impetus to rapid
development and eradicating poverty in SCO countries. Declaration is strong
indication of that China and SCO countries are moving toward a trade and
economic system, which will be built on “Mutual Benefit” concept.
It also reinforces the importance of global order of security and governance. It
talked about at length about the UN measures to counter terrorism and extremism
to enhance security for durable peace and prosperity. It also urges to align
efforts for connectivity and promoting research, scientific cooperation etc. in
line with UN. Qingdao declaration also gave a special attention and focus to
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in accordance with its spirit of no one
left behind. It has been emphasized that developed countries should take lead to
fulfill their obligation under the SDGs.
Overall Qingdao declaration is a document of hope and positive engagement. Its
relevance enhanced in the presence of chaos being created by President Trump,
which ultimate is culminating G-7 summit. G-7 summit contributed to accelerate
speed of disengagement and selfish decisions. There was a time when G-7 provides
guidance and leads the way for cooperative governance and trade. Now G-7 is
looking for guidance. Group is struggling to come up with ideas to minimize
differences among themselves.
On other hand SCO summit shows that China along with its partners like Russia,
Pakistan, SCO members and other countries trying to consolidate its position at
global stage. China is busy in strengthening old institutions and creating new
one to spread its influence but with the objective of shared prosperity. Now it
is taking lead in resolving outstanding issues of region and beyond the region.
China is applying multiple instruments to solve Afghan issue in a peaceful way.
It is also looking for innovative solutions for Syria and other world problems.
However, China is making sure that it does not intrude in sovereignty of
individual countries. It is emphasizing that there should be indigenous
solutions, led by the people of host country. Like in Afghanistan and Syrian
case China is emphasizing the role of local people.
Comparison of two events, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and G-7 summits on
8-9 June undoubtedly spills out the changing dynamics. World is going through a
phase of re-arrangement of alliances and preferences. USA is acting alone to
maximize its benefits at any cost. Global order is facing multiple challenges
due to actions of USA. Allies of USA especially EU and other Northern countries
are in state of shock. They do not know how to react and how to mend the damage,
which has been inflicted by USA.
China is emerging as a global leader, which emphasizes the need of global system
and integration. It talks about shared destination and development but not at
the cost of other countries. It is pleasantly interesting to note that China is
opening up at time, when the creators of global integration are moving in other
direction. President Mr. Xi has clearly signaled that China will do every thing
to promote globalization of trade and economic development. It makes really good
sense for China to pursue this agenda as it is anticipated that China will
contribute 30 percent to global GDP in coming decade.
China is also taking lead to solve outstanding security issues and conflicts.
North Korea has been persuaded by China to be engaged in positive and
constructive talks. It ultimately culminated in special summit between North
Korea and USA. It is big break through in the context of recent events and hypes
between USA and North Korea. China is also heavily engaged in back door
diplomacy to find out solutions for Afghan and Syrian conflicts.
Globally China is trying to play leadership role in containing and defeating
terrorism, extremism and separatism across the world. It has taken lead to
resolve the regional outstanding issues and bring regional countries close.
Model of Chinese diplomacy is unique in the context that it does not create
hype.It also believes in engaging with all stakeholders and building
partnerships for solutions.For example it is closely working with Russia,
another global power, to look for sustainable solutions.
In conclusion there is no other opinion is that world dynamics are changing, but
the question is what Pakistan to should do to benefit from it and avoid and
possible harm. Pakistan must reorient its diplomacy on the basis of real time
assessment of it’s strengthens and weakness and be part of global agenda in a
positive and constructive way.Pakistan should also avoid mistakes, which it
committed in past and do not fell prey of any other country’s interests or
(The writer is the Director Research Uptake and Business Development Head for
Centre for Future Policy)