China Suggests Free Trade Zone with Russia

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang called for a pooling of efforts to attain a free trade zone within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). At a session of the SCO council of prime ministers in December, Li pushed for member nations to establish the free movement of commodities, capitals, services, and technologies by 2020.

The SCO includes China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Last summer India and Pakistan initiated admission procedures. Member nations convene yearly on defense matters to maintain high-level contacts and implement security projects.

The permanent regional association, formed in Shanghai in 2001, is Russia and China’s counterbalance to NATO. The two nations regularly hold joint military exercises under the banner of the SCO.

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