BEIJING, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said on Friday that increased economic activity within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO) will help its member countries to overcome their economic weaknesses.
The Pakistani leader pinned high hopes on the economic prospects of the SCO. Countries within the SCO can benefit from each other's strengths and make up for each others' weaknesses, he said.
According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, the total trade volume of SCO member states reached 4.65 trillion U.S. dollars in 2011, an increase of 25.1 percent year on year.
China's trade with other SCO member states rose from 12.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2001 to 113.4 billion dollars in 2011. China has become Russia's largest trading partner, as well as the second largest trading partner of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the data showed.
Statistics released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showed that the total GDP volume of all six SCO members reached 9.39 trillion dollars last year despite the impact of the global financial crisis. In 2001, the year the SCO was established, the figure was 1.67 trillion dollars.
Another advantage of the SCO is its capacity to enable countries within the bloc to address shared disadvantages, according to Zardari.
This year marks the beginning of the second decade of the SCO. When voicing his expectations for the SCO's development over the next decade, Zardari said he hopes nations within the SCO will come to a common understanding of the political challenges they face.
The president said he believes people-to-people exchanges among SCO member states, observers and dialogue partners are bound to increase in the next decade.
Zardari arrived in Beijing on Tuesday night to visit China and attend the SCO Beijing summit held Wednesday to Thursday. Pakistan is an SCO observer state.
On Thursday, Zardari held talks with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, during which Hu called for deepened pragmatic cooperation between the two neighbors, especially in sectors relating to trade, energy and infrastructure construction.
During the talks, Zardari said he welcomes Chinese enterprises to expand investment in Pakistan, especially in infrastructure construction and energy, so as to safeguard Pakistan's economic development and improve its people's living standards.
The SCO was founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001 and currently has six full members -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Prior to Thursday's inclusion of Afghanistan as an observer state and Turkey as a dialogue partner, the SCO had four observer states (Mongolia, Iran, Pakistan and India) and two dialogue partners (Belarus and Sri Lanka).