SCO ministers to outline approaches toward establishing free trade area

Government ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member-states will present their approaches toward the establishment of a free trade area within the organization "by the next meeting between the heads of government" in summer 2016, Russian First Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexei Likhachyov told journalists.

In setting free trade area frameworks within the SCO, there is a need to take into consideration India's and Pakistan's expected accession to the organization and aspects of the establishment of preferential terms and conditions of trade between other countries with China, including the dates and formats, Likhachyov said.

The next meeting between the SCO heads of government is scheduled in Bishkek in 2016.

Premier of the Chinese State Council Li Keqiang came up with the proposal on setting up a free trade area within the SCO at an expanded meeting of the heads of government of the organization's member-states on Tuesday.

Uzbekistan had earlier refused to support China's proposal.

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