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Russia offers trade partners to join its SWIFT alternative

Russia offers trade partners to join its SWIFT alternative

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Russia has offered countries belonging to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to join its financial messaging system (SPFS), the Russian equivalent of SWIFT. Moscow wants to boost the volume of settlements in national currencies, the country's Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said on Tuesday.

“In order to ensure uninterrupted cooperation between our banks, we suggest that members of the organization join the Russian financial messaging system,” Reshetnikov said in his video address to participants at the SCO forum in Uzbekistan, reports RT.

Reshetnikov noted that SCO countries need to continue to promote full compatibility of national payment systems and boost the volume of mutual settlements in national currencies.

“We already see positive results, for example, a quarter of the trade turnover between Russia and China is settled in rubles and yuan,” Reshetnikov said.

The SCO currently comprises eight member states: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, while its partners and associates also include Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Mongolia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka. The organization’s work focuses mainly on security issues, but it also deals with regional development tasks.

Russia has been actively promoting its domestic financial messaging system ever since being cut off from SWIFT as part of Western sanctions imposed on the country over the conflict in Ukraine. Both facilitate financial transactions between banks, but Russia’s SPFS was used only in Russia up until this year, while SWIFT is an internationally adopted system.