Time ripe for doubling intra-BRICS trade to US$ 500 bn. in next few years
New Delhi: The BRICS Business Forum 2012 is being held here on March 28, 2012 on the theme ‘BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Security & Prosperity’. The BRICS business forum comes at a time when the Western markets are shrinking, the quest is for alternative markets and diversification of export destinations. Global trade data reveals that the BRICS countries together account for about US$ 4.7 trillion in global trade. Of this, intra-BRICS trade is just about US$ 230 billion. This certainly indicates the huge potential that exists in raising intra-BRICS trade. Therefore, the first agenda that BRICS Business Forum must set for itself is to evolve strategies on how intra-BRICS trade can be enhanced.
FICCI feels that as a target BRICS countries should aim to double intra-BRICS trade to US$ 500 billion in the next few years. Moving in this direction would be imperative as the Western world would no longer be able to offer the kind of demand that it has for long for our exports.” BRICS influence on the world is significant. The total population of the BRICS members makes up 42 per cent of the world population, the size of their land 30 per cent of the world total, their GDP 18 per cent of the world total, their trade volume 16 per cent of the world total and their foreign exchange reserve 45 per cent of the world total.
The inaugural session of the forum will commence with a special address by Mr. Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textilesfollowed by an Interactive Ministerial session where his counterparts Mr. Fernando Pimente from Brazil, Mr. Chen Deming from China, Ms. Elvira Nabiullina from Russia and Mr. Rob Davis from South Africa will participate.
The themes that will be discussed in the day-long forum are: Enhancing financial connectivity for increasing trade and investment; Cooperation among BRICS countries for energy security with focus on green and renewable energy; The role of ICT and innovation in improving business among BRICS member countries; Importance of cooperation in life sciences to BRICS growth potential; and Role of BRICS countries in ensuring global food security.
At the closing session, Mr. Sudhir Vyas, Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs, will deliver a special address. Also, a‘Joint Statement of BRICS Business Forum 2012’ will be announced, followed by addresses from Ms. Futhi Mtoba, Chairman Deloitte Africa Board and President Business Unity South Africa and Mr. Nadaba Ntsele, Co-founder, Pamodzi Property Developers.
The present meeting of the BRICS leadership along with the BRICS Business Forum assumes great significance. The BRICS economies collectively carry a lot of economic weight and there is no denying the fact that while they may be experiencing a slowdown in economic activity in their respective countries, but they continue to be an important engine for driving global growth. The
BRICS nations will only find themselves assuming a larger role in determining the direction of the global economy.
Each country belonging to BRICS has its own strength areas. Brazil is an agricultural power house and a large producer of several commodities. Russia holds one of the largest reserves of oil and gas in the world. India has acknowledged strengths in services sector. China is a manufacturing superpower and has emerged as the largest exporter of goods. South Africa is home to huge
mineral reserves. With such diverse areas of strength, each country can support the other and take part in each other’s respective growth and development programs.While boosting trade is paramount, there are several areas where fruitful opportunities for cooperation exist amongst the BRICS countries. Some of these areas include – Energy, Agriculture, Healthcare & Pharma and Infrastructure.
Some other important dimensions of engagement at the BRICS level are the meetings of members of the respective national statistical organizations as well as development banks. Meetings amongst think tanks, academicians and economic research institutes have also been held.
The interactions therefore are wide ranging and discussions in the past indicate that as a group BRICS are developing a comprehensive agenda for mutual engagement. Today, while discussions on the state of global economy figure uppermost on the agenda item, as a group the BRICS network is debating and contributing meaningfully in areas as wide as climate change, food security, energy security, MDGs and terrorism. Further, on several global public policy issues such as trade negotiations at WTO and governance reforms at multilateral institutions, BRICS countries are trying to form common positions.
Further, the Business Forum has been institutionalized and has become an integral part of the BRICS annual agenda. Greater economic engagement is a cornerstone of relations amongst countries and it is only natural to expect that as the economic weight of the BRICS countries in the world increases, their own commercial engagements would get strengthened.