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BRICS corporate forum discusses shared challenges
China Daily | Updated: 2018-07-26 13:16

By An Baijie and Cao Desheng

President Xi Jinping has called for joint efforts with BRICS members to build a more open global economy and oppose trade protectionism.

Xi made the remark while addressing the BRICS Business Forum held in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 delegates from BRICS member countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — attended the gathering.

"A trade war should not be waged because no one will benefit from that," Xi said, adding that economic hegemony should be resisted as it harms the common interests of the international community.

BRICS countries should firmly oppose trade protectionism, promote free trade and investment facilitation, and help emerging markets and developing nations to play their part in the global market, Xi said.

The next decade will be a key period for global economic growth, Xi said, adding that it's an irreversible trend for emerging markets and developing nations to rise over the coming years.

During the BRICS Xiamen Summit held in China in September, BRICS members agreed to deepen strategic partnerships, strengthen cooperation on issues related to the economy, trade, politics, security and people-to-people exchanges, and set up the BRICS Plus platform, Xi said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his speech that BRICS leaders are gathering at a time when "the multilateral trading system is facing unprecedented challenges".

"We need to increase investment between BRICS countries, particularly in the productive sectors of our economies," he said.

The business forum has become an important and vital platform for cooperation between BRICS members, he said, adding that intra-BRICS cooperation has been gaining momentum in many areas including economy, health and culture.

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The BRICS Business Forum is part of the 10th BRICS Summit, themed "BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution".

In line with the theme, the event aimed to discuss the evolving global political economy and its implications for BRICS members, BRICS' role in trade and investment facilitation, promoting intra-BRICS cooperation, and fostering BRICS-Africa partnerships.

At the BRICS Business Council's annual plenary session on Monday, the council's chairman, Iqbal Surve, called on business leaders in the five member countries to build a community of shared interests and further implement the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership.

Petrus de Kock, director of research at the Brand South Africa consultancy, said in an interview that experts failed to foresee that BRICS would become such an important bulwark in defense of economic globalization, free trade and collective climate action in just a decade's time.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday in Johannesburg, South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said that current trade tensions pose one of the biggest challenges to strong and sustainable growth, adding that South Africa is opposed to a protectionist approach.

Cooperating to encourage global trade

By Sikhumbuzo Zondi

In view of great trade uncertainties facing the global economic landscape, the role of BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — in sustaining international trade is of paramount importance. It can be safely assumed that BRICS and other multilateral groupings such as the G20 and the World Trade Organization will continue to foster international trade despite the uncertainties arising from the actions of the Trump administration.

This comes as finance ministers and central bank governors from the world’s 20 largest economies called for the heightening of bilateral and multilateral discussions to prevent trade and geopolitical tensions from hurting global growth. This happens at a time when the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies, don’t see eye to eye on a host of trade and trade-related issues.

All the BRICS member countries agreed during the G20 meeting of finance ministers to strengthen multilateral cooperation and uphold economic globalization. Close cooperation between BRICS member states and other emerging and developing countries from the South such as Mexico and Turkey will likely continue to boost global trade, because their growth and that of the global economy relies on active trade interactions and they all oppose protectionist policies. This is because more and more economies primarily those from the North such as the European Union, Canada and Japan understand that sustainable growth rests on international trade flows.

Therefore, in order to not jeopardize international trade, and make the US president realize his mistake and reverse his trade decisions, these economies have taken retaliatory actions (or are considering to do so) against the additional US tariffs.

Despite the expected slowdown in global economic growth due to the US-ignited tariff war, one might argue that the world seems united against Trump’s protectionist “America First” policy. The BRICS countries could play bigger role in mediating between the two largest economies as well as encouraging global trade, by fostering cooperation between themselves and the economies in their regions.

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BRICS looks to a second golden decade of global cooperation

Given that the net contribution of BRICS member states to the global trade turnover has nearly tripled since Jim O’Neill, former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, coined the term “BRIC” in 2001. Also, this indicates the growing role BRICS has been playing in international trade flows.

HYPERLINKThe rising contributions of BRICS countries to global trade flows are evidence of the increasing role the group is playing in international trade. And BRICS will continue making greater contributions to and encouraging international trade given that the group itself was founded on the principle of multilateralism and global cooperation, and all its member states are committed to building an economically prosperous and stable world.

BRICS is also a bloc of the most prominent emerging economies that have economic and political influence in world affairs and a strong desire for promoting infrastructure and sustainable development projects within the bloc as well as in other emerging and developing countries.

The author is a research assistant at the Institute for Global Dialogue associated with the University of South Africa. The author contributed this article to China Watch exclusively. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of China Watch.

All rights reserved. Copying or sharing of any content for other than personal use is prohibited without prior written permission.

BRICS: a stronger platform in defense of multilateralism

By Evandro Menezes de Carvalho

The 10th BRICS summit begins with the responsibility to affirm, through concrete actions, the commitment of the five countries to support trade multilateralism and democratization of the international system in the face of the threat of the expansion of trade protectionism and unilateralism due to the trade war initiated by the United States. This trade war will have negative repercussions on the growth of the world economy and will impose greater difficulties to the developing countries. In addition, it weakens the WTO, further deepening the crisis of the effectiveness and legitimacy of the organization.

Unilateral measures that cause widespread damage to a number of countries may lose their "protective" character of the domestic market and jobs to become a sort of "act of aggression" against markets and jobs in other countries. The WTO was created precisely to be the institutional-normative framework of reference for the countries in determining their limits of the action in the international trade in order to promote a "competition" and not a commercial "war" between them.

Given this context, it is necessary for the BRICS countries to dismantle all the pitfalls of unilateralist rhetoric and US protectionist measures through the emphatic support of the multilateral trading system of the WTO and the increase of intra-BRICS commerce. And in this regard, much has to be done as China is the only one of the five countries that have substantial bilateral trade relations with each of the four BRICS countries.

The deepening of intra-BRICS trade must be accompanied by the enlargement of BRICS as a political and economic platform. World Bank reports have been shown the trend of increased participation of these emerging countries in the world economy. So, if there is a vertical deepening of intra-BRICS trade relations to be done, on the other hand, the horizontal extension of BRICS in order to admit new members will promote the democratization of the international system. However, the enlargement process must take into account certain criteria, including the maintenance of the BRICS' original reformist agenda towards some international organizations. In this respect, probably the WTO must be the one that also needs to be reformed.

Finally, the BRICS countries could each one promote initiatives that can strengthen international trade. China gives the example. On Nov 5-10 this year China will stage the first China International Import Expo (CIEE) in Shanghai. The country that became known as the exporting nation now wants to buy foreign goods and services to supply the growing domestic demand for more and better products. This event, which will have more than 100 countries and regions, is an example of an initiative that favors the promotion of international trade. The BRICS Business Council could play a more active role in the expo and also envision similar initiatives for the future.

It is time for concrete initiatives. BRICS has the opportunity to react positively against the unilateralism and protectionism, without letting itself be paralyzed by the current obstacles imposed by the United States. Contrary to what may be assumed, this current moment is a great opportunity for BRICS to show its commitment to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

The author is head of the Brazil-China Studies Center at FGV-Brazil.The author contributed this article to China Watch exclusively. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of China Watch.

All rights reserved. Copying or sharing of any content for other than personal use is prohibited without prior written permission.

By An Baijie and Cao Desheng

President Xi Jinping has called for joint efforts with BRICS members to build a more open global economy and oppose trade protectionism.

Xi made the remark while addressing the BRICS Business Forum held in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 delegates from BRICS member countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — attended the gathering.

"A trade war should not be waged because no one will benefit from that," Xi said, adding that economic hegemony should be resisted as it harms the common interests of the international community.

BRICS countries should firmly oppose trade protectionism, promote free trade and investment facilitation, and help emerging markets and developing nations to play their part in the global market, Xi said.

The next decade will be a key period for global economic growth, Xi said, adding that it's an irreversible trend for emerging markets and developing nations to rise over the coming years.

During the BRICS Xiamen Summit held in China in September, BRICS members agreed to deepen strategic partnerships, strengthen cooperation on issues related to the economy, trade, politics, security and people-to-people exchanges, and set up the BRICS Plus platform, Xi said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his speech that BRICS leaders are gathering at a time when "the multilateral trading system is facing unprecedented challenges".

"We need to increase investment between BRICS countries, particularly in the productive sectors of our economies," he said.

The business forum has become an important and vital platform for cooperation between BRICS members, he said, adding that intra-BRICS cooperation has been gaining momentum in many areas including economy, health and culture.

READ MORE

BRICS going digital to fulfill new goals

Time for BRICS to consider the road ahead

Emerging bloc has challenges and missions ahead

The BRICS Business Forum is part of the 10th BRICS Summit, themed "BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution".

In line with the theme, the event aimed to discuss the evolving global political economy and its implications for BRICS members, BRICS' role in trade and investment facilitation, promoting intra-BRICS cooperation, and fostering BRICS-Africa partnerships.

At the BRICS Business Council's annual plenary session on Monday, the council's chairman, Iqbal Surve, called on business leaders in the five member countries to build a community of shared interests and further implement the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership.

Petrus de Kock, director of research at the Brand South Africa consultancy, said in an interview that experts failed to foresee that BRICS would become such an important bulwark in defense of economic globalization, free trade and collective climate action in just a decade's time.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday in Johannesburg, South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said that current trade tensions pose one of the biggest challenges to strong and sustainable growth, adding that South Africa is opposed to a protectionist approach.

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