The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says more business-to-business projects are needed to drive economic cooperation amongst BRICS countries that include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Minister Davies was speaking during the investments opportunities session on the first day of the 6th annual meeting of BRICS Business Council that is taking place in Durban until tomorrow.
“It is important to emphasise that we need to identify many more practical business-to-business projects for implementation as a way of driving forward our economic cooperation and intra-BRICS business cooperation. BRICS as a block is of strategic importance in the current global environment that we find ourselves in today. We have entered a period of turbulence in the global trading system,” said Davies.
He attributed the turbulence to the largest and most powerful economy of the world which he said was raising tariffs in violation of a whole lot of trade agreements or arrangements they may have with different countries, and doing it on a discriminatory basis in violation of the World Trade Organisation principles.
“These actions are accompanied by growing disdain for multilateralism and global trade rules. I think at the end of the day this is all about setting a call for a rebalancing of the global trade environment to the perceived advantage of the individual country and without any sense whatsoever of being in the interest of the global economy, inclusive development or anything of that sort,” stressed Davies.
He added that the global world economic environment was also characterised by the 4th Industrial Revolution which will have far-reaching implications and impact.
“The presence of these new technologies that are already here is going to be felt exponentially and disruptively across the world. The artificial intelligence and all of the new technologies are happening in the context of the world where there is huge inequality and the winner-takes-all markets. We need to work together and support each other to ensure that these technologies achieve their positive potential to increase global productivity and create a better life for many citizens of the world,” appealed Davies.
He emphasised that BRICS had become an incredibly important and strategic institution as a third of the world’s population resides in the BRICS countries and the block contributes 22% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.
Davies also said South Africa’s trade relations with other BRICS states had increased significantly to the extent that China had become SA’s number one trading partner in the world as a source of imports and a destination of exports.
“India is in the top six while Russia and Brazil are lower down but have come up very significantly from where they used to be. If you look at our investment relationship, we can see that there has been less progress in regard to what we have recorded. The inflow of BRICS investments into the South African economy between 2003 and 2017 is nearly US$18bn, On the positive side there have been 189 projects that have created 36 850 jobs. That is a significant figure. But between 2001 and 2016 South Africa invested US$68 billion in other BRICS countries,” said Davies.
CAPTION: Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies addressing the 6th BRICS Business Council in Durban
Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
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Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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