BRICS nations to deepen ties

Updated: 2012-12-05 09:17

By Wei Tian (China Daily)

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Five countries are also expected to speed up development bank launch

BRICS countries should intensify trade ties and speed up cooperation on setting up the BRICS Development Bank, as they become a main driver of the global economy in 2013, officials and experts said.

BRICS nations to deepen ties

Chen Deming (second right), China's minister of commerce, attends the BRICS Summit Forum in New Delhi on March 28 along with his counterparts from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa. [Vijay Mathur / Reuters]

Zhu Guangyao, vice-minister of finance, said he expected the idea of establishing the BRICS Development Bank, currently under a feasibility study, to be accelerated with initial findings expected at the summit of BRICS countries' leaders in Durban, South Africa, in March next year.

He said this will be part of efforts to intensify economic cooperation among Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in trade, trade financing and infrastructure construction.

"The global economy still faces uncertainties in 2013 ... and there will be less participation by European banks in global trade amid the ongoing debt woes," he said, adding that BRICS nations should have a bigger say in global economic and financial affairs.

India first suggested forming a BRICS Development Bank in February this year, financed by developing countries, and acting as an alternative to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Speaking at a forum organized by Economic Daily on Tuesday, Zhu said: "Underdeveloped infrastructure is still a bottleneck for economic development in some emerging economies, and needs massive credit support.

"We hope the establishment of the BRICS Development Bank will help better support these projects."

Zhu added: "Amid weak global trade, which will grow by only 2.5 percent this year, it is a common obligation for BRICS countries to fight against trade protectionism and unleash their potential."

Jim O'Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, expects the combined growth of BRICS economies to improve from an estimated 6.1 percent this year to 6.9 percent in 2013, amid global economic expansion of 3.6 percent for next year.

O'Neill said BRICS countries each face their own challenges, such as Brazil hoping to see some response from a considerable monetary and fiscal stimulus, and Russia eager to shift away from energy dependency.

In China, the big challenge is to sustain the signs of a shift to consumption-led growth, which is looking encouraging, he said.

However, O'Neill said no one should exaggerate the importance of the European and US problems as worsening the environment for BRICS countries.

Li Rongcan, assistant commerce minister, said trade exchanges among BRICS countries exceeded $320 billion in 2011, six times the amount of 10 years ago.

In 2011, China's trade value with the other four BRICS countries amounted to $280 billion, and has exceeded $250 billion in the first 10 months of this year. Meanwhile, China's overseas investment in the four countries reached $23 billion.

"The countries should continue widening their trade and investment exchanges, to seek a better position in the global value chain," Li said.

Huo Jianguo, president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, a think tank affiliated to the Commerce Ministry, said bilateral trade ties among the five countries need to be further strengthened.

BRICS countries are in similar stages of economic development, and their trade structures are more or less the same, thus they are competing with one another on exports to developed markets, Huo said.  

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