BRICS nations working to facilitate intra-grouping trade
New Delhi: BRICS countries are currently moving ahead in areas in which the five member-countries can easily cooperate such as trade facilitation, said an Indian government official. "We are leaving out contentious issues at the moment and focusing on areas where we can most easily cooperate," Zothan Khuma, joint secretary in the commerce ministry told IANS. Khuma listed out the areas of such cooperation as being customs, trade facilitation and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries command a gross domestic product of $13.7 trillion and the New Delhi Leaders' Summit in March this year asked the countries to strive to achieve an intra-grouping trade of $500 billion by 2015.
Khuma said in the SME sector, Russian diplomats have proposed a "technology platform" whereby Russian patent holders would cooperate with the private sector in BRICS countries for incubating specific technologies towards their commercially viable production. E-commerce development and investment cooperation were also identified as areas of cooperation.
A BRICS contact group on economic and trade issues was formed last year to initiate cooperation in the identified areas.
Another official, Usha Titus, director in India's finance ministry, said the proposed BRICS Development Bank would be important to mobilise savings towards addressing global infrastructure issues like energy requirements, which are estimated to need investments of $33 trillion in the next 25 years, and 64 percent of which would be needed in the developing economies.
Participating in a seminar, "BRICS Trade Investment and Finance Cooperation" here earlier this week, financial analyst Bandi Ram Prasad said there is great possibility of intra-BRICS finance cooperation.
He pointed out that India ranked among the top five nations in equity derivatives and is also among the top three in commodity futures, while China is ahead of the table in terms of both value of stocks and market capitalization.
Putting in perspective the significance of the multilateral group in the global context, Dinesh Bhatia, joint secretary in the external affairs ministry, said BRICS is emerging as a factor of stability and growth in view of the global economic crisis.
The EU has praised BRICS as an attempt at an orderly reform of the global governance system.
The seminar was organised jointly by the New Delhi based think-tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and Jaipur-based NGO, CUTS International.