BRICS Business Forum: Joining Forces to Achieve Stable Economic Growth
BRICS Business Forum: Joining Forces to Achieve Stable Economic Growth was held on June 16, 2016 as part of the 20th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Representatives of Russia, India and South Africa participated in the Forum.
At this Forum, development prospects and diversification of economic cooperation between the BRICS countries were discussed, as well as the tools to support investment activity and the role of BRICS New Development Bank. The Forum was moderated by Sergei Katyrin, Chairman of the Russian Section of the SCO Business Council, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.
The Russian BRICS agenda was outlined by the First Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Alexay Likhachev: support of trade, settlements in national currencies, setup of preferential commodity flows and interaction in the area of small business. Mr. Likhachev pointed out that 2015 had been the most difficult year for BRICS in terms of foreign trade indicators. However, following the four months of 2016 the commodity turnover between the five countries went 6.5% up in natural terms, while Russian export to other BRICS countries grew by 7.5%.
In the opinion of Shiv Vikram Khemka, Vice-Chairman of the SUN Group the main task of the Five is to develop a new strategy of human capital deployment. “It is critical to provide people with education and make jobs for them. There are plenty of new professions emerging every day that we don’t even imagine”, Mr. Khemka noted.
Mzwandile Collen Masina, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa reported growth of direct foreign investments into the African economy, especially from China and India. These investments play an important part and stimulate other countries to do the same, Mr. Masina pointed out. He called all the BRICS members for considering Africa as a partner.
General Director of Expocentre Sergey Bednov spoke about participation of the Five in Russian exhibitions. Thus, over 6 thousand Chinese companies take part in Russian exhibitions every year. Indian companies are noticeably active too – 400 participants. Mr. Bednov also stressed the importance of coordinating exhibition activities of the member countries in order not to hold exhibitions on similar topics or in the same time.
Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board of the State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank) Sergey Vasiliev called the creation of BRICS New Development Bank an important milestone. “However so far the first pool of projects looks as follows: the countries have made their contributions to the charter capital and got them back in the form of investments. The projects are local and by far significant, however with this Bank we expected to see some additional synergy. So far this is not the case”, Mr. Vasiliev noted.
Another important issue for the Development Bank operation in the eyes of Deputy Chairman of Vnesheconombank is the use of local currencies. US dollars are used for financing at the moment.
Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy, Innovative Development and Entrepreneurship Anatoliy Aksakov called for establishment of mutual representative offices of the central banks of the Five member countries. Mr. Aksakov believes that this would help setting up a continuous dialogue and solving problems.
President of the Confederation of Indian Industry Naushad Darius Forbes expressed his support towards diversification of trade and business in general, which shall help solving many problems of the BRICS countries. Such diversification should be based on three principles: consumption record, private sector development and innovations.
The New Development Bank (NDB) President Kundapur Vaman Kamath was one of the concluding speakers. He affirmed the willingness to switch to financing in local currency as early as by the close of this year, which would decrease costs and expenditures. “The first loans have been already extended, and we expect to build up our assistance to the BRICS members”, Mr. Kamath concluded.