The Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (Brics) alignment offered its members "massive" trade opportunities, which must be exploited. So affirmed Brics Business Council South Africa Chapter chairperson Busi Mabuza on Wednesday. She was addressing the Brics Business Council mid-term meeting in Johannesburg.
"What brings us all here is of course our commitment to creating a shared and prosperous future," she stressed. The Business Council was intended to strengthen business ties between, and businesses within, the Brics countries. Hopefully, she noted, this would lead to the identification of trade bottlenecks and allow business to approach the various governments to remove these and facilitate trade.
She pointed out that the global trade landscape was changing, and that the global trends were not favourable for trade. South Africans considered themselves to be very fortunate that the country was one of the Brics nations.
Each business community in the different Brics countries could learn from each other, she averred. Each member country had unique strengths that could benefit the other countries as well.
Brics Business Council Brazil Chapter representative José Serrano emphasised that the council "has been a very important council for working with the governments of each of the countries we have met. ... Since its creation [in 2013], the council has never stopped meeting .... Which shows the strengthening of the council."
"In terms of our business interactions, I believe we have made good progress in the last six years," highlighted Brics Business Council India Chapter representative (Mr) Naveen Kapur. "Today, we have nine working groups." Some of these had matured and were now close to making major proposals, which would be presented to the five governments.
"Strengthening trade cooperation among Brics countries has become even more important," he stated. This was because of protectionist trends around the world. The Brics business communities needed to lobby their governments to facilitate trade within the alignment.
"More and more companies are participating in this great platform," enthused Brics Business Council China Chapter representative Lu Yimin. He, Mabuza, Serrano and Kapur all, in their addresses, stressed the developing relationship between the Business Council and the New Development Bank, popularly called the Brics Bank.
The purpose of the mid-term meeting was to prepare for the plenary meeting of the Business Council in November, which would be held in São Paulo, Brazil. All the foreign delegation leaders praised their South African hosts for the way in which they had organised and were hosting the meeting.