BEIJING: As part of a positive trend of South-South cooperation, China imported products worth 70.2 billion U.S. dollars from BRICS countries in the first half of 2017, up 33.6 percent on year to year basis, according to its Ministry of Commerce. The stats came out in the framework of the annual meeting in Shanghai of the Ministers of Trade of the BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, who began laying the ground for the group”s summit late this year. Holder of the BRICS presidency this year, China will host the 9th BRICS summit in September in Xiamen, Fujian Province. Contributing nearly one-quarter of global economic output and half of world economic growth, BRICS nations play a significant role in the global economy and governance. They have created a new paradigm for cooperation between emerging and developing countries since the mechanism was established in 2006 and much remains to be done, experts agree.
In shanghai, the group’s Trade ministers agreed to work together to oppose protectionism and increase mutual investment, and called on other nations to join on this endeavor, Xinhuanet reported. As key members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), they encouraged more countries to participate in the organization’s work, urging the institution to show more commitment to the least developed countries when there are emerging sings of a slightly better performance of world economy. WTO recently projected this year’s global trade will grow at 2.4 percent, up from last year’s 1.3 percent. A large portion of the WTO’s cautious optimism comes from a recovering global economy, however, protectionism shows no signs of abating. ‘Safeguarding the multilateral trade system and combating protectionism serve the interests of emerging and developing economies,’ Zhong Shan, China’s Minister of Commerce, said Tuesday.
E-commerce cooperation can be a new driver of trade among BRICS nations. A plan on service trade was also agreed with expanded cooperation in tourism, education and health care and intellectual property rights, the ministers agreed in Shanghai. The group’s ministers and experts assure mutual investment can boost the global economy and employment. Outward bound BRICS investment was just under 197 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, but investment between the five nations accounted for only 6 percent of that. Ministers also recognized the need for policy transparency, improved efficiency and services, and capacity building for inclusive, sustainable growth.