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BRICS Business Council discusses trade, investment in Fortaleza meet
July 14, 2014, 11:17 pm

At a forum organized by Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI), BRICS business leaders debated trade opportunities and new investments [TBP]

At a forum organized by Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI), BRICS business leaders debated trade opportunities and new investments [TBP]

Ahead of the 6th BRICS Leaders Summit, the BRICS Business Council met in Fortaleza on Monday to discuss ways to enhance intra-BRICS trade and investment.

At a forum organized by Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI), BRICS business leaders debated trade opportunities and new investments.

New BRICS chair Brazil stressed that there was more collaboration rather than competition between companies from member states.

Over 500 business people attended the summit with host Brazil having the highest representation followed by China, South Africa, India and Russia.

The outgoing chairman of the BRICS Business Council, South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe , handed over the baton to Rubens De La Rosa from Brazil as the new chair of the Council at the Events Center of Ceará in Fortaleza.

Business networking, which is one of the main aims of conferences such as the BRICS summit, was divided into ten sectors- agro-processing, logistics, mining, machinery, information technology, medical, energy, services, government and business organisations.

South African state-owned logistics company Transnet CEO Brian Molefe noted the close collaboration between South African companies such as Grindrod and Brazilian firms such as Vale in Mozambique.

“We see the port of Maputo as complementary to our South African ports such as Durban. We have seen a 25 per cent growth in container and automotive traffic in the past financial year and that has continued in the current financial year. One of our objectives is to play a developmental role and that is why we seek to collaborate with our BRICS partners so that we and our respective hinterlands benefit from improved logistics,” he told The BRICS Post after he had delivered a speech on economic integration: challenges for sustainable growth.

The theme of the 6th BRICS summit is “inclusive growth: sustainable solutions”.

While debating greater BRICS business integration, panel members said that each BRICS member should see other BRICS members as gateways to the countries in the vicinity.

“As noted in Durban last year at the Fifth BRICS summit, South Africa positioned itself as the gateway to the rest of Africa. In the same way Brazil is a gateway to the rest of South America, Russia to its neighbours, India to its neighbours and China to its neighbours. We should also note the collaboration between the private and public sectors, which promotes economic integration,” said Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Part of the integration dialogue was also that of shared experiences, so what worked in one BRICS country could be replicated in other BRICS countries.

“India for example has had a very successful scheme promoting small businesses since 1958, so South Africa can learn from their experience,” Ndaba Ntsele, the President of the Black Business Council from South Africa said.

“In Brazil we have had many years of developing technology for farming in tropical areas, so that is something we can share with African countries,” Marcos Jank, the executive director for global public and governmental affairs from BRF Brazil noted.

The Brazilian Minister for Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Mauro Borges said the BRICS Development Bank was not a competitor to multilateral funding institutions such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.

“The focus of the BRICS Development Bank will be on infrastructure, which is different to the mandate of the World Bank for instance. China for instance has built up considerable expertise in building railways, so Brazil can learn from that experience. Infrastructure is critical for us to reach our long-term goals and is key to our competiveness,” he said in a media briefing to conclude Monday’s events.

In 2013, at the summit in Durban, South Africa, the BRICS members launched the Business Council designed to strengthen business ties among the member states.

BRICS are set to launch two critical institutions: a new development Bank and a $100 billion Contingency Reserve Arrangement. The five countries can ask for aid from the CRA citing capital outflow, pressure on foreign currency markets and sharp national currency fall.

“It is important for our countries to have a kind of mini-IMF,” said Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov earlier in Moscow.


Helmo Preuss in Fortaleza for The BRICS Post

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