BRICS to play key role in safe­guard­ing free trade

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By REN XIAOJIN renx­i­ao­jin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China will fur­ther open up its mar­ket for im­ports from other BRICS coun­tries and pledge to spear­head an an­tipro­tec­tion­ism cam­paign with Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia and South Africa, a se­nior com­merce of­fi­cial said on Tues­day.

“In­vest­ment and trade are the vi­tal eco­nomic drive for BRICS coun­ties as it has pro­found po­ten­tial,” Wang Shouwen, vice-min­is­ter of com­merce, said at a news con­fer­ence.

“BRICS took up 23 per­cent of global GDP in 2016, up from 12 per­cent a decade ago, but only ac­counted for 16 per­cent of world trade, 16 per­cent of to­tal for­eign in­vest­ment and 12 per­cent of out­bound in­vest­ment.”

Wang said that China will fur­ther open its mar­ket to other BRICS coun­tries and in­crease im­ports, as they are highly com­ple­men­tary in trade.

“For ex­am­ple, agri­cul­tural prod­ucts from Brazil, med­i­cal prod­ucts from In­dia, en­ergy prod­ucts from Rus­sia and wine from South Africa are wel­comed in China,” Wang said. “In the past six months China’s im­ports from BRICS coun­tries in­creased 33 per­cent year-on-year.”

The min­istry will host a two-day meet­ing of BRICS trade min­is­ters in Shang­hai on Aug 1-2 be­fore the BRICS Lead­ers’ Meet­ing to be held in Xi­a­men, Fu­jian prov­ince, in Septem­ber.

Wang said while pro­tec­tion­ists have a skep­ti­cal at­ti­tude to­ward mul­ti­lat­eral trade, China hopes the BRICS na­tions could tackle the skep­tics as a united team and build a suf­fi­cient trade mech­a­nism. To strengthen trade links, Wang said China will host an i nter­na­tional i mports ex­hi­bi­tion from 2018.

per­cent

“The ex­hi­bi­tion will help with trade and stim­u­late in­vest­ment,” he added. “We are ex­pect­ing BRICS coun­tries to play an ac­tive role in the ex­hi­bi­tion, thus en­sur­ing that more goods can en­ter the Chi­nese mar­ket.”

Zhang Shao­gang, di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the De­part­ment of In­ter­na­tional Trade and Eco­nomic Af­fairs at the Min­istry of Com­merce, said Chi­nese e-com­merce plat­forms have been gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity among com­pa­nies in other BRICS coun­tries.

“We hope to op­ti­mize the e-com­merce mech­a­nism, en­cour­age in­dus­try in­ter­ac­tion and set a good ex­am­ple in e-com­merce co­op­er­a­tion be­tween devel­op­ing coun­tries.”

Re­gard­ing in­vest­ment, Wang said BRICS coun­tries have been mak­ing progress to fa­cil­i­tate mul­ti­lat­eral in­vest­ment.

“The BRICS pro­posed ac­tion plans to fa­cil­i­tate in­vest­ment in 2014, and the G20 sum­mit agreed on the guid­ing prin­ci­ples for global in­vest­ment,” said Wang. “And this year’s meet­ing will make fur­ther in­vest­ment more con­ve­nient.”

The Chi­nese mar­ket will ben­e­fit its BRICS part­ners in many sec­tors, such as con­sumer goods from South Africa and Rus­sia.

Neil Wang, China unit pres­i­dent at the global con­sul­tancy Frost& Sul­li­van, said that China is open­ing up to dif­fer­ent sec­tors, for ex­am­ple the di­a­mond busi­ness.

“China was the ma­jor di­a­mond im­port desti­na­tion and con­sumer for South Africa and Rus­sia in 2016, and de­mand for di­a­monds has been grow­ing since 2012,” he said.

“Th­ese two coun­tries are also China’s im­por­tant part­ners in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. The trade re­la­tion­ship with them will largely af­fect China’s di­a­mond and jew­elry mar­ket.”

pro­por­tion of BRICS in global GDP in 2016

LIANG FUYING / FOR CHINA DAILY

Work­ers check fa­cil­i­ties at a project of China Gen­eral Nu­clear Power Corp in Fangcheng­gang, the Guangxi Zhuang au­tonomous re­gion.

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