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6th Meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers



6th Meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers 


Trade Ministers Communique

1.         The 6th meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers was held on 13 October, 2016 in New Delhi on the threshold of the 8th BRICS Summit on 15-16 October, 2016 in Goa, India. The Meeting was preceded by the 13th meeting of the BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues (CGETI) which was held from 11-12 October, 2016. The Trade Ministers meeting made an assessment of the BRICS economic scenario in relation to areas of cooperation on trade and investment. The Ministers appreciated the work carried out by BRICS Members during 2016 and urged that this momentum be sustained.


Global Economic Development

2.         The global economic order in 2016 has been shaped  by a number of key economic developments such as continued slowdown in global growth and depressed global demand, low commodity and oil prices;  new shocks to the global economy, including BREXIT; volatility in the equity and currency markets; strains on the banking sector; political turmoil in some parts of the globe etc. Given this scenario, the Ministers noted that the October, 2016 World Economic Outlook Update of the International Monetary Fund  projected the global economic growth forecasts for 2016 and 2017 at 3.1% and 3.4% respectively.  The Ministers are of the view that the projected growth rates for 2017 in the Outlook for BRICS countries augurs well when compared with  2016.


3          Ministers recognized the importance of preserving policy space to promote industrialization, industrial upgrading and value addition as a core pillar for structural transformation and sustainable development and BRICS countries integration into the global economy. They agreed to enhance cooperation in this regard.


The Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership

4          The Ministers appreciated the progress in the realization of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership. They directed the CGETI to put forth initiatives and proposals  towards the implementation of  the Trade and Investment section of the Strategy at the earliest. The Ministers agreed that close cooperation among the CGETI, the BRICS Business Council and New Development Bank is useful for implementing and bringing the BRICS Economic Cooperation to a new high quality level.

Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)

5.         The Ministers recognised the importance of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to the balanced economic development of the BRICS countries.  The Ministers acknowledge the role of  MSMEs as the engines of export led growth and employment generation given the highest rate of employment per unit of investment in MSMEs;  and their crucial role in addressing regional disparity and poverty alleviation.  The MSME sector in many of the BRICS economies contribute directly or indirectly to nearly half of their exports, manufacturing output and GDP.

6.         The Ministers were cognisant of the impediments faced by MSMEs and the need for cooperation among the BRICS countries to effectively address the barriers to trade and investment amongst the MSMEs.

7.         With a view to ensuring greater business engagement amongst MSMEs in the BRICS region, the Ministers emphasised the importance of  developing cooperation among MSMEs in the crucial areas of trade and investment. This cooperation can be in the form of exchange of information on the regulatory framework, rules, regulations and good regulatory practises governing MSMEs; interface among the major chambers of commerce and industry of the MSMEs;  and participation of MSME stakeholders in BRICS economic events such as trade fairs, conferences, seminars etc.

8.         The Ministers welcome continued efforts to foster cooperation and facilitate exchange of experiences between BRICS countries on MSMEs. In this regard, They welcome the “BRICS Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Cooperation Framework” which encourages MSMEs in BRICS to strengthen mutually beneficial commercial relationship. The Framework sets the agenda of cooperation on SMEs by the BRICS countries.  The Ministers look forward to constructive engagement on the elements of the cooperation framework by all BRICS Members in the future.

 BRICS Business Council and economic cooperation

10.       BRICS Trade Ministers considered the continuing role of the BRICS Business Council (BBC) and emphasised the need for the Council to focus on the development and realization of joint projects which would on a mutually beneficial basis contribute to the economic development objectives of BRICS Members. To this end, Trade Ministers  urged the BBC to speed up the development of the BRICS Roadmap for Trade, Economic and Investment Cooperation while identifying and implementing suitable projects. In addition, the Council is encouraged to advance key projects as presented by all Member countries. In order to coordinate and advance the BRICS agenda on economic issues, regular engagement by the BBC with BRICS Trade Ministers, as well as the Contact Group on Trade and Economic Issues (CGETI) was requested.

Non-tariff measures (NTM)

11.       The Ministers emphasized that the increase in NTMs constrain the participation of developing countries in global trade. The Ministers commended the CGETI for developing a working document on ‘BRICS Mechanism for NTM Resolution. The Ministers agreed in principle to the concepts in the Mechanism and urged the CGETI to advance this work including on the issue of scope.

Standards

12.       The Ministers endorsed the “Framework for Cooperation on Standardisation  that was agreed to by the CGETI.  The Ministers urged the CGETI to work on the elements of the Framework with a view to ensuring that the cooperation leads to a better understanding of each other standards. The Framework aims to promote a better understanding and an open dialogue among BRICS countries in this area.

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Services:

15.       The Ministers recognised that the Services sector remains important and contributes to more than half of the GDP of many BRICS countries. Since the services sector is of interest for BRICS economies, it is important for the group to cooperate with the aim of promoting complementarities on services trade. The Ministers highlighted the importance of facilitating expansion of trade in services by addressing existing barriers. The Ministers endorsed the “Framework for Cooperation on Trade in Services”.

Trade Promotion

17.       The Ministers expressed their appreciation that India is holding the 1st BRICS Trade Fair from 12-14 October, 2016 in New Delhi. This Fair is an opportunity for stakeholders in the BRICS region to explore and expand business opportunities and networks.  The theme of the Fair namely “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions” is apt in ensuring that the BRICS region as a whole benefits from such events. The focus areas and the showcasing of technologies are important in the context of ensuring a commercially meaningful participation in the Fair. The Ministers welcome the idea of CGETI discussing the possibility of holding BRICS Trade Fairs on a regular basis.

18.       The Ministers noted that the BRICS Trade Promotion Working Group would create a forum for the Trade Promotion Agencies in the BRICS region to interface towards the promotion of value added trade which would also support integration into global value chains. It is vital that these agencies co-ordinate in other trade and investment events so that the BRICS  value added products and services can be showcased more effectively. The Ministers instructed the working group to effectively coordinate activities] so as to ensure that the BRICS stakeholders can benefit from the participation in such events.

Single Window

19.       The Ministers noted that Article 10.4 of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation  instructs that WTO Members shall endeavour to establish or maintain a single window. They also appreciated the work being carried out in the BRICS countries for development of national single windows . These would facilitate both exporters and importers who would then need a single point interface for all their clearances.

20.       The Ministers endorsed the “Framework for BRICS Single Window Cooperation”  and underlined the importance of closer cooperation among the BRICS countries in the development of their national single windows. They emphasised the need for BRICS countries to operationalize the Framework based on the Guiding Principles, Objectives and Priorities for Cooperation.

IPR Cooperation

21.       The Ministers highlighted the importance of cooperation on intellectual property rights (IPR) towards the development of a BRICS perspective that will be informed by their national priorities.  In this context, they appreciate the formation of and endorse the BRICS IPR Cooperation Mechanism (IPRCM).  They also took note of the existing cooperation mechanism at the level of Heads of Intellectual Property Offices (HIPO). The Ministers urge both the HIPO and IPRCM to co-ordinate and avoid duplication of their work. They instruct the IPRCM to commence their work on the terms of reference decided upon and endeavor to advance cooperation in a more systematic and coordinated manner.

E-commerce

22.       The Ministers reiterated the importance of strengthening
intra-BRICS cooperation on E-commerce and appreciated the progress achieved since the adoption of the Framework for BRICS E-commerce Cooperation in 2015. The Ministers have emphasized the need for cooperation to boost [e-commerce development in the BRICS countries, enhance capacity building and promote cooperation on infrastructure

23.       The Ministers emphasized that the development potential of e-commerce is not fully realized and in this regard they directed the CGETI to  implement all areas of the Framework and explore cooperation in areas of common interests. The Ministers took note of the proposal to conduct a joint study to promote areas of common interest in e-commerce and stressed the importance of enhancing the BRICS countries understanding on e-commerce.

BRICS cooperation in the WTO



24.       The Ministers reiterated the support for the multilateral trading system and the centrality of the WTO in providing a rules based, transparent, non-discriminatory and inclusive global trading system. The Ministers emphasized the importance of implementing the decisions taken at the Bali and Nairobi Ministerial Conferences. They stressed the need to advance negotiations on the remaining DDA issues as a matter of priority. They called on all WTO members to work together with a sense of urgency and solidarity to ensure a strong development oriented outcome for MC 11 and beyond.



BRICS and the G-20



25.       The Ministers commended the work done by China in its current Presidency of the G20.  They emphasized the importance of BRICS Members’ coordination in the G-20. They welcomed the outcomes of G20 Hangzhou Summit and emphasized the importance of continued efforts to implement those outcomes. They also underlined the importance of the G20 Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) in addressing various issues confronting the G20 economies and the call for further collaboration under this framework.

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Speech of Commerce & Industry Minister at the inauguration of BRICS Trade Fair

Respected Hon’ble Vice President of India,
H.E. Mr. Marcos Pereira, Minister of Trade of Brazil,

H.E. Mr. Denis Manturov, Minister of Trade and Industry, Russian Federation.

H.E. Dr. Rob Davies, Minister of Trade of South Africa,
H.E. Mr. Wang Shouwen Vice Minister of Finance & Commerce, China,
H.E. Mr. Alexandr Tsybulskiy, Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Russia,


Commerce Secretary,
Chairman, ITPO,
President of FICCI, Mr. Harshavardhan Neotia,
President of CII, Dr. Naushad Forbes, and
President of ASSOCHAM, Mr. Sunil Kanoria,
Officials and Diplomats of BRICS and BIMSTEC countries,
Captains of Industry, Entrepreneurs and Trade promtion bodies & Media
Ladies and Gentlmen

It gives me great pleasure to be here for the inaugural ceremony of the BRICS Trade Fair in the gracious presence of Hon’ble Vice President of India. This is a unique event because for the first time a Trade Fair is being held in the BRICS format. It is indeed heartening that this Trade Fair has received enthusiastic response from entrepreneurs of all the BRICS countries. I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Trade Ministers who are present on the dias for their support and encouragement.

I would like to especially express my sincere gratitude to Hon’ble Vice President of India for having agreed to be the Chief Guest of this Trade Fair. His presence indeed elevates the importance of this event and boosts the morale of entrepreneurs participating in this event.

Since India assumed the Presidency of the BRICS in February this year, several Ministries, Departments, institutions and agencies as well as NGOs have been actively organising various sectoral events across the country.

The Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation underpin the solidarity of BRICS. Earlier in the day, we the Trade Ministers of BRICS countries deliberated on specific areas for cooperation with a view to enhancing intra-BRICS trade. These relate to forging cooperation in specific sectors such as SMEs, Standards, NTMs, IPR, e-Commerce, Single Window and Working Group on Trade. These cooperative frameworks will form focal points to work on concrete actions in a spirit of accommodation and undrestanding. The cooperative frameworks are non-binding and allow our countries to retain our policy space. All these ideas are captured in the BRICS Trade Ministers’ Joint Communiqué and, subesqently, are expected to find expression in the BRICS Leaders’ Declaration at Goa, in a couple of days from now.

BRICS countries complement each other’s economies. They are also major resource suppliers to the world. Globalisation has altered the world dynamics significantly since the end of the Cold War. The formation of BRICS is a distinct indicator of the emergence of a multi-polarity on the international stage. However, the global governance structures do not reflect the reality and this is where urgent changes are required. It is from this point of view that articulation of positions by BRICS countries and taking united stands on issues of common concern, holds immense significance for ensuring equity, justice and inclusiveness for developing countries. We believe, BRICS can play a positive role in strengthening the multilateral institutions, especially WTO, IMF, World Bank and UN systems.

Trade amongst the BRICS nations is less than 5% of their total global trade. This amounts to, in actual terms, about US$ 300 billion out of US$ 6.50 trillion. The subdued global trade could be a major reason, as it has impacted BRICS economies differently, some through falling commodity prices and others on account shrinking demand for manufactured goods. We need to find innovative ways of increasing intra-BRICS trade.

In this gloomy scenario, it has been observed that nations are resorting to protectionist measures in the forms of NTMs, creating invisible walls against free trade. It is in this context that cooperation amongst BRICS countries on NTMs remains significant. India has taken a lead on this issue and we should work towards standstill and rollback of protectionist measures.

Participation of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) in the Trade Fair is a welcome development. NDB lends strength to enterprises in our Group by extending timely credit. Its establishment is indicative of the urgent need for reform of the global financial system towards new global rules setting. It also provides scope to work on Sustainable Development Goals in BRICS, particularly those relating to trade and investment and economic growth for tackling poverty and unemployment.

India has taken a lead on the MSME sector. We believe this sector is vulnerable to global volatility and needs support, both in terms of finance and transfer of technology.MSME sustenance is crucial because they generate large employment in our countries. We would urge NDB to come out with ideas and pilot projects for strengthening MSMEs in the BRICS countries. This support, I believe, should also extend to the MSMEs in the BIMSTEC countries, which are also facing similar challenges of adaptation and survival.

India has taken a lead in Services in the context of BRICS as well as in WTO. The Services sector is increasingly contributing to global trade as well as to the GDP of individual economies. Liberalising Services sector should be accorded top priority in the BRICS as it helps in creating exponential growth in the BRICS region. Most importanlty free movement of people in our Group for tourism, hospitality and business purposes will boost the intra-BRICS trade.

India has embarked on an ambitions ‘Make in India’ programme. There are ample opportunities for BRICS countries to do collaborative joint ventures in India. These collaborative ventures should be looking not merely at the Indian market, but other regions of the globe.

Significant work has already been undertaken on ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in India. In this regard National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF) has been set up for evaluating progress on trade facilitation issues.

The BRICS countries are a potent group in the multilateral system. They are also represented in the G-20. Therefore, a reiterate  articulation of positions by BRICS countries and taking united stands on issues of common concern globally ensures equity, justice and inclusiveness for developing countries.

The gathering of more than 1,000 entrepreneurs from BRICS and BIMSTEC countries under one platform gives an opportunity to discuss trade, investment and technology collaborations during this 3 day Fair. I am confident that several seminars, round tables being organised paralley will during this period will provide a comprehensive understanding of the potential of these groupings.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank all the participants for their enthusiastic participation in this ever BRICS Trade Fair. I wish you fruitful paricipation and lasting success.

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Meeting between, Commerce and Industry Minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman and Mr. Marcos Pereira, Minister of Industry, Foregin Trade and Services, Brazil.

Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Industry Minister and her Brazilian counterpart Mr. Marcos Pereira, Minister of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services held bilateral talks on 13th October, 2016 in New Delhi who is in India to participate in the BRICS summit. The Brazilian Minister thanked Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman for holding the meeting and congratulated India on taking over the Presidency of BRICS and wished the forthcoming BRICS Trade Ministers meet at Goa a grand success.

Mr. Marcos Pereira expressed pleasure on the Investment Facilitation Treaty being initialled between India and Brazil at Goa while mentioning that it is their first in Asia and he is glad that it is happening with India.

Both Ministers recollected that the IV th meeting of the India-Brazil Trade Monitoring Mechanism and the 3rd meeting of Joint Administrative Committee of India-MERCOSUR PTA held in Brazil during 29-30th September, 2016 have been successful and CIM thanked Brazil for its initiative in hosting the meetings graciously.

Both Ministers expressed the need to strengthen the India-MERCOSUR PTA and expand the items on offer from both sides to at least 2500 from the current 450 as this would greatly benefit the two way trade and need to have close cooperation between India, Brazil and other MERCOSUR partners so as to ensure that the expansion process does not spill over beyond end of next year.

During the discussions, Mr. Marcos Pereira informed on the reforms being taken by the present Brazilian Government in improving the Business environment, Economic growth and the legislations being embarked upon to bring about labour reforms, social security arrangements besides control of public expenditure.

Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned the improvement in ease of doing business in India and influx of huge amount of FDI into India, since the present Government came to power while underlining that the investment from Brazil has been modest and below potential, thereby emphasizing that both countries take measures to enhance two way investment. She mentioned that India felt the absence of Brazil in the VIth India-LAC conclave organized by India during 8-9th October, 2015 in New Delhi and suggested Brazilian Minister to host similar conclaves in Brazil so as to establish long term economic partnerships and foster south-south cooperation. A Joint Working Group on trade promotion was suggested to be formed to ensure smooth conduct and success of such events which the Brazilian side welcomed.

Commerce Minister thanked Brazil for its initiative and cooperation for holding constructive deliberations on MSME, Services, Standardisation, IPR and Single Window mechanism during BRICS summit.

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