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Consensus reached at BRICS trade ministers meeting

The seventh meeting of the BRICS trade ministers concluded on Aug 2. The ministers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa reached consensuses on eight matters facilitating trade and economic growth.

The ministers endorsed the Guidelines on Cooperation in Intellectual Property Rights, Guidelines on the BRICS Trade in Services Cooperation, and Framework on Strengthening Economic and Technical Cooperation.

Another outcome of the meeting was the Outline for BRICS Investment Facilitation.

The total outbound investment of the BRICS countries is nearly $200 billion.

But the investments within the member states only make up six percent of the total amount, leaving the potential for increase.

The newly approved Outline for BRICS Investment Facilitation identifies some good practices that enhance the transparency of investment policies, and improve the efficiency of the government’s administrative procedures and services.

The ministers have also agreed to set up a BRICS Pilot E-port Network, highlighting a so-called “single window” system, which is an electronic platform designed to streamline trade and improve the business environment.

“The establishment of this network will remarkably enhance the level of interconnection and intercommunication, and facilitate trade among BRICS countries,” said Commerce Minister Zhong Shan.

The ministers also agreed to promote cooperation in e-commerce.

They decided to establish an e-commerce working group for the BRICS nations, and start the collaboration process right away.

Zhong said China would see more products from other BRICS countries soon, and also have more opportunities to work with those countries in e-commerce sales, logistics, and payments.

He said that he believes e-commerce will become a new engine of economic and trade cooperation among the BRICS countries.

The BRICS trade ministers also reached a consensus on supporting a multilateral trading system and opposing trade protectionism.

Also, the BRICS trade ministers welcomed China to host the International Import Expo in 2018 to help more foreign goods get into the Chinese market.