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Government of India
Ministry of Commerce & Industry
13-October-2016 18:17 IST
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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MJPS