BRICS Business Council 2018 Midterm Meeting Held in Shanghai
On March 27, 2018, BRICS Business Council 2018 Midterm Meeting was held in Shanghai. About 250 delegates from the Council’s five national chapters and the New Development Bank (NDB) attended the event, where the rotating presidency of the Business Council in 2018 was officially handed over to the South African chapter.
The meeting was presided over by Capt. Xu Lirong, Chairman of BRICS Business Council and Chairman of China COSCO SHIPPING Corporation Limited. Dr. Iqbal Survé, Chairman of the South African Chapter and founder and Chairman of the Sekunjalo Group, Mr. Sergey Katyrin, Chairman of the Russian Chapter and Chairman of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Mr. Naveen Kapur, Sherpa of Mr. Onkar Kanwar, Chairman of the Indian Chapter and Managing Director of Apollo Tyres Ltd., and José Serrador Neto, Sherpa of Mr. Paulo Cesar Souza e Silva, Chairman of the Brazilian Chapter and Chairman of EMBRAER, were present at the meeting. NDB President Mr. K.V. Kamath, Vice President Mr. J.B. Sarquis and Vice President Mr. Vladimir Kazbekov attended the plenary session and delivered remarks.
At the plenary session, the Council reviewed the major work and achievements during China’s presidency in 2017, and listened to the reports by eight working groups on energy and the green economy, financial services, deregulation, manufacturing, infrastructure, agribusiness, skills development, and regional aviation.
To implement the consensus reached during the BRICS XIAMEN SUMMIT, the first meeting of the Working Group on Regional Aviation and a dialogue with the NDB were hosted. Meanwhile, the Council approved the release of the BRICS Digital Economic Development Initiative, endorsed the proposal of setting up a working group on digital economy, and deliberated the proposal of establishing the BRICS Business Women Club.
Capt. Xu Lirong addressed in the plenary session that, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) following the Xiamen Summit will create new opportunities for the development of and cooperation amongst BRICS nations. China will adhere to reform and opening-up, further promote the development of the Belt and Road, and help foster new international relations featuring mutual respect, fair, justice, and win-win. He called on business communities in the five countries to build a community of shared interests, further implement The Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, and enhance cooperation in innovative growth, digital economy, international production capacity and connectivity.
The incoming chairman of the BRICS Business Council, Dr. Iqbal Survé acknowledged the excellent leadership demonstrated by the Chinese chapter during its presidency. “We are ready to take on this major responsibility, knowing that we build on the foundation that has been laid. We will be strengthening the economic partnership between our countries through viable initiatives which are aimed at benefitting the citizens of our respective countries.
Mr. Sergey Katyrin marked the importance of continuous work on trade and investment deregulation and reduction of administrative barriers. He also mentioned the establishing of BRICS Energy Platform aimed at preparation of analytical research and prognoses on energy development and furthering cooperation in the sector. Mr Katyrin also noticed the necessity for information exchange and development of cooperation with New Development Bank. Chairman of Russian Chapter invited BRICS Business Council members to take part in the SPIEF 2018 (24-26 May, 2018) where special BRICS session will be held.
José Serrador Neto indicated that the BRICS Business Council is coming to the end of a cycle and should focus its attention on a pragmatic list of goals. He affirmed that the Brazil Chapter supports the new MOU with the NDB and the creation of the Digital Economy WG. He also informed that the Brazil Chapter has circulated a study on travel facilitation among the BRICS and requested the support of the other chapters for its approval as Council recommendations.
Mr. Naveen Kapur stated that we have had a fruitful year under China’s Presidency and as we complete the full cycle of 5 years of the BRICS Business Council, we can clearly see the positive outcomes of business co-operation under this mechanism. He added that we started with five working groups in 2013 and today we are discussing on a larger ambit under eight working groups. In-fact, the BRICS Business Council has not only expanded areas of co-operation but also moved from ‘conceptualisation’ to ‘implementation’ under China’s Presidency. In our last meeting at Shanghai, we were successful in implementing eight key deliverables. He mentioned that Indian Chapter would like to compliment the leadership of Capt XU Lirong and his team for making this happen and we are looking forward to the Council’s activities under the Chairmanship of South Africa led by Dr. Iqbal Surve.
“As an innovative and reliable development partner for all BRICS member countries, the New Development Bank is looking forward to working closely with the BRICS Business Council during the South African chairmanship in 2018. In August 2017, the NDB opened its first regional office — Africa Regional Center in Johannesburg. We will open Americas Regional Office in Brazil later this year and consider opening offices in Russia and India in line with our evolving business needs to support identification and preparation of bankable infrastructure and sustainable development projects. We hope that our cooperation with the Business Council would contribute to identifying and implementing projects, including public-private partnerships projects in all member countries of the Bank,” said Mr.K.V.Kamath, the NDB President.
Prior to the plenary session, parallel meetings were held by the eight working groups to review their progress and exchange views on cooperation in next steps.
As an important mechanism for BRICS cooperation, the BRICS Business Council was founded in Durban, South Africa in March 2013 to further develop the economy, trade, and investment of the BRICS countries. BRICS Leaders attach great importance to the Council, and have a dialogue with the Council members every year.