BRICS nations, including India expressed commitment on Tuesday to refrain from taking any protectionist measures and improve policy coordination to enhance trade and investment.
“They (BRICS trade ministers) reaffirmed their commitment to refrain from trade protectionist measures that are incompatible with WTO obligations, while respecting the special and differential treatment for developing countries,” said a joint communiqué on the eve of the sixth BRICS Summit.
Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is accompanying Prime Minister Narendra Modi, attended the meet of Trade Ministers of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
The ministers also expressed concern over the slow pace of global economic recovery and stressed that “the uncertainty regarding economic growth and policy responses in developed countries could lead to increased volatility in financial markets and further affect the international economy”.
They emphasised that updating international governance structures remain a necessity for better policy coordination and for the promotion of global economic prosperity, it said.
In spite of the challenging economic environment, it said the BRICS countries will continue to contribute to the global economic recovery.
The leaders vowed to continue work to further strengthen their economic relations, the statement said.
Further, the Ministers reaffirmed the importance of a continued dialogue on international investment agreements. The Ministers noted the principles outlined in the document ‘A BRICS Perspective on International Investment Agreements’ as a voluntary reference for countries to advance a more balanced approach to investment treaties.
The leaders also emphasised on strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation in e-commerce to extend the opportunities for intra-BRICS trade and enhancing closer economic cooperation.
“They welcomed the proposal to establish a BRICS Expert Dialogue on Electronic Commerce. They instructed the Contact Group for Economic and Trade Issues (CGETI) to elaborate terms of reference for the Expert Dialogue,” it added.
Highlighting the potential for forging closer links between the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) of the BRICS nations, they instructed their officials to explore ways to promote cooperation in this field. This would include sharing information on regulatory framework and promoting business to business contacts.
On the progress of WTO talks, the Trade Ministers agreed to pursue vigorously the achievements, objectives and timelines set out in the Bali Ministerial decisions.
“They reaffirmed the importance of an open and rules-based multilateral trading system and underlined the central role of the WTO in setting rules for global trade,” the communiqué added.