The BRICS trading bloc continued its bold march towards flexing its muscle in global affairs with the latest salvo fired during the G20 meeting held in Mexico at the weekend.
As part both the G20 and BRICS, South Africa was represented amongst others by trade and industry minister Rob Davies who came back with a positive outlook. Remarkably the BRICS bloc has pledged to contribute significant amounts towards the International Monetary Fund bail out fund for the euro zone and seemed to be laying down the law on how these funds must be utilized. At the time of writing it was not clear if South Africa is going to chip in and at what level.
Adding to its G20 membership, South Africa joined the BRICS bloc last year in a move which has raised the profile of the largest economy in Africa. Within BRICS South Africa stands alongside economic giants, Brazil, Russia, India and China who formed a united front to challenge organisation of power in global affairs.
Davies said the BRICS Ministers have called upon their fellow G-20 Trade Ministers to identify ways to improve the multilateral trading system.
“We have made this call, so that all economies may pursue a sustainable and development-friendly integration in global trade, including adjustment strategies for their industries and workforce, as well as the appropriate social and sectoral policies to respond to existing structural vulnerabilities”.
He said commitment to the Doha Development Round and the conclusion of this process was reemphasized. “The BRICS WTO members will continue their efforts for the successful conclusion of the Doha Round, based on the progress made and in keeping with its mandate, while upholding the principles of transparency, inclusiveness and multilateralism”.
He added that BRICS Ministers took note of the increasing role of global value chains in trade. However they noted that many sectors, industries and even countries are not participating in global value chains as fully as some others.
“In order for global value chains to serve as instruments of growth and development, it would be important to develop a deeper understanding of their developmental impact and the conditions under which they can be used to achieve long term socio-economic gains. In addition, attention should be paid to not impose obstacles for the development and effective functioning of global value chains, for protectionist reasons. In this context, it would be useful to have a member-driven process, in the WTO, UNCTAD and other intergovernmental agencies, to examine this issue, including the identification of more accurate statistical methods to assess value addition,” added Davies.