Business leaders from the Brics member states are meeting on the sidelines of the multinational summit to discuss how best to improve trade relations between the nations convened by South Africa’s trade and industry department.
While ministers from the five developing nations meet behind closed doors to hammer out the details of the proposed Brics-led development bank and how it will operate ahead of tonight’s official opening, the business leaders are trying to address issues relating to trade imbalances among the five nations.
In the case of South Africa, the open nature of the economy means that the trade balance with, for example China, is skewed in favour of the latter.
At this stage there is no agreement finalised on the bank issue, which is central to taking Brics beyond being a talkshop. The five finance ministers were still in a closed-door meeting late morning.
In the business forum, delegates have been addressed by the leaders of organised business in each state, including Jabu Mabuza of Business Unity South Africa, Paulo Tigre of the Brazilian Confederation of Industry and Sergei Katyrin, President of the Russian Federation’s chamber of commerce and industry.
Delegates were also address by the various trade and industry ministers, including South Africa’s Rob Davies.
They will participate in a plenary on how to integrate industry and commerce among the countries and break into sessions dealing with infrastructure, minerals, finance, energy and the green economy.
President Jacob Zuma will open the Brics Summit this evening.