13 April 2011
The five BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – will not compromise in their efforts to create fairer global trade conditions for developing nations at the Doha round, says South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
Speaking in Sanya ahead of Thursday’s BRICS Leaders Meeting, Davies said South Africa remained committed to seeing an outcome of the Doha development round, which pledges to help uplift developing countries with fairer trade tariffs and rules, particularly in agriculture.
Negotiations have been on the go for almost 10 years, and the most recent round broke down in 2008 when negotiators failed to reach a compromise on agricultural trade rules. But Davies said he remained optimistic on a conclusion to the round.
“As South Africa, we have said repeatedly that we are committed to seeking an early and successful completion to the Doha round, but we will define successful in terms of giving effect to the developmental mandate of Doha,” Davies said at a joint press briefing with his BRICS counterparts following a meeting between the grouping’s ministerial trade heads.
“And we’ve said before that if we have to choose between early and successful, we would choose successful.”
‘There is no other kind of round than Doha’
However, he said he was concerned that significant parts of the developing world appeared not to be ready to conclude negotiations.
He said there was no other opportunity at present in which to reform multilateral trade rules. “I think the message that we would want to send out as South Africa is that there is no other kind of round other than Doha,” said Davies, who arrived in Sanya on Tuesday night.
Brazil’s under-secretary for foreign affairs, Valdemar Carneiro Leao, said all the members of BRICS had “a strong interest” in seeing the Doha round succeed.
“I will again emphasise the contributions given by the developing world have been unprecedented, and it’s important that this should be taken into mind,” Leao said.
Davies said there was a need to develop a series of agreements and relationships that promoted development among the BRICS group, particularly those that increased trade in value-added goods and investments in beneficiation of the respective primary products of these countries.
He believed that the co-operation that the BRICS countries could help foster among themselves could be a “model” for the rest of the world.
BRICS trade increasing 28% annually
Trade between the BRICS countries increased 15-fold between 2001 and 2010, is currently increasing at a rate of 28 percent annually, and now stands at around US$230-billion.
The five countries make up close to three-billion people or 43 percent of the world’s population, $11-trillion or 16 percent of world’s GDP, and $4.6-trillion or 15 percent of world trade, Deming said.
South Africa’s exports to the other BRICS countries increased fourfold between 2006 and 2010, while imports from BRICS countries had doubled over the same period, according to Davies.
Meanwhile, a smiling President Jacob Zuma touched down at Sanya Phoenix International Airport early on Wednesday morning in the South African Airforce Boeing 737, accompanied by his wife Nompumelelo Ntuli.
Zuma and his delegation were greeted by a contingent of 18 guards and immediately left for his hotel, the Hilton Sanya Resort and Spa, in Yalong Bay.
Zuma was expected to hold bilateral meetings in Yalong Bay with his Russian counterpart, Dimitry Medvedev, on Wednesday afternoon, followed by a second bilateral meeting in the early evening with Chinese President Hu Jintao.