Minister Patel Welcomes BRICS Summit Breakthrough in Addressing Illegal Imports and Foster Higher Growth

The South African Minister of Trade and Industry Mr Ebrahim Patel, has welcomed the adoption of the BRICS Summit Declaration by Heads of State, that commits to combat under-invoicing of imported goods and measures to boost global demand and growth. Minister Patel identified high levels of under-invoicing as a critical challenge to efforts to deepen fair trade, pursue industrial policies for growth and ensure tax revenue collection by countries, during the 9th meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Trade, held in Brasilia, Brazil, on 11 November 2019.

These concerns were raised by South Africa following widespread under-invoicing and similar practices that undermine local companies in clothing, footwear, poultry, el tropics and steel products. These concerns were widely shared at the meeting and has been incorporated in the Summit Declaration agreed by Presidents Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Cyril Ramaphosa and Jair Bolsonaro as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Summit Declaration states that ‘We support efforts to increase trade and recognise that actions such as under-invoicing have a negative impact on trade and industrial policy and tax collection and need to be addressed.’

“The adoption of the commitment to address under-invoicing represents a very significant breakthrough in our efforts to rebuild local industries decimated by illegal imports and smuggling,” Minister Ebrahim Patel said.

“The commitment will help achieve the goals set in the recently-adopted South African Master Plans on the Poultry and the Clothing, Textiles, Footwear and Leather industries. In bilateral discussions with BRICS Trade Ministers, we agreed concrete and specific steps to implement this commitment,” Minister Patel said.

South Africa also called for bolder global action to address the slowdown of global demand and growth. The Trade Ministers and the Summit Declaration endorsed the call.

The Declaration states ‘We support the conclusion of the BRICS Trade Ministers that bold, coordinated international action is required to increase economic growth and sustainability. Increased trade can help with global growth, which could include infrastructure investment, including in digital infrastructure, skills development, particularly for young people, sustainable investment, investment in local basic services, and outward investment to areas of high potential growth, including on the African continent’.

“Discussions in Brazil focused on practical solutions to improve job creation initiatives. South Africa will follow up on the conclusions and use the opportunity to deepen investment and domestic economic growth,” Minister Patel said.

Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
Follow us on Twitter: @the_dti

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