Closing Remarks for the Minister of Trade and Industry for the 8th BRICS Ministers Meeting

H.E. Mrs Yana Dumaresq, Deputy Minister for Industry, Foreign Trade and Services of Brazil
H.E. Mr Ilya Torosov, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation
H.E. Mr C R Chaudhary, Minister of State of Commerce and Industry of India
H.E. Mr Li Chenggang, Assistant Minister of Commerce of the PRC
Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Small Business Development of South Africa;
The Ambassadors and High Commissioners from the BRICS Partner countries;
Senior Officials
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

We came to the end of the 8th BRICS Minister of Trade Meeting, a fruitful one. The meeting provided an opportunity for sharing of views on key issues facing global trade.  The discussions culminated in the conclusion of the BRICS statement of support for an inclusive multilateral trading system which outlines the key elements of inclusive multilateralism which is critical to address the lack of inclusive growth. The Statement re-affirms the BRICS commitment to a rules based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system that promotes a predictable trade environment, the centrality of the WTO. It emphasises among others that global trade rules should facilitate effective participation of all countries in the multilateral trading system and that development and the provisions for special and differential treatment remain integral in the WTO’s work.

We also concluded a BRICS Statement on WTO matters that conveys the BRICS Members concern with the systemic impact of unilateral measures that are incompatible with WTO rules and that put the MTS at risk. We further call on all WTO Members to abide by WTO rules and to honor their commitments in the MTS. Furthermore, we recalled that the WTO dispute settlement system is a cornerstone of the MTS and promotes predictability in international trade. We noted with concern the impasse in the selection process for new Appellate Body Members that can paralyze the dispute settlement system and undermine the rights and obligations of all Members. We, urged all Members to engage constructively to address this challenge as a matter of priority.

We also approved the BRICS Joint Communique’ that has a number of Annexes. On e-commerce we approved the BRICS Cooperation Framework on Inclusive E-Commerce Development that outlines a number of areas for enhanced cooperation on various aspects that promote inclusive growth in the development of E-Commerce. To enable developing countries, especially LDC’s, to participate meaningfully in e-commerce, increased cooperation between countries will be needed to bridge the digital divides. Bridging the digital divide will be critical to maximize benefits and promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.

On MSMEs we have established the institutional arrangement of MSMEs through holding dedicated CGETI sessions and establishing Focal Points to give effect to the MSME Cooperation Framework. This will contribute to fostering cooperation on the development of MSMEs amongst BRICS. South Africa will also host the 3rd BRICS MSME Roundtable on 23rd July 2018 to further enhance cooperation between the BRICS countries on MSMEs.

On IP, we endorsed the BRICS IPR Practical Cooperation Mechanism, as well as an Action Plan that will enhance cooperation on various aspects of IP, including IP and public health which is a key priority for South Africa.

We have also endorsed the Working Mechanism on Technical regulations, standards, metrology and conformity assessment procedures. The key objective of the Working Mechanism is to enhance co-operation in the fields of technical regulations, standards, metrology and conformity assessment procedures including certification, testing, inspection and accreditation, in order to facilitate and increase trade in goods, within the terms of the WTO TBT Agreement. It also promotes sharing of technical regulations; sharing of expertise intended to enhance technical competence of the relevant institutions and promote cooperation in the international fora where possible. The Working Mechanism is a non-binding living document which takes into account the domestic regulatory regimes of BRICS Parties.

We have also agreed on a practical approach to promoting trade in value-added products so as to change the structure of our trade.

As we come to the end of a very productive meeting with a number of new initiatives agreed to enhance our shared prosperity, I want to leave you with these words from Nelson Mandela, whose 100th birthday we will be celebrating on 18 July:

“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”
I declare the 8th BRICS Ministers meeting closed and hope you will all travel well to your destinations. I would like to encourage you to take time and explore the rich history of South Africa should your schedules allow.

Thank you,

Minister Rob Davies addressing the BRICS Trade Ministers Meeting at Africa Pride Mount Grace in Magaliesburg.

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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