The 9th BRICS Summit kicked off with the BRICS Business Forum. It was the largest gathering in group’s history, with more than 1,200 business leaders from 25 countries.
Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the group, calling on the world to reject protectionism.
CGTN’s Han Peng has more.
Some contend that the trade bloc is losing its influence, with only one country, China, providing most of its economic growth. But the BRICS Business Forum sought to send a different message.
“The general trend of BRICS country’s development has not changed,” according to Jiang Zengwei, chairman of the China Council for Promotion of International Trade. “This year we are discussing how to increase the say of emerging economies in global economic affairs.
The BRICS New Development Bank, which was set up in 2015, is increasing investment. This year alone, the bank has approved projects worth $1.4 billion. But some see room for improvement.
“My concern at the moment is to develop a closer and more efficient relationship between the state and the business,” Oleg M. Preksin of the Association of Russian Banks said. “The New Development Bank, with its headquarters in Shanghai, already implemented 11 projects, but all of them are state supported. Not so much of them are business motivated.”
The bank announced at the forum, however, that it will soon start giving loans to private sector business as well.
The BRICS business community urged their governments to stand together to defend globalization as Western leaders like U.S. President Donald Trump keeps rolling out protectionist policies he said will create American jobs.
“We all have consensus that free trade and globalization add answers to overcome the economic difficulties facing us today,” Diane Wang, CEO of DHgate.com said.
Others want reduced tariffs between the BRICS countries, and improved access to each other’s markets.
Some fear the two-month military standoff on the China-India border could impede those efforts, but many business leaders at the forum see economic opportunities that can help to overcome obstacles.