From February 24 to February 25, 2022, the first meeting of the BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues for the year was held in Beijing via video link. Attending the meeting were delegates from the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), international organizations (the WTO, UNCTAD, ILO, ITC, NDB), and the BRICS Business Council and BRICS Women’s Business Alliance. At the meeting, discussions focused on digital economy; trade, investment, and sustainable development; industrial and supply chains; coordination on multilateral fora; and so on. Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade representative Wang Shouwen attended the opening ceremony and delivered a speech.
“Since the Meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers was established as a mechanism in 2011, the leaders of our five countries have given multiple instructions on strengthening trade and economic cooperation, and ratified the BRICS Action Agenda on Economic and Trade Cooperation, Outlines for BRICS Investment Facilitation, the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, and other major outcomes, charting the course for cooperation among the BRICS countries,” Wang Shouwen said. “Trade and economic cooperation have become an important pillar underpinning the cooperation architecture of BRICS with its three main drivers.”
Wang Shouwen pointed out that amid the interplay of the pandemic and profound changes, both unseen in a century, the global development agenda has taken a heavy hit, and the North-South gap keeps widening. “BRICS countries, as an important economic force that represents 23% of the global economy, 18% of global goods trade, and 25% of inbound foreign direct investment, should rise to the challenge more than ever, and put forward BRICS solutions for world economic growth.” In economy and trade, China proposed three areas of enhanced cooperation, i.e., strengthening coordination within the WTO, G20 and other multilateral fora to safeguard true multilateralism; deepening practical cooperation on the trade and economic front to leverage the key role of trade and investment; and stepping up cooperation in digital economy and green development to seize development opportunities in emerging fields.
Wang Shouwen emphasized that China is willing to work with other BRICS countries under the BRCIS spirit of openness, inclusiveness, cooperation, and win-win outcomes to deepen trade and economic cooperation, level up practical cooperation, and foster closer trade and economic ties among the BRICS countries, so as to prepare abundant trade and economic outcomes for the leader’s meeting.
Assuming the BRICS presidency in 2022, China will host the 14th BRICS Summit and series side events. To make preparations on the trade and economic front for the Summit, China will hold the Meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers and, ahead of that, meetings of BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues.
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