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Brics leaders head for growth talks in SA

Written by Noluthando Mkhize

International relations

Preparations for the Fifth Brics Summit scheduled for 26 to 27 March 2013 are well underway.

The event will take place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban under the theme “Brics and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation”.

About 3 000 visitors including 2 000 foreign guests, are expected to attend.

Brics, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is an association of leading emerging economies.

South Africa was invited to join the original Bric group in 2010.

Key issues

Key issues to be discussed include the launch of the new Development Bank for emerging economies and developing countries, the roles of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and the Doha Round of trade talks.

South Africa has a direct interest in extending Brics cooperation to support Africa's development agenda, particularly by increasing financial aid to build infrastructure and industrial capacity, and increasing imports of value-added manufactured products from the continent.

On the issue of trade with Brics partners, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies recently said that bilateral trade between South Africa and China last year grew by 32 per cent, with India by 25 per cent, while trade with Brazil grew by 20 per cent.

Bilateral trade

Bilateral trade between South Africa and Russia recovered, after a decline of 44 per- cent in 2010.

However, it is still below the R4.2 billion mark in bilateral trade recorded in 2008 between these two countries.

Bilateral trade with China totalled R188 billion in 2011, while the figure stood at R55 billion with India, R18 billion with Brazil and R3.8 billion with Russia.

The recovery in bilateral trade between South Africa and its Brics partners follows on increases in trade in 2010, after declining in 2008 and 2009 during the global economic downturn.

Among Brics members, South African exports to China grew the most at 46 per cent, while exports to India grew by 20 per cent, to Brazil by 14 per cent and by 7 percent to Russia.

In terms of the balance of trade, South Africa has run a trade surplus with Russia in the last two years of R1.3 billion and R1 billion after running trade deficits in 2008 and 2009.