The international business community at the BRICS Business Forum inaugurated on September 3 expressed confidence in cooperation built by the BRICS bloc grouping Brazil, Russia, India, China and Russia, hoping such cooperation can be furthered in future.
About 1,200 business elites from more than 600 enterprises gathered in Xiamen to attend the two-day forum, an important side event of the BRICS summit in Xiamen City of southeast China’s Fujian Province.
“The BRICS is never about short-term fluctuation of economic activity. It’s always about complementarity,” Jeremy Stevens, an economist with Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank headquartered in South Africa, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the business forum.
In a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping acknowledged that BRICS countries have encountered headwinds of varying intensity affected by complex internal and external environments, but he is upbeat about the countries’ growth outlook.
Together, the five countries now represent 44 percent of the world’s population and 23 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP), up from 12 percent a decade ago.
“I’m very positive about BRICS and we’ll continue to support China in its endeavors to facilitate trade and investment,” Stevens said.
Amid the rise of trade protectionism, Stevens said Xi’s speech was “so great” as he mentioned Xiamen, one of China’s earliest special economic zones, in his opening remarks to remind the world “how important being open to trade and investment.”
Atul Dalakoti, executive director of the Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, also hailed Xi’s speech as “comprehensive, strategic and future-looking” and expressed his confidence in BRICS.
“The intent is there. They (BRICS countries) intend to do things, to change things, to look for drivers for growth,” Dalakoti told Xinhua, adding that such determination should be followed by concrete policy decisions and “that will make a real difference.”
Looking to the future, Dalakoti said he hoped that starting from the Xiamen summit, there will be a new consensus among the BRICS countries that they need develop their economies “with a much closer relationship.”
Li Yong, director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, told Xinhua that he believed the BRICS countries will enjoy great potential for cooperation in the future.
“As long as the five countries explore their advantages, their cooperation will go smoothly which will be like ‘adding wings to a tiger,’” Li said.