BRICS nations must do away with restrictive barriers to trade

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DURBAN, July 23 – The BRICS nations should look at innovative ways to remove barriers to trade, including decreasing barriers to new technology growth, while also considering a BRICS visa card.

This is according to Elena Myakotnikova of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, who delivered a presentation on a “road map for administrative barrier elimination” at the BRICS Business Council taking place in Durban currently.

“An important point is decreasing barriers for new technology growth,” she said. “We need flexibility in the regulation area to see new markets birth and be part of it. Maybe we shall think of standards harmonisation and then proposing BRICS standards as world-leading?”

She further pointed to the possibility of a visa card between the BRICS block which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“There are no visas required between Russia and South Africa and Russia and Brasilia, and it is easy to get a visa for China and India, but like the APEC experience (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), maybe the next step is having a BRICS visa card?”

She called on the BRICS nations to be more ambitious in their thinking around issues such as the “mutual recognition of work permits or high education degree acceptance”.

“The economic results of our cooperation could be and should be more significant,” Myakotnikova said. “At the moment, unfortunately, BRICS countries are more focused on other partners and increase of mutual trade and investments should be our priority.”

She said she hoped that at the upcoming BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, leaders would insist on binding agreements to help eliminate barriers.

BRICS Business Council chairperson Dr Iqbal Survé added that “barriers kill trade”.

“Innovation and trade can only flourish in an open society,” he said. “The promise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will thrive in open societies and open economies.”

Survé said that in the face of mounting trade protectionism, “as the BRICS Business Council, we have suggested that BRICS countries consciously promote an open world economy and oppose unnecessary forms of trade protections”. (ANA)