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(From left) Brazil President Michel Temer, Russia’s Vladimir Putin PM Narendra Modi, China President Xi Jinping and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma  and  at the Brics summit in Goa. Photo: PTI
(From left) Brazil President Michel Temer, Russia’s Vladimir Putin PM Narendra Modi, China President Xi Jinping and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma and at the Brics summit in Goa. Photo: PTI

Brics leaders commit to reviving economic growth

At Brics Summit 2016 in Goa, members failed to reach consensus on a credit rating agency and cooperation between exim banks and New Development Bank

Goa: The world’s five largest emerging economies, which together account for 30% of the world’s economic output, committed themselves to reviving global growth by using a combination of monetary, fiscal and structural tools at the eighth Brics summit in Goa on Sunday.

But Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa could not sustain the momentum on institution-building they generated in past summits after creating the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), meant to serve as a shield against global liquidity pressures.

The five members of Brics failed to reach consensus on signing two crucial agreements—one to create a Brics credit rating agency and the other on cooperation between their export-import banks and the NDB.

“We reiterate our determination to use all policy tools— monetary, fiscal, and structural, individually and collectively—to achieve the goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth," the five countries pledged in their Goa Declaration. “Monetary policy will continue to support the economic activity and ensure price stability, consistent with central banks’ mandates."

The Brics summit was held at the Taj Exotica hotel overlooking Benaulim beach in Goa. Presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the summit was attended by the heads of government from the four other member states: presidents Michel Temer of Brazil, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China and Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

The five emerging economies, however, contended that monetary policy alone cannot lead to balanced and sustainable growth and stressed the role of structural reforms.

“We emphasise that our fiscal policies are equally important to support our common growth objectives. We also take note that the spillover effects of certain policy measures in some systemically important, advanced economies can have adverse impact on growth prospects of emerging economies," the declaration stated.

The Brics group accounts for 43% of the world’s population and has 17% share in world trade. The group’s exports to the rest of the world amounted to $3.48 trillion in 2014. Between 2006 and 2015, intra-Brics trade increased 163%—from $93 billion to $244 billion.

The leaders noted that they were meeting at a time when global economic recovery is progressing with improved resilience and the emergence of new sources of growth. “The growth, though, is weaker than expected with downside risks to the global economy continuing to persist. This gets reflected in a variety of challenges including commodity price volatility, weak trade, high private and public indebtedness, inequality and lack of inclusiveness of economic growth. Meanwhile, the benefits from growth need to be shared broadly in an inclusive manner. Geopolitical conflicts, terrorism, refugee flows, illicit financial flows and the outcome of the UK referendum have further added to the uncertainty in the global economy," they added.

On the proposed Brics credit rating agency, the declaration said experts from the grouping will explore the possibility of setting up one based on market-oriented principles to strengthen the global governance architecture.

The Brics leaders did not sign an agreement on the proposed agency as they thought it needs more consultations among experts, said Amar Sinha, secretary of economic relations in the ministry of external affairs. “Every credit rating agency has to have credibility and access to absolutely dependable data. The experts of all member countries will now work on these issues," he told journalists.

Mint reported on 14 October that China was opposing India’s proposal for a BRICS-sponsored credit rating agency, holding that a government-backed agency will have little credibility.

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The leaders said non-tariff measures (NTMs), the services sector, and standardization and conformity assessments were possible areas of future cooperation. “We welcome, in this context, the continued realization of the major Brics economic initiatives, such as enhanced cooperation in e-commerce, ‘single-window’ IPR (intellectual property rights) cooperation, trade promotion, and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)," they said.

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The Brics nations signed an agreement on the establishment of a Customs Cooperation Committee and said they were exploring the means of enhancing collaborations in the future, including those aimed at creating a legal basis for customs cooperation and facilitating procedures of customs control.

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