Parliamentary Question: Presidency: Special trade benefits as member of BRICS

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Mr D A Worth (DA-FS) to ask the Deputy President:
(1) What special trade benefits will South Africa receive as a member of the Brazil, Russia, India, China group (BRIC) in respect of (a) imports from and (b) exports to these countries;

(2) whether BRIC countries will be encouraged to import more goods from South Africa; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(3) whether there are any special benefits for (a) South African companies which are or will be investing in BRIC countries and (b) companies from BRIC countries which are or will be investing in South Africa; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

REPLY

President JG Zuma has been invited to attend the Third BRIC Summit by President Hu Jintao in his capacity as host for this Summit. This will be the first time that the South African Head of State will participate in a BRIC Summit – which will become BRICS given South Africa’s membership. At this Summit, the President is expected to address issues of national interest as they pertain to (i) our African agenda, (ii) the strengthening of South-South Cooperation, (iii) boosting trade and investment opportunities, (iv) reforming multilateral institutions as well as (v) furthering our growth and job creation imperatives as expressed by Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP2) and the New Growth Path.

You would have heard Minister Gordhan comment in his budget speech as follows: “South Africa’s invitation to join the BRIC economies [Brazil, Russia, India and China] reflects this broadening of the sources of economic growth. Over the next five years, these economies will account for 36 percent of world economic growth. We have to construct our own growth and development strategies to propel our economy forward, create jobs and compete on the global stage.”

The BRICS Summit will be hosted in April 2011 and since the host country has not as yet formally announced the date for the Summit and agenda related aspects, South Africa is not in a position to publicly comment on specific issues related to the agenda, which is also still under discussion.

South Africa is at this stage not in a position to comment on any special BRICS trade and investment regime designed for us, but will make these public once finalised with fellow members. Currently, existing bilateral agreements with each of our counterparts obtain.

At this stage it is expected that the normal investment regimes will pertain, but you will see that at the last BRIC Summit, an agreement was signed between BRIC Development Banks in April 2010 of which the intent was to and I quote “promote economic and investment cooperation within the framework of BRIC countries” which will in future include a South African banking party where such discussions could also take place.



I thank you.