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Joint Site of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of BRICS Member States

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

E-commerce Key to BRICS Nations Business Ties

By Chen Meiling and Hu Meidong

E-commerce will become a new engine of business cooperation among BRICS countries to improve both regional and global economic growth, experts said.

"E-commerce can help construct a more convenient custom clearance, modernized logistics and ideal investment environment," said Wang Jinzhen, vice-chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, at the Public-Private Partnership Forum on BRICS E-commerce.

BRICS, which involves Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has 44 percent of the world's population-a potential huge market, Wang said.

The rising middle class group and upgrading consumption structure in those countries also laid a foundation for developing the e-commerce industry, he said.

It's necessary for each member to establish more related laws and regulations and inclusive and sustainable financing and investment systems when conducting overseas business, he added.

The five countries contributed 50 percent to the growth of the global economy, while the business volume only occupied 16 percent.

"With the promotion of modern trading, the number will change," he said.

Wang Zhen, director of the Asian-Pacific region of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, said at the forum that there is great potential for e-commerce cooperation among BRICS countries.

The number of netizens from those countries surpassed 1.46 billion last year, among which about 700 million go shopping online, he said.

The trading volume of the internet retail business reached $800 billion, about 11 percent of which came from cross-border e-commerce, he added.

"E-commerce played an important role in boosting regional economic growth," he said. "It also benefits small and medium-sized companies and provides job opportunities for women and young people."

Common challenges for BRICS countries to develop e-commerce include the less developed information network and logistics, as well as a lack of talent and mature market regulation and credit system, according to the E-commerce Development Report of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises of BRICS Countries released at the forum.

The report was co-launched by the UNIDO and Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

The solution includes establishing unified international rules, multilateral negotiation and dispute-settlement mechanisms, as well as eliminating tariff barriers, the report said.

BRICS should also promote the sales of each other's major products and simplify the regulation of cross-border trade, it said.

Source: China Daily