India, Brazil, South Africa discuss trade

2011-10-18 16:40:56

The leaders of the emerging economies of India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) meet on Tuesday to discuss trade and investment opportunities in a summit dominated by the global economic crisis.

"The objectives of the summit are to promote South-South cooperation as well as trade and investment opportunities amongst the three countries," the department of foreign affairs said in a statement.

The countries had managed to surpass intra-trade targets set during the forum's inception in 2003.

Addressing a meeting of ministers, South Africa's trade minister said trade relations amongst IBSA countries had shot up significantly in the wake of the global economic recession.

"We have set ourselves a target of achieving $10 billion of a combined intra-IBSA trade by the year 2010, and in fact we achieved that in 2009, in the midst of the first wave of global economic recession," said Rob Davies.

Davies said he was confident that the new 2015 IBSA intra-trade targets would be achieved.

"The current figures suggest that in 2010 we achieved $16.1 million, which places us somewhere in striking distance to achieve the current target which is $25 billion combined intra-trade by the year 2015," he added.

During the first IBSA summit in 2003, the three countries pledged to boost trilateral trade to 15 billion dollars by 2010.

As non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, the countries led by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Brazil's Dilma Rousseff are also expected to discuss the political situation in Syria.

Forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have killed more than 3,000 people in a fierce crackdown on people who took to the streets calling for greater freedoms since March this year, according to the UN.

The three nations have demonstrated coordinated actions in the recent past on Syria. All abstained in the Security Council vote to sanction Syria, provoking a walk-out by the United States.

In August, the IBSA countries sent a joint mission to Damascus and demanded an end to the violence.

Climate change is also probably an important theme ahead of the UN climate talks, which South Africa will host from November 28 in Durban as a last chance to find a way forward on fighting climate change, with the Kyoto Protocol's commitments to cut carbon emissions expiring after 2012.

The three countries formed a united front in demanding emissions reduction and climate aid money at the last talks in Copenhagen in 2009.

The follow-up discussions on joint projects, including a $1 billion satellite to monitor climate change, and an international fund to fight poverty and hunger were also expected to be on the agenda.

According to Pretoria, IBSA endeavours to combine the collective strengths and qualities of the three countries from three different continents which are "substantial emerging economies within their sub-regions into a unique model of multilateralism".

"Cooperation takes place in a broad range of areas that would lead to technology and skills transfer, socio-economic upliftment, job opportunities and infrastructural development."

According to 2008 figures, the IBSA nations boast a combined population of 1.384 billion people, with an average growth of 5.4 percent.