E-commerce to be key field of BRICS trade cooperation

By People’s Daily Online

The prosperous e-commerce will boost the vitality of trade activities between China and other BRICS nations, a senior Chinese official said Monday in Beijing.

E-commerce is expected to become a key field on the cooperation agenda of BRICS countries, which are looking for collective ways to deepen economic interconnectivity at the upcoming annual summit, Zhang Shaogang, director-general of International Economic and Trade Affairs of Chinese Commerce Ministry, said at a press briefing.

The total outbound investment of the BRICS countries is nearly $200 billion, but investments within the member states only make up six percent of that total, which is why e-commerce is important, experts argued.

If the existing barriers in logistics and customs are removed, Brazil’s agriculture products and craftwork, which have considerable market potential in China, will enjoy a higher proportion in the country’s exports to China, which is right now dominated by raw materials, said Zhou Zhiwei, executive director of the Brazil Research Center of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China’s top think tank.

Member states have reached consensus on giving a higher priority to e-commerce. When trade ministers convened in Shanghai earlier this month, they decided to establish an e-commerce working group for the BRICS nations and start the collaboration process right away.

Chinese commerce ministry’s most recent report revealed that China’s e-commerce expanded to 26.1 trillion RMB in 2016, accounting for a remarkable 40 percent of the global share. China has much to share with its rich experience in e-commerce platform building, digital payment systems, and logistics, which will bridge the gap among BRICS countries.

China proposed to build an electronic platform called the BRICS Pilot E-port Network to streamline trade and improve the business environment, which won a nod of approval at the trade ministers’ meeting.

“The establishment of this network will greatly enhance the level of interconnection and intercommunication, and facilitate trade among BRICS countries,” hailed Zhong Shan, China’s commerce minister.

Zhang noted that China is also thinking about setting up a first-of-its-kind training course at the end of this year designed for government officials, researchers, and business leaders from BRICS countries, so that they can discuss the industry’s latest trends, as well as the opportunities and challenges ahead.