PTI, July 18, 2012

India and four other BRICS countries are soon expected to set up working on trade facilitation, customs cooperation, among other issues, to enhance economic ties among the members.

“By the third quarter of this year, we may set up the working groups. It would consists of government officials from all the nations. It may also have people from private sector and academia,” Director in the Commerce Ministry, Zothan Khuma, said here at a function of CUTS and Observer Research Foundation.

Khuma said officials of the member countries are in the process of drawing up terms and references for the groups.Besides trade facilitation and customs cooperation, working groups would also be set up on investment promotion and increasing cooperation in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he said.

“Huge potential is present among BRICS to increase trade and investments,” he added.BRICS is an association of five fast emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The bloc is also considering to set up a Development Bank to mobilise resources for infrastructure projects.

Speaking on the occasion, Director in the Department of Economic Affairs, Usha Titus, said that for the bank, some issues needs to be looked at like “would the bank deal with hard currency or local currency or both? Its organisational structure and where it will be located?”

The five emerging economies are performing relatively better than their western counterparts during the time of global economic uncertainties.

At the fourth BRICS summit in March, in an initiative to promote trade in local currencies, the BRICS nations had signed two agreements to provide line of credit to business community and decided to examine the possibility of setting up a development bank on lines of multilateral lending agencies.

Intra-BRICS trade is about $ 230 billion and has the potential of more than doubling to $ 500 billion by 2015.

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