The meeting was also attended by President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, Chairman of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, and President of South Africa Jacob Zuma.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Ufa.
We’re happy to see business leaders from the BRICS countries here. You know that we not only ask for your opinions on how to organise cooperation within BRICS and what principles to incorporate into its institutional documents, but we also try to implement them.
Today the BRICS leaders will meet with members of their business communities. I am honoured to give the floor to my BRICS colleagues. We’ll also listen to what you have to say, and then I’ll sum up the results of our discussion.
Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to begin by thanking the national leaders: the President of Brazil, the Prime Minister of India, the Chairman of the People's Republic of China and the President of the South Africa for their substantive and interesting statements. I would also like to thank the [Business] Council Chairman Mr Katyrin and all of you for the work done in preparation for the summit.
Just before the meeting with the business community I had a brief discussion with trade union leaders from your nations. They also made proposals for the BRICS leaders in the hope that these proposals would be taken into account as we draft our documents and plan our practical actions.
This will be done, we will definitely take into account the trade unions' proposals. I cannot but agree with them that it is only through cooperation between businesses, workforce representatives, which are the trade unions, and the state that we can reach the best compromises to ensure sustainable development and improve wellbeing of our countries' citizens.
Unfortunately, our schedule does not allow us to have an extensive discussion at this point, which would undoubtedly be interesting for you and all my colleagues, I am sure. However, I would like to assure you that we will definitely take into account all the proposals you put together as you prepared for this meeting. Already now we can say with full confidence, and you all know it too, that based on these very proposals – the proposals made by your Council, we resolved to make a broader use of national currencies in our trade and economic exchanges.
We have even created contingent arrangement with some countries. Thus, our banks swapped resources with the People's Republic of China and they already traded ruble-yuan futures. I believe it would be interesting to see the same developments with India, Brazil and South Africa, and this would help increase trade turnover. On your initiative, we launched a dialogue on the unification of e-trade rules, and our colleagues here have just spoken about simplifying visa rules for business representatives, and this was also your initiative.
I would like to use my right as chairman and say that Russia is also creating favourable conditions for the development of cooperation in all areas, both in investment and in trade. I would like to note here that, despite all the difficulties facing the global economy and the Russian economy, we are managing to maintain the foundations of the Russian economy we have reinforced in the past 10–15 years.
We keep the unemployment at a very low level of 5.8 percent, we have maintained our reserves, we have a positive trade balance, and the national currency exchange rate stays within an acceptable range. All this gives us the right to say that together with our colleagues, we will overcome the current difficulties too. I would also like to draw your attention to those extra opportunities available to the entire business community of the BRICS nations in connection with the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank you for taking part in our work. I hope representatives of the business community will continue to make their noticeable contribution to the coordination of efforts to develop the economies of our countries.
Here I have to end this meeting. Thank you very much for your work.