President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Xi Jinping,
It is my pleasure to welcome representatives of governments and business communities, experts and industry professionals of the BRICS countries who have gathered at the traditional Business Forum.
The Forum indeed plays a large practical role in promoting mutual trade and investment, strengthening cooperation ties and enhancing direct dialogue between business communities, not only within our Association, but also in a broader, global dimension. After all, the participants in the BRICS Business Forum represent the interests of a significant and the most dynamically developing part of the international economic community.
In this regard, I would like to recall that our countries are home to more than 3 billion people, and together account for about a quarter of the global GDP, 20 per cent of trade and roughly 25 per cent of direct investments, while the total international reserves of the BRICS countries (as of the beginning of 2022) amount to about 35 per cent of world reserves.
Hence the high relevance, in our opinion, of the theme of this Forum – Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development. It is also important that the agenda of the Forum is packed with truly crucial issues, such as ensuring sustainable growth of the global economy, preserving its openness, increasing cooperation in the field of digital economy, green growth, industry modernization, and building new transport and logistics chains.
Russia supports the draft Beijing Initiative to be adopted following the Forum, which reaffirms determination of BRICS business circles to continue close joint work in all the areas mentioned.
Entrepreneurs of our countries are forced to develop their business in a challenging environment when the Western partners neglect the basic principles of market economy, free trade, and inviolability of private property. They follow, in fact, an irresponsible macroeconomic course, including the launch of the “printing press” – uncontrolled emission and accumulation of unsecured debts.
At the same time more and more politically motivated sanctions are continuously introduced, mechanisms of exerting pressure on competitors are further strengthened. There is intentional destruction of cooperation ties; transport and logistics chains are destroyed. And all this is contrary to common sense and basic economic logic, it undermines business interests on a global scale, negatively affecting the wellbeing of people, in effect, of all countries.
As a result, the problems in the world economy become recurrent. What we see is an economic slowdown, growing unemployment, shortages in raw materials and components. Problems with ensuring global food security are getting worse; prices for grain crops and other basic agricultural products are being inflated.
It is important that, despite all the problems and difficulties, BRICS business circles have been consistently enhancing mutually beneficial ties in the areas of trade, finance, and investment. For example, in the first three months of this year, trade between the Russian Federation and the BRICS countries increased by 38 per cent – and reached USD 45 billion.
Contacts between Russian business circles and the business community of the BRICS countries have intensified. For example, negotiations are underway to open Indian chain stores in Russia, increase the share of Chinese cars, equipment, and hardware on our market. In its turn, Russia’s presence in the BRICS countries is growing. There has been a noticeable increase in the exports of Russian oil to China and India.
Agricultural cooperation is developing dynamically. Russia exports considerable amounts of fertilizers to the BRICS states. Russian IT companies are expanding their activities in India and South Africa, and our satellites enable TV broadcasting for as many as 40 million residents of Brazil.
Together with BRICS partners, we are developing reliable alternative mechanisms for international settlements. The Russian Financial Messaging System is open for connection with the banks of the BRICS countries. The Russian MIR payment system is expanding its presence. We are exploring the possibility of creating an international reserve currency based on the basket of BRICS currencies.
The Russian business community, in coordination with the business communities of the BRICS states, takes prompt steps to develop the transport infrastructure. Logistics routes are readjusted, new production chains are created.
I would like to stress that Russia's strategy has not changed: while strengthening our economic, technological and scientific potential, we are ready to work openly with all bona fide partners based on the principles of mutual respect for each other's interests, the primacy of international law, and equality for all nations and peoples.
During my address at the recent St Petersburg International Economic Forum, I have already spoken in detail about our plans for further economic development and the creation of comfortable conditions for business in general, including foreign business. It is significant that representatives of foreign companies and entrepreneurs who came to St Petersburg showed their willingness to continue working on the Russian market and adapt to new conditions. And we will certainly provide all the necessary assistance to them.
In general, I would like to note that Russia is taking comprehensive measures aimed at mitigating the negative impact of sanctions and strengthening our trade and investment relations with all the states concerned.
Our macroeconomic policy shows its effectiveness in practice. We were able to protect the Russian financial system and begin to stabilize the situation in the industry by providing targeted social support to citizens.
The Russian state, first of all, focuses on stimulating the private initiative. We strive to expand entrepreneurial freedoms by reducing the administrative burden, launching new easy-term lending programs, and introducing tax and customs exemptions.
We are actively engaged in redirecting our trade flows and foreign economic contacts to reliable international partners, first of all, the BRICS countries.
Taking the opportunity, I am pleased to invite representatives of your states to the Eastern Economic Forum, which will be held in Vladivostok in early September, where many issues relevant to the BRICS business community will also be discussed.
In conclusion, I would like to express my confidence that the work of the Business Forum of our Association will continue to focus on expanding trade, business, investment and production ties of the BRICS countries.
Certainly, I would like to thank the President of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, and all Chinese friends for organizing this Forum, and I wish its participants success and all the best.