Unfair competition becoming more and more widespread in global trade: Putin at BRICS

Russian President Vladimir Putin © Mikhail Metzel/TASS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BRASILIA, Nov 14, 2019, TASS. Unfair competition and protectionism are becoming more and more widespread in global trade, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, TASS reported.

“Undoubtedly, the global economy was affected by the fact that methods of unfair competition, unilateral sanctions – including politically motivated ones are being used on a wider scale in the global trade, [and] protectionism is flourishing. Under those circumstances, BRICS nations have to take serious effort to ensure the development of their economies, to prevent the deterioration of the social situation and the fall of living standards, of our citizens’ welfare,” Putin said at the closing ceremony of the BRICS business forum.

“Of course, we all know that the situation in the global economy remains complicated,” he continued. “Since the start of 2018, the pace of economic growth has been slowing down, and, according to the International Monetary Fund estimates, this year it is to reach its lowest figures in a decade.”

Russian economy

The Russian government managed to prevent the national economy from plunging into recession, but the present-day GDP growth is not fast enough, Putin told the BRICS business forum.

“For many years, we in Russia have been conducting balanced macroeconomic policy, treat state finances with responsibility, maintain stability of the bank and loan markets, seek to strengthen the key sectors of the economy. Thanks to that, we managed to prevent the country’s economy from plunging into recession,” Putin said at the closing ceremony of the BRICS business forum.

“Of course, we do not think that the current GDP growth rate is sufficient, that’s why we are seeking to make the environment for new investments as comfortable as possible,” the president added.

The Russian Ministry of Economic Development maintains a forecast of Russia’s GDP growth by the end of 2019 by 1.3%. “In the Q4 of 2019, economic growth rate is expected to remain at around the level of the Q3, which corresponds to the forecast of the Ministry of Economic Development for GDP growth in 2019 (1.3%),” the ministry said.

Rosstat tentatively estimated annual growth of the Russian economy in the Q3 at 1.7%, the growth in January-September was 1.1.

Energy cooperation with BRICS

In his speech, Putin invited Russia’s partners in the BRICS group of nations to expand cooperation in the energy sector, including the nuclear power sector.

“Energy remains one of the priority areas of the five nations’ cooperation. Russia keeps to ensure reliable energy supply to global markets, makes a considerable contribution into sustaining the global energy security, without which economic growth and social development cannot be guaranteed,” the Russian leader said at the closing ceremony of the BRICS business forum.

“We are ready to expand cooperation with BRICS nations in the use of environmentally friendly types of fuel,” he continued.

Putin named “producing renewable sources of energy, increasing energy efficiency, using natural gas as engine fuel” among promising areas of joint work.

He also said that “Russia has the most advanced, environmentally friendly and cleanest nuclear power generation technologies.”

“We successfully develop cooperation in this sector with our BRICS partners, first of all with China and India,” the Russian leader said, adding that his country “invites all the other partners in the group to engage in mutually beneficial projects in the energy sector.”.

Cooperation in digital technologies

Putin invited Russia’s BRICS partners – Brazil, India, China and South Africa – to pay attention to Russia’s digital technologies, such as anti-virus software and search engine technologies.

“There are also good opportunities to enhance our cooperation in the sector of information and technologies,” he said. “The Russian side suggests that BRICS nations take a closer look at our advanced solutions.”

Putin said he meant “electronic document and content management systems, search engines and anti-virus software that meets the most advanced information security requirements.”

“We are ready to provide them for their use by the organization’s members,” the Russian leader said.

He also said that Russia “came up with an initiative to launch a data exchange network for small-and medium-sized businesses within the BRICS framework.” According to Putin, “this would allow BRICS business circles to get relevant information about goods, services, suppliers, would help them search and find new partners.”.

Invitation to Russian business forums

In his speech, Putin also invited officials and business leaders to attend Russia’s main economic forums next year.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) business forum on Thursday, the Russian leader said that the organization’s next summit, to take place in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg in July, will be preceded by a series of notable events, including those aimed at promoting economic cooperation.

“I would like to take this opportunity to invite official representatives and business circles of the BRICS member states to take part in them,” Putin said. “Besides, we invite you to come to the biggest business forums in Russia – the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum <…> and the Eastern Economic Forum,” Putin told the participants of the conference.

It was earlier reported that the next year’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum will take place on June 3-6, and the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) – in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on September 2-5.

According to the Russian leader, the top priorities of the country’s presidency in BRICS in 2020 will include ways to further enhance trade and investment contacts among the five nations. Among other things, Moscow will suggest its partners to update the BRICS economic partnership strategy, adopted in 2015.

“It would make sense to think about new goals that can be set for our organization and about truly massive tasks that we should focus on regarding our joint activities in trade, financial sector and investment,” Putin said.

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