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IBSA business leaders debate ways to deepen relations

Mining Weekly, South Africa

IBSA business leaders debate ways to deepen relations

15 September 2006

Indian, Brazilian, and South African business leaders have identified key issues that have to be addressed to allow the more rapid development of broader and deeper economic relations between the three countries.

These leaders participated in a business forum which took place on September 12, as part of the first ever IBSA Dialogue Forum Summit, and their joint report was presented to the three heads of Government at the Plenary of the Summit yesterday (September 13), by the President of the Brazilian National Confederation of Industries, Carlos Eduardo Moreira Ferreira.

Business interest in the opportunities presented by IBSA was illustrated by Moreira Ferreira when he pointed out that there had been 368 delegates registered for the business forum.

Furthermore, business people from the three countries used the second day of the Summit to pursue business opportunities for their companies.

"We effected 127 appointments between companies from the three countries, to further develop business relations between these companies," he reported.

In addition to business leaders from the three countries, the business forum also received a special presentation from the World Bank on the investment climates in each of the three countries.

"The business meeting served to identify points we would like to stress, that need to be addressed," he stated.

There are five of these.

First, the three countries still need to increase their mutual knowledge, and that initiatives to achieve this must be explored.

Second, "the need to be more ambitious in trade negotiations between the three countries - the expansion and deepening of the (existing preferrential trade) agreements."

Third, the reduction of transaction costs, especially with regard to transport, but also financial services.

Fourth, the need to exchange experiences of economic reform in the three countries.

Fifth, "the acknowledgement by business of certain areas that offer the greatest opportunities," he cited.

These areas are: agribusiness; energy; information technology; pharmaceuticals; biotechnology;and research and development.

"Finally, it became clear that the opportunities for synergies between India, Brazil and South Africa should be exploited," concluded Moreira Ferreira.

South African business leaders attending the forum included Patrice Motsepe of African Rainbow Minerals, in his capacity as President of Business Unityy South Africa, Max Sisulu of Sasol, and Seth Phalatse, Chairman of Global Eagle.