SABC News, South Africa
Time for IBSA to shine in world trade, says Mbeki
14 September 2006
President Thabo Mbeki says IBSA’s (India-Brazil-South Africa’s) time has arrived to make a mark on world trade. He was addressing the IBSA summit in Brazil and called on developing nations to form strong partnerships and strategic alliances in the wake of the recent collapse of the Doha round of trade talks.
Mbeki says there are greater possibilities for developing countries to accelerate their own development initiatives by harnessing their common strengths.
The IBSA meeting also agreed to work on a Free Trade Agreement among themselves. This emerged at the end of the IBSA presidential summit held in Brasilia, the Brazilian capital, last night.
The envisaged agreement will see three regional economic blocs - SA Customs Union (Sacu0, Mercosur and India - relaxing trade regulations among member states. Mbeki says such an initiative would be the first of its kind in the global trading system.
"Our business communities are very central. There are critical elements in terms of meeting those objectives, and I’m sure all of us are hoping that the interactions that we have had will translate into practical co-operation, impacting on the development of our economies, impacting of the growth of trade between our economies," Mbeki said.
At the end of the first meeting of IBSA Heads of State and government, there was a call on poor nations to wake up and do it for themselves. In a joint statement after the summit, the leaders of India, Brazil and South Africa said the repeated collapse of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks sends a clear message that developing nations need to form strong partnerships and strategic alliances to fight unfair trade policies.