BRICS businesses want multiple-entry visas, portal for partnership

Johannesburg, Aug 21 (IANS) Business leaders from five BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries have asked their governments to create multiple-entry business visas valid for longer periods and consider creating a BRICS business travel card to make doing business easier.

Onkar Kanwar, chairman of BRICS Business Council India chapter, said multiple visas would make it easier for business people to move across member-countries, and negotiate and cut trade and investment deals quicker than it is now.

The Council, which met for the first time here for the last two days, also proposed the creation of a BRICS online business portal that could be facilitated by the Council Secretariat.

Launched in Durban at the fifth BRICS Summit in March, the Council's formation marked the first tangible step by the five emerging economies which walked their talk to create linkages at the business level to drive the grouping's trade and investment agenda.

In a joint statement following the meeting, the Council agreed to promote public-private partnerships among the five emerging economies and focus its collaboration in areas such as infrastructure, mining and minerals beneficiation, value-added manufacturing, and sustainable development.

The Council backed the establishment of a BRICS Development Bank, and urged the BRICS governments to speed up the formation of the bank.

"In respect of the BRICS Development Bank, we appeal to governments to accelerate the formation of the bank," said the communique.

Patrice Motsepe, head of the South Africa chapter of the Council who chaired the meeting, asked the business leaders to identify three key strategic industries that each country wanted to develop further through trade and investment.

Those industries would serve as a conduit for partnerships and joint ventures, he said.

Motsepe said African business leaders must embrace opportunities presented by BRICS.

Kanwar said priority should also be given to helping Africa develop skills and raise productivity.

"Success is not alien to Africa," he said, adding that there was scope for BRICS, along with the rest of Africa, to capitalise on each BRICS country's respective strengths, including India's skill in software development and China's forte in technology hardware manufacturing.

Others who participated in the meeting were Jose de la Rosa of Brazil, Sergey Katyrin of Russia and MA Zehua of China.

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