Five fastest growing economies, including India, on Wednesday vowed to oppose trade protectionism as they agreed to coordinate their positions in the multilateral fora, including the G-20 and climate change negotiations, to uphold the interests of developing countries.
The Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (Brics) economic and trade ministers, who met here on the eve of the grouping's Summit, noted that the recent turmoil in Middle East and North Africa as well as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan had brought about uncertainties to the world economic development and agreed to further strengthen cooperation among themselves by expanding mutual trade and investment.
The economic and trade ministers committed to "oppose trade protectionism in all its forms," said a joint press release issued after the meeting attended by commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma.
In this regard, they decided to establish a contact group entrusted with the task of proposing an institutional framework and concrete measures to expand economic cooperation among Brics and with other developing countries, within the South-South perspective, it said.
Addressing the media, Sharma said it was imperative for the Brics countries to coordinate their positions considering the fact that the recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa had "severely impacted" the global oil prices.
He said the five countries would be coordinating their synergies on the reforms of global institutions like IMF and World Bank besides the G-20 and WTO.
Sharma pointed out that the Brics countries were contributing up to 25 per cent to the global GDP and had the potential to grow more.
The deliberations of the first meeting of Brics economic and trade ministers will form basis for the discussions at the Summit in Sanya on Thursday which will be attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.