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Speaking on a panel on Boosting Economic Cooperation in BRICS counties at the recent St Petersburg International Economic Forum, World Chambers Federation Chair Peter Mihok urged BRICS stakeholders to ensure the active engagement of chambers of commerce and their business communities, in key BRICS dialogue and projects. 

Moderated by Sergey Katyrin, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, the panel examined the possibilities and potential hindrances to achieve a new level of economic integration between the five countries, a key priority for China’s BRICS presidency in 2017.

“There is so much at stake for this unique group that has evolved in recent years, and which is so persistently and strongly striving to reaffirm its commitment to boosting economic cooperation,” said Mr Mihok noting that within BRICS economies there were over 3,600 chambers and over 2.5 million businesses. “BRICS have a very important and crucial role to play in the current uncertain policy environment of the global economy. It has to strengthen the bonds of economic cooperation within the group, and, at the same time, fight the forces of protectionism and anti-globalisation from outside.”

Mr Mihok told participants that chambers of commerce constantly strived to set new goals, envision the future plans and strategies not only for their respective communities, but also for businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“SMEs, which are the key members of chambers of commerce…will underlie the economic successes within each of these economies,” Mr Mihok said.

Mr Mihok also encouraged the participation of BRICS economies in the upcoming World Chambers Congress taking place in September in Sydney. Mr Mihok said that BRICS and the economic issues at their heart, formed an important part of the future of the Congress – a unique international platform for chambers of commerce to exchange best practice and experience. The 11th World Chambers Congress will be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2019, South Africa is bidding to co-host the event in 2021, Russia has expressed interest to bid for the 2023 Congress and China is likely to bid upon the Congress’ return to Asia in 2025.

The St Petersburg International Economic Forum took place from 1-3 June under the auspices of Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation. Convened under the theme ‘Achieving a New Balance on the Global Stage’ the Forum aimed to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the Russian, regional, and global economies.