Moscow: BRICS countries may sign an agreement on greater economic integration in the next five years, Russia’s First Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexei Likhachev said on Monday.
“Of course, it is now premature to talk about the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China South Africa) economic agreement. But if the approach and the crystallisation of our association as an international group will take place at the same pace as now, the economic agreement within a few years will be quite timely and inevitable. I think it can happen within five years,” Likhachev said in an interview with TASS news agency.
In his opinion, the correct decision was that “we do not rush events and not grind out an agreement on free trade zone now”.
“Countries are not yet ready for it psychologically. But we are already discussing the terms of the agreement regime,” he added.
However, Likhachev expressed confidence that “the day when the BRICS countries will speak about the economic agreement is not far away”. According to him, the agreement will undergo several stages.
“At first it will be a declarative document that will inspire our countries to cooperate more actively. Then it could be non-preferential agreements, which optimise regulatory system, simplify customs and investment procedures, create the so-called “green corridors” for goods. The third phase is a preferential regime — concessions that we will make in terms of commodity trade,” Likhachev said.