Total trade within the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) grouping amounted to $6.1 billion last year, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.
“This represents 16.8 percent of global trade,” he told delegates at the BRICS business council meeting in Johannesburg.
“The presence and influence of the BRICS grouping continues to be felt.”
Zuma said the strength of BRICS was amplified by the fact that these countries accounted for 43 percent of the world's population.
“Indeed, we are all gathered here because we see value in the BRICS partnership in many respects.”
In 2012, South Africa's total trade with BRICS countries stood at R294bn, up from R264bn in 2011.
Total trade with Brazil grew from R18bn in 2011 to R20bn in 2012, and with Russia from R3bn in 2011 to R5bn in 2012.
Zuma said total trade with India, South Africa's sixth largest trading partner, grew substantially from R53bn to R67bn.
Trade with China grew from R188bn in 2011 to R201bn in 2012.
“All these impressive statistics... should provide you with the determination and confidence to deliver on the imperatives...” he told delegates.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the council meeting was intended to deepen the partnerships to enhance co-operation and development on the African continent.
BRICS council South African chairman Patrice Motsepe said it was crucial that the commitment to increase trade and investment was seen, and “quantifiable”.
“There's a new sense of urgency,” Motsepe said.
He emphasised “value-added trade” and common objectives being sought.
“BRICS is not about excluding other countries,” said Motsepe.
“We want to see investments quantify... It is important to build on the BRICS partnership.” -Sapa