New Delhi: Confident about India and other BRICS countries' emergence as global 'economic powerhouses', Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that agreements are in the pipeline for setting up of a BRICS Development Bank and a contingency reserve arrangement for the benefit of five nations.
Stressing on a need for greater economic and political coordination among BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- Singh also said these countries face common challenges, such as those emanating from global uncertainties.
"Monitoring and managing speculative capital flows is a challenging task in times of global uncertainty," Singh said while addressing the third BRICS International Competition Conference here.
"Maintaining a sustainable fiscal policy, while incurring significant public expenditures to raise the standards of living of a large population, is also a task that we have to grapple with continuously," he added.
"Developing infrastructure at a pace that supports the growth of industry and the increasing aspirations of the people is yet another challenge before us. Last, but by no means least, there is the need for building credible institutions for sustained and equitable growth," Singh said.
The Prime Minister said that BRICS has created structures for cooperation at different levels, in various areas and "two of the most significant agreements in the pipeline are those that will result in the setting up of a BRICS Development Bank and a Contingency Reserve Arrangement."
Singh said the BRICS countries have chosen differing growth paths suited to their macroeconomic conditions and varied institutional strengths.
"Yet, I have no doubt that their emergence as economic powerhouses is now an inescapable secular trend which will have a powerful impact on the world," he added.
Listing out the roles of five BRICS counties on global arena, Singh said that India is poised to become the most significant exporter of services, while China is on the path to becoming "the undisputed global leader in export of manufactured goods".
"Russia and Brazil dominate as exporters of raw materials. South Africa is ideally situated to reap dividends from the untapped growth potential of the African continent," he said.
"Along with our goal of strong and sustained economic growth, we have made a commitment to support the long-term growth of the global economy. This is expected through increased economic, finance and trade cooperation," he said.
Some of the common features among the five BRICS countries include their high growth rates, sizeable educated workforce, large domestic markets and natural resource endowments.
Together, they have a combined population of three billion people, a total estimated GDP of nearly USD 14 trillion and around USD 4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves.
"Growth, development and poverty reduction are the most important challenges that the governments of our five countries face. To meet these challenges, governments look for a sound architecture of policy in which the beneficial effects of markets can be maximised by action to prevent market failure," Singh said.
"The development of a sound Competition policy is, therefore, an essential element of such an architecture. Anti-competitive behaviour deprives markets of their ability to deliver efficient results and it also hurts the poor most of all," he said.
"But fair and effective competition in markets is easier said than done. It has to be created and enforced through public policy. Otherwise, private barriers may simply substitute governmental barriers to trade and prevent improvements in social welfare," he added.
Addressing top officials of anti-trust regulatory authorities from BRICS and many other countries at the conference, Prime Minister further said that emerging economies face unique challenges in the enforcement of competition law.
"In addition to the problems of under development, institutional design problems and government regulation characterise nearly all our economies. These are real-world challenges that have to be recognised for the successful implementation of an anti-trust regime," he said.
"A competition law enforcement regime cannot operate in isolation but instead has to be shaped and transformed by the existing socio-economic ideology and by other available policy tools," he said.
First Published: Thursday, November 21, 2013, 14:11