Strengthened innovation is a key element for BRICS countries to solve challenges they face, said Paulo Estivallet de Mesquita, Brazil's ambassador to China, who added that the five countries need to cooperate in emerging industries of the digital economy.
Closer cooperation in such areas is among the priorities Brazil has set for the group as its chair this year during its meeting in the capital, Brasilia. The five countries-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa-need to work together for innovative solutions for issues old and new, including sustaining economic development and fighting tuberculosis, Estivallet said.
Speaking of the digital economy, the ambassador said it has generated "enormous possibilities", but "doesn't really respect borders", thus international cooperation is necessary to deal with issues such as fraud and consumer protection.
Also, some multilateral organizations have taken "the first step" to develop the digital economy, and BRICS countries need to work together in the field, "given their importance and given that we want to have a bigger say in the way international regulation is made", he said.
China is investing great efforts in scientific and technological innovation as well as the development of the digital economy. In his meeting with Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro in Beijing in October, President Xi Jinping said the two countries should enhance their cooperation in these fields.
Estivallet said Brazil values such cooperation with China, a country which "is probably the most developed country in the world in terms of digital payments".
The two countries began cooperation in science and technology in the 1980s, and the development of Earth resources satellites is an important part. For the next stage of cooperation, Estivallet said it is crucial to translate the will of the two countries' leaders into concrete scientific and technological projects.
China and Brazil have also made strides in economic cooperation. In 2018, bilateral trade hit a record $100 billion, Xinhua News Agency reported.
"The development of trade between the BRICS countries is a good example of how trade and investment relationships should be conducted," Estivallet said, adding he is optimistic that BRICS will continue to play a positive role in maintaining global free trade and multilateralism.
"It is true that at this moment, several multilateral institutions are going through difficult periods. We, as big players in the world economy, now have the interest and responsibility of contributing to restoring a more solid basis for multilateral trade and financial institutions," he said.