Sputnik: How important is the role of business associations in the development of cooperation among small and medium enterprises? Why?
Gilberto Ramos: Through the Brazilian structure and law, we also have the status of “micro” enterprises, those with one to five members, including the employees, and an organisation of the 3rd sector, called Sebrae, dedicated to support and improve micro and small business. We clearly understand that the support of such entities, and also cooperatives which represent the joint-interests of each specific sector, help hugely for the development of activities, and stimulate the creation of new micro, small and medium enterprises, many of which [adopt] new technologies and startups. In this direction, the role of a Chambers of Commerce such as ours, as well as the BRICS Alliance, also facilitate their activities on the international market, in our case specifically Russia and Eurasia. There is also a very interesting case in Brazil, where small and medium chicken and pork producers were reunited at a Cooperative, named “Aurora”, which turned into one of the biggest worldwide suppliers of animal protein.
Sputnik: Your organisation says that an effective solution to many issues affecting modern international relations is impossible without the active mobilisation of civil society in the BRICS countries. Could you tell us in more detail what you mean by this?
Gilberto Ramos: There's no doubt that the mobilisation of civil society is the key to the success of the bringing together of the “BRICS Countries”, [compelling them to] interact with each other. This group of countries has the power be an influencing agent on the global scene as a whole. There are similarities among them, being countries with huge populations (especially India and China), continent-sized territories, and large GDPs. We believe that with the activity between governments, through public-private partnerships and with the support of the New Development Bank (NDB), the consolidation of the BRICS countries is already a reality, and there is no way back.
Sputnik: Could you tell us what the BRICS Alliance is doing to identify and support civic initiatives?
Gilberto Ramos: Part of the answer was already mentioned on item “1”, but I emphasise that through our organisation ”BRICS ALLIANCE – “International Alliance of Strategic BRICS Projects”, beyond the emphasis on innovations and new technologies, in order to stimulate the creation of startups, we’ve been also promoting humanitarian activities, promoting cultural and humanitarian activities among the five countries. Our role is to identify new business, scientific and cultural projects, promoting events throughout the year, not only in the framework of the Presidents' Summit Meetings, having presented necessary differential for the consolidation of this group of nations. I stress once again that the role of funding agents, such as the NDB, is critical to achieving these goals. Regarding the cultural aspect, we have promoted cultural and fashion events, including mentoring the creation of the BRICS Orchestra, composed by 15 musicians from each of the five countries, performing periodically, including at the time of the Summits. These “soft-power” platforms are highly important within the BRICS concept.
Sputnik: In general, do you think companies and businesses should (or can) establish partnerships with the state? If so, how exactly?
Gilberto Ramos: Considering the strong bonds of friendship that have been developed over the last few years, reaffirming the values that the BRICS countries share in respecting international law, the principles of democracy and the guarantee of international peace and security, and reiterating their commitment to act jointly with a view to strengthening multilateralism, and promoting sustainable business and cultural ties, we are convinced that joint-work among the private and government organisations is crucial for the objectives of the five nations, in order for them to be fully achieved.
Sputnik: In your opinion, how important is the dialogue between small and medium-sized businesses and government departments?
Gilberto Ramos: As I've stressed, it is fundamental to have support – financing, logistics, information, scientific research, etc. – from government departments, but mainly guided by the existing demands of the population. The existence of channels of integrated communication is also another aspect to be observed carefully. As you’re aware, as Vice-President of BRICS Alliance, in charge for activities in Brazil, in spite of some lack of information, I can assure that the Brazilian government is totally dedicated to the improvement of the BRICS dialogues, as a country which is also the leader of the scenario at Latin America. The consolidation of the block will also be very important for Mercosur relations.
Sputnik: In 2000, there was an active rapprochement between Brazil and Russia; many opponents of this alliance regarded it as an “alliance for evil". How do you assess the trade and economic partnership achievements of Russia and Brazil through the years?
Gilberto Ramos: The statement, that this could be an “alliance for evil”, depends on from where (and who) it comes ...! Certainly, strengthening the ties of these two countries would contradict the interests of other countries, already present in Brazil. I clearly see that, at the bilateral level, the alliance between Brazil and Russia is of great strategic importance. The nations have complementary economies with the power to strengthen each other. There is much to be done, and the timing is the best possible. I have always said that Russia and Brazil not only represent "markets" for each other, but are the biggest strategic partners , with the possibility to have leadership on the world scene.
Sputnik: Please tell us how the activities of countries within BRICS affect the development and security of small and medium-sized businesses of the participating countries? What measures are being taken?
Gilberto Ramos: I can assure that the improvement of the activities of the countries within the BRICS regards not only the micro, small and medium-sized business, but the world community at all. As being formed at the last few years, I foresee that we are at the right way, where the strengthening of the multilateralism will be concretely possible through the improvement of relations within the BRICS Countries.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.