BRICS are stumbling, Mr Editor
THE EDITOR, Sir: The Gleaner's recent editorial about the economic opportunities available to Jamaica in the BRICS countries was misleading, to say the least. These "booming" economies are not booming; they're stagnating.
To remind your readers, the BRICS economies are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The fact is that, after five years of spectacular growth, the BRICS economies are stumbling, as always in most cases through over-regulating, left-wing, Fabian socialism ideology, and, as is so often the case, red tape and corruption. Populism and corruption go hand in hand, of course.
Taking them in order, Brazil's economy is not expected to grow this year because of a tax regime that is asphyxiating, and a president that can't stop herself from interfering in management of the private sector. Russia is essentially a global gas station, and sanctions have succeeded in dragging its economy into recession.
India's growth has been stunted in the last couple of years by red tape and blatant corruption. China, I'll get to shortly. And South Africa's economy has ground to a half because of an epidemic of strikes in the mining sector, and the government covering its flank with left-wing rhetoric from the threat to the African National Congress by Malema.
As to China, we need to be realistic. The market is enormous, but it is complex and not transparent. And because of incredible competition from within, foreign SMEs mostly get buried by not being price competitive, not being savvy, not having sufficient inventory, or all of the above.
Remember, too, you can almost forget agriculture, because of the periods of time to get the produce there, let alone cleared and to market.
Trying to enter the Middle Kingdom market is incredibly difficult, and I am guilty of oversimplifying, Franklin Yao of Smith Street Solutions, a consulting firm that advises firms keen to enter China, is reported by The Economist newspaper to have said, "If your firm doesn't have at least US$100m a year in sales, don't bother trying."
The last time I checked, that is bigger than our entire GDP.
We would be better off living with the traditional evil markets that we know, rather than getting involved in trying to export to new markets about which we know nothing. They will rip the heart out of our export sector and take all our money.
MICHAEL C. HIRST