Diplomats and business executives from BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — agreed on Wednesday that the emerging markets can retain growth momentum by developing their economies and expanding trade ties.

Speaking at the first BRICS forum held in Dubai, He Zhanghua, China’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said BRICS countries are all big influential powers with distinctive shining points, potentials for future development and unique advantages in conducting cooperation.

“Just as Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out at the Ufa Summit, BRICS countries are like the five fingers of a hand,” he said.

BRICS members make up 40 percent of the world population.

The ambassador said China is making efforts with other countries in the world, including the UAE and other BRICS countries, to push forward the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Maritime Silk Road.

At present, the trade volume between BRICS countries and the UAE accounts for one fourth of the UAE’s total trade.

Igor Egorov, chairman of the Russian Business Council, said the atmosphere of the forum is very promising. “All sides seemed to be open for cooperation, ready for progress and willing to achieve it,” Egorov said.

Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman of Dubai Multi-Commodities Center (DMCC), said companies from BRICS members were the driving force of the DMCC’s rise to be the biggest free zone in the UAE.

The DMCC harbors 11,000 firms from 170 nations and every month 200 new firms join, said bin Sulayem.

China’s oil giant Sinopec and Lukoil from the Russian Federation are among the licensed firms.