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BRICS Advances Well Despite Worries

Oct 18 , 2016
  • Wang Yusheng

    Executive Director, China Foundation for Int'l Studies

The 8th BRICS summit was held from Oct 15-16 at Goa, India. International conditions are a little more complicated than last year, with global economic growth stagnating, trade and investment protectionism rising, international peace and stability facing more challenges, terrorism growing rampant. Economic development in BRICS countries has seen some new setbacks, prompting pessimistic predictions about their economies. Yet BRICS leaders remain full of confidence. Prior to the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, they made a solemn statement: With prospects and momentum for economic growth remaining strong, BRICS will continue to be an important engine for global economic growth.  

Uniting and representing a great number of developing countries, BRICS is a major dialogue partner of the G7 on the G20 platform. During the G20 Hangzhou summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over an informal meeting of BRICS leaders. The main spirit and proposals in the subsequent media statement have found their way into the G20 “Hangzhou Consensus”, the most significant ones including: Expressing concern about the rise of protectionism against the background of sliding global trade, emphasizing WTO’s central position as cornerstone of a rules-based, open, transparent, non-discriminative, inclusive multi-lateral trade regime; encouraging G20 members to enhance macro economic policy co-ordination, promote innovation, facilitate strong, sustainable trade and investment growth; stressing that IMF shares have failed to reflect current global economic reality, expressing the hope that G20 members and IMF make concerted efforts to increase IMF share resources so as to make sure they fairly reflect the status of emerging economies and developing countries; reiterating that it would strive to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including strengthening cooperation among BRICS nations in this field; reiterating to resolutely crack down on all forms of terrorism, and calling for the UN to play a central role in the process.

The “Hangzhou Consensus” has not been achieved easily. It is the crystallization of G20 wisdom, based on developed and developing countries’ concerns about each other’s interests, and it benefited from contributions from both China and India. However, the “Hangzhou Consensus” is only a major “political declaration” on global governance. It is yet to be executed. As a main participant in global governance, BRICS is eager for international peace and stability, and it calls for a fairer and more reasonable international order and due say in international affairs, opposes all acts of hegemony, and all forms of terrorism. As a main facilitator of the “Hangzhou Consensus”, India may take one step forward in its implementation at the Goa summit, even putting forward proposals better suited for developing countries’ interests.

Recently there have been noises badmouthing BRICS, and some have been trying to sow discord by hook or crook. But the rise of BRICS is an unstoppable trend: While difficulties are inevitable on its way ahead, BRICS will surely further consolidate its countries’ strategic partnership, and stride forward hand in hand.

In May 2008, the first “BRIC four” (South Africa joined in 2011) foreign ministers meeting released a “joint communiqué”, stating that they engaged in dialogue on the basis of mutual respect, mutual trust and common interests, adding that they have common or similar views on imperative issues regarding global development, and prospects for such dialogue are broad. This is the political foundation for BRICS nations, who share five common characteristics:

1, They are rising big countries, or relatively big countries, which have developed rapidly, have huge potentials, and whose development is sustainable to different extents. Of all the global foreign exchange reserves, BRICS nations hold more than $3 trillion, or more than 40 percent of the word total. That is a hefty portion. They were basically among the first to get rid of the financial crisis.

2, They all adhere to their own national traditions and characteristics, choose their own model and path of development on their own, instead of simply accepting such things as the “Washington Consensus”.

3, They advocate building a fairer, and more reasonable international economic and political order, and they insist on mutual respect and assisting the disadvantaged groups. Their grouping has created conditions for formulating a multi-polar world featuring a chorus of major countries.

4, They all aspire for a peaceful international environment, advocate democratization and equalization of international relations, oppose both the old-time Cold-War thinking and policies of confrontation.

5, With different social systems, and ideologies, they share the common strategic goal of building a “more democratic and just multi-polar world”, and support UN’s central status and functions. China and Russia are permanent members of the UN Security Council, while India, Brazil and South Africa have also been contributing “positive energy” to UN and international affairs, and their international prominence and impact have been on the rise.

No other international grouping in the present-day world has such characteristics, and the G7 is in no way comparable with BRICS in international influence and function.

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