Cooperation cements BRICS

Updated: 2012-03-29 08:06

By Du Youkang (China Daily)

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Collaboration on global issues is conducive to international political and economic rebalancing in post-crisis era

On Wednesday, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa gathered in New Delhi, India, to start the fourth BRICS Summit with the theme "Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity".

Centering on economic, financial and development challenges, major international issues of common concern and cooperation among the BRICS members, the leaders will exchange views, strengthen communication and coordinate positions and actions.

The holding of the summit is timely and of great importance. The current international situation is undergoing profound and complicated changes: there is unrest in several regions, faltering economic growth in the developed world, which is bringing many uncertainties to global economic recovery and the resurgence of trade protectionism, which poses challenges to the multilateral trading system.

At the same time the BRICS countries have maintained their good growth momentum and raised their international status and influence. Given the current international situation, BRICS countries need to further strengthen cooperation, so as to cope with the various challenges and safeguard the interests of developing countries.

On economic, financial, and development issues, the summit will discuss economic growth initiatives to inject new impetus into the global economic recovery. The summit will also evaluate the role of the international financial institutions in addressing the global economic issues and seek to increase the BRICS countries' say in these institutions to further promote the reform of international financial and economic mechanisms.

The summit will also discuss pressing international issues and stress internal consultations among the BRICS countries to coordinate positions and build consensus for common action in order to give full play to their influence in international affairs.

The summit will discuss ways to institutionalize their cooperation, including the establishment of a permanent organization and a joint development bank to offer more loan opportunities, and the setting up of appropriate mechanisms for the BRICS countries to expand the use of their national currencies for international settlement and to reduce the use of the US dollar.

In addition, the summit will discuss issues concerning climate change, food safety, water resources utilization, urbanization, education advancement, culture, as well as scientific and technological exchanges.

Over the past decade, BRICS has developed from a concept, which was proposed by Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O'Neill, into a powerful grouping. Since the onset of the global financial crisis, BRICS countries have withstood the toughest period and have made remarkable development achievements.

In 2010, China surpassed Japan to become the world's second largest economy. Brazil was the world's sixth largest economy in 2011, and India and Russia are also in the world's top 10. Due to the rapid development of BRICS countries, the global balance of power is undergoing changes in favor of developing countries. The rising weight, status and role of BRICS countries and other emerging economies in international affairs is obviously conducive to international political and economic rebalancing, and will promote the shift of the international political and economic order toward a more fair and reasonable direction.

BRICS countries have been playing an increasingly important role in tackling global challenges, and have become an important force in easing the international financial and economic crisis, driving regional and global economic growth, improving global governance and promoting the democratization of international relations.

Since 2010, more than 50 percent of global growth has come from BRICS, the global growth powerhouse. In the field of climate change, the efforts of BRICS countries eventually helped to bring about the "Copenhagen Accord", a significant step forward for the international community to jointly cope with climate change.

The BRICS countries are also actively involved in global economic governance reform and are promoting United Nations reform and completing the Doha Round of trade negotiations; they advocate the establishment of good financial, trade and energy environments, and urge developed countries to honor their commitment to aid and debt relief.

BRICS countries are evolving from being "followers" to "rule makers".

The status and influence of BRICS countries today is inseparable from the formation and development of their cooperation mechanisms. In addition to the annual summit hosted by the member states in turn, a number of dialogue and consultation mechanisms ranging from foreign ministers, finance ministers, central bank governors to ministers of agriculture have been launched.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that due to their similar stage of development, BRICS countries cannot avoid competition in acquiring investment, technology and markets, as well as frictions in trade and other areas.

But the BRICS countries are actively seeking mutual understanding and strengthening mutual trust and cohesion and are committed to building a BRICS partnership that consolidates global stability, security and prosperity.

The author is a professor in the Institute of international Studies of Fudan University.

(China Daily 03/29/2012 page8)