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Why the BRICS mean Business

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Why the BRICS mean Business

Post  Panda on Fri 22 Mar - 8:56

Why the Brics mean business

The so-called Brics nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa -
have a vital role to play in the future of the world economy

The five leaders of the Brics at
their summit in 2011 Photo:

By Zhang Jun

11:55AM GMT 21 Mar 2013


When the top leaders from Brics countries, the most prominent emerging market
economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - put their heads
together in Durban late March, what should the world expect from them? After
each of their first four meetings, the five countries have come out flying. But
will these "economic locomotives" keep their momentum? Do Brics really mean

The answer is yes. The motive for Brics countries to form a partnership
derives from their shared quest for economic and social development and for
access to new markets. Cooperation serves not only the common interest of Brics
members, but also the global economy at large: the Brics countries now account
for 19 per cent of world GDP and 61 per cent of overall global growth.

It may also explain why Brics attracts so much attention. Concerns that a G5
will arise, to rival the existing G7. They are understandable, but unfounded.
Brics is committed to creating a more democratic and equitable international
system, rather than challenging or reconstructing the one we have. As in an
orchestra, Brics is the new player joining the performance, adding its own
elements for a richer symphony, not playing another tune.

Brics puts development high on the agenda, with the goal of common
development. Cooperation between members has been flourishing in recent years
and is now covering a wide range of fields, such as trade, banking, taxation,
customs, public health, science and technology, agriculture, and culture.

In 2012, a Brics development bank was put on the table. Once established, it
will serve as a stimulus to development in Brics members, as well as in other
emerging and developing countries. A Brics joint reserve pool and a business
council are also under discussion, which are expected to forge closer financial
and trade ties among members.

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The Durban Summit is the first time Brics leaders have gathered on the
African continent, Its theme, Brics and Africa: Partnership for Development,
Integration and Industrialisation, reflects a step forward in making Brics more
open and inclusive, showing the determination of Brics to develop hand in hand
with African countries and the developing world.

As the Chinese saying goes, good things take time. Brics is by no means
perfect. The role of Brics members in global economic government has not yet
matched their weight and achievements in world economy. Their capability also
lags behind in international rule-making and decision-making. Brics members do
not see eye to eye on each and every issue. Divergences do occur sometimes on
certain political and trade issues. While Brics is making a difference in
various areas, it still needs time.

The Durban Summit will inject fresh impetus into the course. Just like the
logo of the Summit (a rising sun shines with five-color beams) symbolises,
different as Brics members may be, they are steadfast in advancing the
partnership, which becomes even more valuable in the background of a sluggish
global economy. Brics members are facing the same or even greater pressures
compared to others, with GDP growth rates approaching historic lows.
Nevertheless, they remain the most dynamic and fast-growing economies. Perhaps
it is too much for Brics members only to pull the world economy out of the mud,
but they definitely have a vital role to play.

Zhang Jun is China’s Sous-Sherpa for Brics and Director-General of
the Department of International Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign
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