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BRICS expectations

Updated: 2011-04-15 07:33
( China Daily)

The joint declaration that leaders of China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa issued in Sanya on Thursday highlighted "a new model" of global economic cooperation and an important way of pursuing multilateralism.

At a time when the world is yet to find solid footing for a lasting recovery from the worst recession in more than seven decades, the international community has ample reasons to pin high hopes on strengthened dialogue and cooperation among these emerging economies.

As President Hu Jintao precisely pointed out, "the biggest imbalance in the world economy is the development imbalance between the North and the South".

Closer cooperation among the five nations - which together represent more than 40 percent of the world's population - will definitely provide a huge boost to their own economies that make up about a fifth of the world economy.

More importantly, BRICS' efforts to seek greater say and representation of emerging markets and developing countries in global economic governance will also help level the international trade, monetary and financial systems in favor of developing countries around the world.

After all, the most fundamental problem in the world economy remains the inadequate development of developing countries.

Had they been able to embrace robust growth under more fair, just, inclusive and well-managed international monetary and financial systems, developing countries would not have been so vulnerable to the 2008 global financial crisis triggered by some debt-laden rich countries.

Admittedly, the world economy is undergoing a two-speed recovery, with developing economies rebounding quickly while industrial countries struggle to keep up growth. But such global growth can hardly last long while vital reforms of the international monetary and financial systems are still moving at a glacial pace. It is high time to accelerate key reforms in line with the rapid change of the world economic map.

For example, if the BRICS group of countries replaces the Group of Seven (G7) - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States - in having the largest share of the world economy in two or three decades as expected, how unbelievable the current international reserve currency system will appear in retrospect. Currently, it comprises no currency from the BRICS nations though their ascent is so significant.

Of course, the reform of the international monetary system, which is meant to provide stability and certainty, cannot be implemented in a rush.

In this regard, the agreement that the development banks of the BRICS nations reached in principle, to establish mutual credit lines denominated in their local currencies, is a welcome step forward. Such an attempt will both facilitate trade and investment among the BRICS economies and lay a solid foundation for the rise of alternative international reserve currencies that can contribute to the better growth and stability of the world economy in the long run.

(China Daily 04/15/2011 page8)