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BRICS focus on South-South synergy

China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-06 07:19

BRICS focus on South-South synergy

Leaders of BRICS countries pose for group photos after the ninth BRICS summit in the eastern city of Xiamen, Fujian province, Sept 4, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

Editor's note: The 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, concluded on Tuesday. Three experts share their opinions on the achievements of the summit with China Daily's Cui Shoufeng during a seminar hosted by the Center for China and Globalization. Excerpts follow:

Institutional arrangements can help brighten the future

BRICS focus on South-South synergy

Shi Yinhong, director of the Center of US Studies at Renmin University of China

As a pioneer of a fairer form of globalization, BRICS has great potential to stimulate global growth and improve global governance. But for that, BRICS member states have to fix their domestic problems such as social justice and wealth gap. In this regard, China will set aside 500 million yuan ($76 million) for intra-BRICS economic and technological cooperation and exchanges, President Xi Jinping said at the 9th BRICS Summit plenary session on Monday.

The future of the five-nation bloc is not without challenges. The grouping is still relatively young and lacks institutional consistency, with Brazil and South Africa experiencing lackluster growth and Russia's relations with the US-led Western countries strained. China and India, on the other hand, have to take measures to sustain their relatively robust growth and prevent financial risks from spiraling out of control.

To function well and deliver tangible benefits to all, BRICS has to prioritize the "easy" tasks that can bear fruits or make progress in the foreseeable future. The five countries should, as suggested in the Xiamen Declaration, energize practical cooperation to boost their shared development.

Result-oriented institutional arrangements, too, are needed to help the bloc prosper. In fact, the Xiamen Declaration calls for enhanced coordination and communication to improve global economic governance. And before inviting new members, the existing BRICS members need to hold in-depth discussions over whether the expansion will grant the bloc more resilience and a larger geopolitical presence.

Work to put globalization back on the right track

BRICS focus on South-South synergy

He Weiwen, vice-president of and senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization

According to some estimates, the cumulative GDP of the five BRICS countries could be half of the global GDP in the near future-the figure was just 12 percent in 2006 and about 23 percent last year. But the promising figures and prospects are overshadowed by the fact that China and India contributed to most of BRICS' 10-year growth of 10.5 percentage points (as the proportion of global GDP).

The proportion of China's GDP to the world total increased 9.4 percentage points during the period while India's grew at a moderate pace of 1.2 percentage points. The two countries' impressive economic performance, particularly China's, risks compromising the efficiency of BRICS management, and warrants caution when it comes to expanding the grouping.

The BRICS members also have a decent record of fulfilling their promises. A University of Toronto report says 78 percent of the promises made at the 2015 BRICS Summit in Ufa, Russia, have been fulfilled. The number for last year's summit in Goa, India, is 89 percent as of now, and covers issues from political coordination and e-commerce to fighting terrorism. And the odds favor the 63 cooperation outcome documents adopted at the Xiamen summit.

However, to have a bigger say in international affairs, including climate change and regional security, the BRICS members have to tap the full potential in complementary BRICS arrangements such as the New Development Bank and the Beijing-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. And under the World Trade Organization framework, the BRICS nations can also help put globalization back on the right track and deepen economic integration in their neighborhood.

Hard work needed to narrow wealth gap

BRICS focus on South-South synergy

Xu Xiujun, a researcher at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

The cooperation mechanism, which is led by leadership summits, hinges on the work groups in various fields and features the New Development Bank and other institutions, is a major institutional achievement of BRICS in its first decade of existence.

Moreover, the BRICS members have reached a consensus that the bloc will play the role of a platform for experimenting South-South cooperation, market integration and global economic governance. They have also deepened cooperation in trade and investment, as well as people-to-people exchanges through sports events and film festivals.

The Xiamen Declaration says the uncertainties facing the global economy and downside risks will persist, which means the five countries have to work harder to narrow their growth gap and avoid misunderstanding each other's strategic interests.

The good news is that emerging economies as a whole are on the rise and will take the lead in advancing globalization. Known for being committed to openness, inclusiveness, cooperation, and mutually beneficial arrangements, BRICS is also sought after by some countries because they want to become its members. So the BRICS members should use the "BRICS Plus" framework to work with more developing countries to boost South-South cooperation.


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