BRICS cooperation helps build new international framework

By Liu Zongyi Source:Global Times Published: 2015-7-13 0:33:01

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The 7th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) summit was held in the Russian city of Ufa on July 8-9. This is the first time the group has come back to Russia after the country hosted the group's first summit in 2009. Yet compared with the meeting in Yekaterinburg six years ago, the international background of the event has greatly changed, and those changes have prompted a closer partnership among the BRICS countries.

When Russia hosted the first BRIC Leaders' Summit, it was a member of the Group of Eight (G8), and believed that it could play a role linking the G7 and the BRICS countries. However, the nation today is dealing with Western sanctions due to the Ukraine crisis, and has been kicked out of the G8 group.

Meanwhile, in East Asia, the US is promoting its "pivot" to the Asia-Pacific strategy, stirring up issues in the East China Sea and South China Sea, while inciting other countries to confront China. Washington's foreign economic policies also cooperate closely with its geopolitics. US President Barack Obama has been actively promoting negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), hoping to establish an order of global trade and investment which excludes the BRICS members and most of the developing countries, in order to replace the WTO.

Simultaneously, however, the BRICS countries' position in the global economy is rising compared with six years ago. Despite the slowdown in their economic development, the nations are still the major drivers of global economic growth.

Currently, given the sluggish economic recovery in Western countries and the revival of a Cold War mind-set in the US, global governance is facing great difficulties, namely a lack of leadership and momentum. Thus, it is hard for them to reach any consensus or agreements. Yet the BRICS countries are jointly promoting reform of the global financial system, hoping to enhance their positions and functions, and maintaining world peace by boosting economic growth through cooperation.

International financial cooperation is a highlight of the summit this time. Preparations for establishing the BRICS New Development Bank are unfolding, and an emergency reserve fund has been formally launched. All of these actions have laid a solid economic foundation for the BRICS partnership, and are a milestone for the collaboration among BRICS countries. But their economic cooperation is not limited to what was mentioned above.

All the BRICS economies have become founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), while China, India and Russia turned out to be the three largest shareholders of the bank. The establishment of the BRICS New Development Bank, an emergency reserve fund, and the AIIB will break the monopoly position of the International Money Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) and motivate the IMF and the WB to function more normatively, democratically, and efficiently, in order to promote the reform of international financial system as well as democratization of international relations.

Another characteristic of this year's summit is the economic and trade cooperation, especially the collaboration of development strategy among the BRICS members. The meeting endorsed the Russia-initiated BRICS Strategic Economic Partnership, which provided a blueprint for the organization's economic and trade cooperation in the coming years, and will push each economy to advance toward the goal of "setting up deep integration of markets, multi-level communication, efficient network of land, sea and air passages, and closer cultural exchanges."

During the summit last week, the BRICS countries conducted dialogues with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), in which each side discussed the expansion of exchanges in politics, economy and culture. China and Russia have reached an agreement over connecting the Beijing-led "One Belt, One Road" initiative and the EAEU.

It is a coincidence for the summits of BRICS and SCO to come together in the same city and at the same time. But it showed that the BRICS countries and Eurasian nations are eager to build a new framework of international politics, economy and security, with more democracy, equality, openness and inclusiveness.

The BRICS group mainly focuses on economic cooperation, while the SCO was established primarily for mechanism of security cooperation. Regional stability is the basis of the economic collaboration, while the latter can boost the development of the former. In light of this, both the BRICS countries and the SCO will jointly and effectively promote stability and prosperity in Asia and the entire world.

The author is a research fellow of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies and a visiting fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.

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