October 14, 2016

BRICS Cooperation: At the New Historic Starting Point


The BRICS cooperation is at the crossroad,   initially tagged with five major emerging economies, is now far beyond the original concept tailored for the financial markets. One the one hand , BRICS has rapidly become a new and promising political-diplomatic entity, explored different kinds of dialogue mechanisms covering economic, trade, finance, business, health, education, academic, combating transnational crime and security among others, enhancing the grouping’s ability to shape the global agenda. One the other hand, BRICS cooperation is facing some common economic and political challenges, with some Western analysts non-stop trying   to “bury” the alliance, saying that it will inevitably fall to pieces because of the differences existing within the organization’s framework.  The fact is that BRICS cooperation is standing at a new historic starting point to reshape their cooperative strategy. BRICS needs to continue deepening their mutual-political trust, fulfilling the current consensus and transforming itself into an influential common voice.

The Common Challenges

With the rapid changes in the   international economic situation, the world economy is slowly recovering, however geopolitical issues are still to be settled. There are also lots of global challenges that are coming up. It is in this backdrop, that BRICS cooperation is faced with new situations and new problems. Firstly, the BRICS countries’ economic growth are facing unprecedented challenges and they continue with the adjustment process; the complicated external economic environment continues exacerbating divisions in the BRICS countries’ macroeconomic policies. Secondly,  multiple dialogues leads to  better understanding among five countries but are still far away from substantial cooperation which leaves the impression amongst the public  that as far as BRICS cooperation was concerned, form prevails over  substance.. Therefore, BRICS could consider setting up a standing committee to prioritise agreements and ensure implementation. Thirdly, BRICS needs to deepen the areas of cooperation  to build the confidence of the outside world  about its future, properly handle the sensitive issues that could enhance the mutual-political confidence and help propel rapid development of the BRICs economies.

BRICS: Speak with One Voice

BRICS has become an important player in the international arena, having an influential voice in international discourse and in shaping the international agenda. This mechanism was established as a marked feature of the global multi-polarization in response to the needs of the time. It carries the burden of  expectations not only of  the people of BRICS countries, but also of those from emerging markets and developing countries.  The BRICS members are committed to coordinating in multilateral forums with focus on economic and political governance. To deal with the complex and volatile international situation, BRICS countries should enhance their abilities to speak with one voice.

BRICS countries should improve the global economic governance. The volatile global stock market and energy prices are caused by the limitations of the global governance system which should respond to  the international reality of developing countries’ collective rise and reflect the changed international political and economic landscape. Consultation and decision making based on equality between developing and developed countries would make for historic progress. BRICS should continue to guide the international community to form rational expectations over cooperation in BRICS,   help boost reform  of global economic governance and elevate the  representation and voice of emerging market countries and developing countries.

BRICS countries should advocate international cooperation in development. BRICS countries are active promoters of global development partnership. The Hangzhou Summit formulated the G20 Action Plan for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and proposed the G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialization in Africa and the Least Developed Countries.  This highlighted development the most and yielding the best outcomes. BRICS countries should proceed to improve the global development partnership and urge developed countries to fulfil their promises of supporting developing countries. BRICS is playing a more and more important role in safeguarding world peace. In recent years, with efforts of all sides including BRICS countries, the Syrian crisis didn’t repeat the tragedy in Libya and has moved on to the path of political settlement. The purposes and principles of the UN Charter have been maintained and an increasing number of countries are offering their support in establishing a new model of international relations with win-win cooperation as the core. BRICS countries need to continue to promote dialogues and negotiations and solve hotspot issues through peaceful and political measures.

BRICS: Reshape Confidence to Lead the Global Economic Growth

BRICS cooperation has already gained historic achievements and should continue its leading role in promoting world economic growth and implementing the sustainable development agenda. BRICS should reshape its confidence to lead the global economic growth and make concerted efforts to push forward the reform on global governance and cope with global challenges together. In face of the complicated international situation, BRICS should stay confident and determined to handle challenges together, give firm support to each other and launch innovation cooperation in order to let the BRICS cooperation burst out stronger vitality. Also, BRICS countries should continue promoting the establishment of a fairer and more just international order and stepping up coordination and cooperation on major political and economic issues, so as to tackle all kinds of global challenges together and build a favourable environment for the development of all countries.

After a decade of development, BRICS cooperation has gradually grown in strength. The five countries have also exchanged views on international counter-terrorism cooperation, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, climate change, the Middle East situation and peacekeeping in Africa, forming an all-round and multi-layered cooperation framework that covers extensive areas and setting an example for cooperation among emerging market countries and developing countries. These year have witnessed effective cooperation in different fields including people-to-people and cultural exchanges, agriculture, railway and tourism among BRICS countries. BRICS countries should reinforce cooperation in innovation, digital economy, poverty reduction, public health and other areas. All countries should ratify the Paris Agreement as early as possible and fulfil relevant commitments on emission reduction. All parties should deepen the BRICS cooperation and support such initiatives as the BRICS credit rating agency, the New Development Bank Academy and the agricultural network.

BRICS: To Enhance the Mutual-Political Confidence

Over the past few years, BRICS has made big progress over the economic and financial cooperation. With the support from BRICS countries, the G20 Hangzhou Summit has achieved a complete success, charting the course for the global economy. However, down the road BRICS cooperation would seem to face  rising geopolitical risks which could badly influence  the mutual-political trust among the BRICS members. Lacking mutual trust, powers usually come into increasing structural conflicts which  would be reflected in: Sino-Pakistan ‘quasi-alliance’, China’s ‘March West’ and India’s ‘Act East’, also the quadrangle of China, India, Russia and United States.

It is hoped that such cooperation could be further deepened as the BRICS working together towards a cooperative strategic partnership. BRICS countries should condemn terrorist attacks together and join efforts in combating terrorism, and strengthen confidence in growth and boost coordination within the emerging-market bloc so as to jointly cope with global challenges. Last but not the least, standing at a new historic starting point in BRICS cooperation, the BRICS countries should respect mutual core interests in order to promote  friendly people-to-people exchanges . Next year China would assume the rotating presidency of the BRICS mechanism, and as the five BRICS members have strong willingness to push forward the BRICS cooperation, this mechanism would continue to achieve the fruitful results.

The writer is an Associate Researcher at Hainan Institute of World Watch


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