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NO. 37, 2017
Five Plus More
Following is an edited version of scholars’ comments on the forum and the future of BRICS
NO. 37 SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 

Editor’s Note: President Xi Jinping drew a bright blueprint for BRICS cooperation in his address to the BRICS Business Forum in Xiamen on September 3. He made a four-point proposal for the next golden decade of cooperation among the world’s five biggest emerging economies to achieve common development. Following is an edited version of scholars’ comments on the forum and the future of BRICS:

From Western governance to joint governance

He Yafei

President Xi summarized in his speech the development results of BRICS in the past decade, responding to the speculative theory of a fading BRICS and drawing a future development blueprint for the upcoming decades. This speech pointed out a clear direction for a new cooperation model--BRICS plus, and strengthened our confidence.

The world’s political and economic landscape and global governance system are experiencing fundamental changes. The development of the BRICS mechanism and the creation of the BRICS plus approach are two good examples.

Emerging economies and developing nations, represented by BRICS, are rising rapidly in comprehensive national strengths. A “great convergence” is happening with great changes in the global political and economic patterns. The call for new ideas and models in global governance is pushing the conversion from Western governance to global joint governance by both the West and East.


Responding to concerns and boost people’s confidence

Wang Wen, Executive Dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China

The most impressive part (of Xi’s speech) for me was when he said that the development of emerging market and developing countries is not intended to move the cheese of anyone, but to make the pie of the global economy bigger.

He responded to people’s concerns about BRICS countries, which are believed to have revolutionary traditions. He reiterated that the bloc does not seek to break the international order established after World War II (WWII).

Xi’s positive keynote speech address at the Xiamen Summit has greatly increased international confidence in BRICS nations and will contribute to their future development.

Leaders from Egypt, Guinea, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand were invited to attend the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, showing that the BRICS plus cooperation approach could provide an open platform for all developing countries to pursue joint development.


BRICS contributes to global governance 

Hu Biliang, Dean of Emerging Markets Institute, Beijing Normal University

President Xi proposed an important topic that the five BRICS countries should pool their experience of cooperation and unite to contribute their wisdom to global governance and the settling of the world problems.

Today’s world maintains order and attains development under the governance of major Western countries since WWII. Great progress was made in almost every aspect, but many new problems started to appear, such as terrorism, trade protectionism, and threats to Internet security. The world requires new forces to tackle them together, as we are in a great era of development, transformation and adjustment.

BRICS countries can contribute to global governance in at least three aspects. First, some basic principles of BRICS can be referred to in reform or reconstruction of the world governance system. Second, BRICS nations’ experiences could help enhance inclusive cooperation between different countries and regions to achieve common development, reduce social injustice, and enable every individual to benefit from development. Third, carry out pragmatic cooperation and facilitation of projects based on economic cooperation.

In the perspective of global financial governance, the BRICS New Development Bank, established in 2015 and beginning operations the same year, marks an important change in the global financial landscape. It provides direct financial support for the development of BRICS members and other developing countries, assisting in their infrastructure improvement.


Improve global governance with BRICS’ experiences

Ye Qing, Director of Institute for Global Governance Studies, Shanghai Institute for International Studies

President Xi’s speech pointed out a direction for the next 10 years.

During the past decade, the BRICS bloc has improved its status and is now becoming the main force in leading a new type of globalization. To shoulder more responsibilities, BRICS nations are actively taking part in global governance in more areas and to a deeper degree and attaining increasing global influence.

BRICS countries’ contributions to global governance are growing. If we say in the past 10 years, BRICS had been offering critique on global governance, the next decade will see more participation from BRICS. Based on BRICS cooperation experiences, particularly the idea of governance with development as its core, BRICS countries will continue to lead a new wave of globalization with innovation, and develop ourselves to help others.

China has confidence in BRICS cooperation. It has proposed and pushed forward the BRICS Plus cooperation approach to tackle the challenges of anti-globalization and strengthen consensus in global governance. With the will to build a community of shared future for mankind, China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative to replace geopolitical competition with pragmatic cooperation and replace the law of jungle and Cold War mentality with interconnected development--which calls for extensive consultation, joint contributions and shared benefits--and to contribute more to world peace.


BRICS cooperation needs new impetus

Zhou Zhiwei, Executive Director of Brazil Research Center, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

The most impressive aspect for me of President Xi’s speech is his two perspectives: one being the perspective of the historical course of global development and the evolving international landscape; the other being the historical process of development of the BRICS countries, both individually and collectively, in the context of which BRICS cooperation is pursued.

I think President Xi’s four expectations for the future of BRICS are to the point. “Move faster to replace old growth drivers with new ones” is new thinking in deepening BRICS economic and trade cooperation as well as a new requirement to undertake structural reforms in BRICS countries.

The reference to “BRICS responsibilities” makes it clear that BRICS nations should shoulder more responsibilities to safeguard global peace and development and that it is necessary to expand and strengthen cooperation in the political and security fields.

By saying “we BRICS countries should contribute to enhancing global economic governance,” President Xi stressed BRICS nations could do more to improve global governance, especially in promoting the building of an open global economy and advancing trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

With “we should increase the influence of BRICS and build extensive partnerships,” President Xi expressed that BRICS cooperation has a global significance, and through this, he promoted the BRICS Plus cooperation approach.


More reform and innovation

He Weiwen, senior research fellow in Center for China and Globalization

In recent years, Russia, Brazil, and South Africa suffered economic setbacks and the rhetoric of a “fading” BRICS appeared in Western media. But the development momentum of BRICS countries remains and economic slowdown is only temporary.

However, BRICS countries should seize the opportunity presented by the new industrial revolution to promote growth and change growth models through innovation. We should pursue innovation-driven development brought about by smart manufacturing, the "Internet plus" model, the digital economy and the sharing economy. BRICS countries should also coordinate their macroeconomic policies to help foster brighter prospects for their economies.

In a world with emerging trends toward anti-globalization and protectionism, the five countries should work together to safeguard globalization and the global multilateral trade system.

BRICS nations should move further forward to work out a new path of globalization with developing and developed countries, a globalization that is inclusive, gives consideration to both efficiency and fairness, and helps narrow income gaps within national borders and beyond.

To achieve this, BRICS cooperation requires timely expansion to the BRICS Plus cooperation approach. BRICS should attract more emerging economies and developing countries, meet their interests and needs and upgrade itself into a new world-level platform for global economic governance.


Copyedited by Chris Surtees

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