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UPDATED: April 26, 2011 NO. 17 APRIL 28, 2011
A Milestone for Emerging Economies
The Sanya summit taps the potential of BRICS collaboration

In addition, the areas of BRICS cooperation will become more extensive. Currently, BRICS remains a platform focusing on economic and financial cooperation among emerging economies. But the results of the Sanya summit indicated they are willing to expand the areas of cooperation.

For instance, the five countries signed a framework agreement on inter-bank cooperation. This agreement will boost BRICS countries' cooperation in monetary settlement, investment and financing, thus injecting impetus to their economic development and business ties.

The diverse, attention-attracting activities held on the sidelines of the summit were another feature. Before the summit, the China Center for Contemporary World Studies and the China Foundation for Peace and Development jointly held a symposium of think tanks from the five BRICS countries in Beijing. The meeting discussed various issues of BRICS cooperation and submitted a proposal to the Sanya summit. Communication among the five countries' academic communities greatly helped strengthen consensus and deepen cooperation.

In Sanya, the five countries also held meetings and forums at the ministerial level in finance, economy and trade. These not only enriched the content of BRICS cooperation, but also enabled the summit to make greater achievements.


Through the three summits, especially the summit in Sanya, the BRICS cooperation mechanism has been improved. As representatives of emerging economies, the five BRICS countries have introduced a new model of global governance and multilateral cooperation.

BRICS members, which are from four continents, have about 30 percent of the world's land area and 42 percent of the world's population. In 2010, they took up about 18 percent of the world's GDP and 15 percent of the world's trade. Russia and China are permanent members of the UN Security Council, while Brazil, India and South Africa are currently non-permanent members of the council.

What has brought the five countries together, given vast differences in their national conditions, religions, histories, cultures, social systems and development models? Chinese President Hu Jintao provided an answer at this summit: It was the common desire for a more equal and just world featuring peace, security, development and cooperation.

There are many realistic factors that led to the cooperation of the five countries, such as their rapid domestic economic development and collective wish for a good external environment to facilitate domestic development.

Moreover, they have complementary economic structures and a realistic need to boost trade among them. As they are situated at similar stages of social and economic development, they hold similar positions in the current global governance system.

Their cooperation is not to challenge the existing international order—instead, the BRICS mechanism is a useful complement to the existing one.

The UN, the Group of 20 (G20), the IMF, the World Bank and other international mechanisms constitute the main platform of global governance today. But these mechanisms lag in reflecting the present international order and balance of power. They especially don't respond adequately to the rise of emerging economies.

Emerging economies need a platform to coordinate their positions. They need to forge greater agreements from exchanges and cooperation. And they need to pass these agreements on to global governance platforms, including the UN, the IMF, the World Bank and the G20, through their participation in multilateral activities.

In this way, they will help establish a new international political and economic order, and achieve sustainable development of the global economy and common prosperity for the world. So the BRICS cooperation mechanism is not only a necessity but also a responsibility of the five countries.

There is a good reason to expect beautiful prospects for cooperation among BRICS countries. But we should also see this cooperation has just started. It is still being explored. Greater success requires the joint efforts of the five countries.

BRICS is not able to solve immediately all the problems emerging economies face in the current international system. It is unlikely to become a new political alliance of big powers. Instead, BRICS cooperation has well-defined limits and scopes. The world should adopt a new vision toward this kind of cooperation.

Kong Genhong is deputy director of the China Center for Contemporary World Studies; Wang Dong is an assistant research fellow there

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