BRICS focus on good global governance
Amid the escalating trade tensions and rising wave of unilateralism and protectionism, the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 25-27 will serve as a strong forum to help further improve global governance, and add some certainty and positive energy into international relations.
Jim O'Neill, former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and former United Kingdom treasury minister who coined the term "BRIC", has never appreciated South Africa's membership of BRICS. But reality is otherwise. With strong national strength, rich resources and advanced education and technology, South Africa is representative of an emerging Africa. That both the cooperation alliance of BRICS stock exchanges and the African regional center of the BRICS New Development Bank were established in South Africa, in 2011 and 2017, respectively, reflects the confidence of the emerging African power.
In defense of multilateral rules and trading system
The recent wave of protectionism and unilateralism, led by the United States, has had a huge impact on the decades-old multilateral trading system and rules. Yet all the BRICS member states stand by the multilateral trading system and oppose unilateralism and protectionism, especially those unilateral moves that violate World Trade Organization rules and endanger the global trading system.
BRICS has also urged WTO members to abide by the global trade body's rules and honor their commitment to the multilateral trading system so as to strengthen the WTO to meet the global challenges. This shows BRICS has become an important force for defending international rules and the world order.
No doubt, this difficult international environment will create both opportunities and challenges for BRICS countries. But they should have the confidence that, given their vast natural and human resources, large markets, great economic potential and ample room for policy adjustments, they will eventually realize sustainable growth and more strongly promote global peace and prosperity.
Rising mechanism for global governance
After 12 years of development, the combined ratios of the BRICS members' global trade volume has increased from 11 percent to 16 percent and foreign investment from 7 percent to 12 percent, and together they have contributed to more than half of the world's growth. And by taking a joint stance and making joint declarations on major global issues, BRICS has become a crucial platform for major emerging economies to participate in global governance. It is clear therefore that BRICS' influence has been remarkably expanded since O'Neill coined the term "BRIC" in 2001.
Yet the developing world's growing influence and rising contribution to global growth have not translated into greater say in the international community, as they have a mere 13 percent of voting power in the World Bank and 15 percent in the International Monetary Fund. Thus the developing countries have a long way to go to reduce the imbalance in global discourse rights.
Particularly noteworthy in this regard is China's permanent representative to the United Nations Liu Jieyi's remark on behalf of BRICS at the UN High-level Meeting on Financing the Sustainable Development Goals on April 18, 2017. It was the first time BRICS gave a joint call on a major international issue.
A more vocal BRICS on the global stage would better convey the concerns of developing countries and thus improve the global system for discourse rights. In this context, China has proposed the concept of "BRICS+", which aims to include more developing countries in its endeavors in accordance with the trend of globalization. "BRICS+" will not only be a milestone in the bloc's development but also make it more representative of the developing world and thus further help improve global governance.
A fair and open platform for international relations
In recent years, some Western observers have expressed mixed feelings about BRICS' expansion, as they see it as a threat to the West-led world order. They fear that BRICS will become a formidable force that can challenge, even overthrow, the West-led world order, betraying their zero-sum mentality.
As a matter of fact, BRICS has been trying to reform the current world order through joint efforts in order to increase global growth, improve economic governance and promote democratic international relations. Upholding justice and fairness, BRICS members are committed to building a better world for all, instilling positive energy into international relations, and promoting peace and development.
BRICS has blazed a trail of win-win cooperation and positive interactions by upholding the principles of openness and inclusiveness. As engines of the world economy, the BRICS members have improved economic collaboration and striven for the betterment of the global value chain. They respect the different social systems, are engaged in cultural exchanges and believe diverse development models can be mutually beneficial.
But to solve the global economic problems, resolve the intensifying trade conflicts and counter protectionism, the developing countries have to build a comprehensive collaboration mechanism to realize continuous economic growth, because the world cannot rely solely on the contributions of developed countries. Looking ahead, BRICS should take measures to deepen cooperation and safeguard common interests to deal with the rising uncertainties and destabilizing factors in the international community.
The author is an associate research fellow at China Institute of International Studies.