Profound changes are reshaping the global balance of power and world order. The fast rising of emerging markets and developing countries in recent years is no doubt the most revolutionary one. Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out in his 19th CPC National Congress report that “we are in a great era of development, transformation and adjustment.” Former US Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger noted that the international system is undergoing an unprecedented change over the past 400 years. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US National State Security Advisor, said the center of world power has shifted from the both sides of the Atlantic to Far East.
Under this background, the mechanism of BRICS cooperation arises at the historic moment and has made great contributions to world economy and global governance.
Through cooperation, BRICS countries have played an important role in promoting the recovery of world economy. The proportions of the BRICS countries in land area, population and economic aggregate account 30 percent, 44 percent and 23 percent respectively of the world.
The five countries of BRICS enjoy high complementarity in natural resources, industrial structure, technological innovations and patterns of trade.
Prospects of economic cooperation among BRICS countries, especially in the fields of energy, technology and trade, are promising. Russia is a giant energy producer while China, Brazil and India have huge demands of energy. China and South Africa take the lead in the study of applied technologies, while Brazil, India and Russia pay more attention to basic technology.
BRICS countries also enjoy huge potential in trade. World economy has witnessed a long-term downturn since the 2008 global financial crisis due to weak domestic demand in developed countries and surging trade protectionism. By contrast, trade volume between BRICS countries and other developing countries has seen a continuous rising trend. The pragmatic cooperation between BRICS countries has become one of the few bright spots of world economy.
Moreover, BRICS Plus cooperation mode has become an effective approach to innovate and expand cooperation between BRICS countries and the rest of the world. After 10 years’ development, BRICS mechanism has grown into an influential cooperation platform, full of integrity, attraction and vitality. The BRICS Plus mode, which was proposed at the 9th BRICS Xiamen Summit in September, aims to promote the wider partnerships between BRICS countries, emerging markets and developing countries, enlarging the the group’s circle of friends and pushing forward the South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue.
The establishment of the mechanism will not only give a greater say of the emerging markets and developing countries but also enable the BRICS mechanism to be more inclusive, open and profitable through seeking common development.
Besides, BRICS cooperation will push forward the reform of global governance. Despite different political systems and economic modes, BRICS countries are at a similar development stage and share the same development goals.
Since its establishment, BRICS cooperation has seen solid cooperation at multi-tiered levels in various areas. As a cooperation platform with global influence, BRICS carries the expectations of vast emerging markets and developing countries and the international community as a whole. As the BRICS cooperation mechanism better leverages its role, the participation and fairness of global economic governance system will be strengthened.
BRICS countries, which are also members of the Group 20, play a pivotal role to push forward the development of the bloc. BRICKS Leaders participating the Xiamen forum agreed in the forum’s declaration, saying they will attach great importance to the Group 20 as a major forum of international cooperation.
All in all, peace, development and win-win cooperation have been the shared vision of the people. It is imperative to make a concerted voice and interests in the reform of global governance, provide new ideas and approaches for South-South cooperation and advance the reform of global governance featuring wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.
(The author is a former vice minister of foreign affairs and former vice director of Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council.)