BRICS a builder of more in­clu­sive global or­der

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

For the sec­ond time in two months, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping is vis­it­ing Rus­sia, this time to at­tend the BRICS sum­mit and the 15th meet­ing of the Coun­cil of Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion Heads of State in Ufa, cap­i­tal of Rus­sia’s Bashko­r­tostan re­pub­lic, on July 8-10. At the BRICS sum­mit, Xi is ex­pected to meet with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin for the sec­ond time this year, and meet lead­ers of other BRICS mem­ber states— Brazil, In­dia and South Africa. Howthe mem­ber states should co­op­er­ate to trans­form BRICS into a lead­ing transna­tional eco­nomic bloc could be high on the agenda of the leader-toleader meet­ings.

As Bri­tish economist JimO’Neill, now com­mer­cial sec­re­tary to theUnited King­dom’s Trea­sury who coined the term “BRIC” to de­scribe lead­ing emerg­ing mar­kets, said two years ago, China is the one and only BRICS econ­omy. In other words, he im­plied that the eco­nomic en­gine of the bloc was now China, whose an­nual av­er­age growth rate is es­ti­mated to drop to about 6.6 per­cent by the end of this decade. Among all BRICS states, In­dia has been the big­gest dis­ap­point­ment for the for­mer chair­man of Gold­man Sachs As­set­Man­age­ment.

O’Neill coined the term more than a decade ago prob­a­bly to iden­tify newo­ver­seas des­ti­na­tions for Gold­man Sachs and dis­perse the risks of in­vest­ment in ad­vancedWestern economies.

Yet it has be­come an in­ter­na­tional po­lit­i­cal con­cept and a transcon­ti­nen­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion of five emerg­ing economies, boost­ing China’s im­age and con­fi­dence in the post-Cold War era as a re­gional leader. By in­clud­ing the BRICS sum­mit in the re­port of the 18thNa­tional Congress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China in 2012, Bei­jing at­tached greater im­por­tance to the bloc in or­der to sup­ple­ment its mul­ti­lat­eral diplo­macy.

But there are signs that the days of emerg­ing coun­tries play­ing a cen­tral role in the world econ­omy are com­ing to an end, with most of them slid­ing into slower growth or en­ter­ing the “newnor­mal”, as in China’s case. In­dia, too, can­not take com­fort in its growth rate of just 5.5 per­cent in the past fis­cal year.

An im­por­tant fact to be noted is that theUnited States has re­cov­ered from the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis and is ready to replay the role of the world’s ma­jor eco­nomic en­gine, with China be­ing the other. The on­go­ing energy revo­lu­tion fea­tur­ing shale gas, the in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion led by 3D print­ing tech­nol­ogy, and the con­sump­tion revo­lu­tion of fi­nan­cial ser­vices demon­strate once again theUS’ in­no­vat­ing and self-re­pair­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

See­ing the progress made byWash­ing­ton’s “pivot to Asia” pol­icy, es­pe­cially in ad­vanc­ing the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship and the Trans-At­lantic Trade and In­vest­ment Part­ner­ship, someUS pol­i­cy­mak­ers be­lieve their coun­try re­mains the global leader and China has lit­tle chance to catch up with and “chal­lenge” it.

But China, be­ing a com­mit­ted upholder of a more in­clu­sive global fi­nan­cial or­der, has no in­ter­est in do­ing so. The BRICS sum­mit is ex­pected to see China, along with the other mem­ber states, push­ing for the es­tab­lish­ment of the BRICSNewDevel­op­ment Bank. With an ini­tial au­tho­rized cap­i­tal of $100 bil­lion, the Shang­hai-based bank will fund in­fra­struc­ture projects within the bloc and other de­vel­op­ing economies.

Look­ing to the fu­ture, BRICS could in­fuse newen­ergy into the G20— which com­prises the five BRICS mem­ber sates, G7 coun­tries, the Euro­peanUnion and seven other economies— and even the global or­der. As the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy, lead­ing BRICS mem­ber, and a strong sup­porter of medium and small economies, China has ev­ery rea­son to build a thriv­ing BRICS com­mu­nity to unite the G20. The au­thor is a pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions at Ren­min Univer­sity of China.

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