Amidst ongoing global economic and political challenges, member countries are increasingly becoming a strong voice for developing nations
THE five members of BRICS bring their collective clout to Xiamen in September as the charming city in southeast China hosts the Ninth BRICS Summit. Xiamen is one of the first cities in the country to open up to the rest of the world, and the place where Chinese President Xi Jinping served as vice mayor for three years.
“Many scoffed when Jim O’neill (then chief economist of Goldman Sachs) first coined the concept in 2001, but the idea gradually developed into a concrete cooperation mechanism,” said Ni Jianjun, Deputy Director of the World Economy Institute at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing. “Against the backdrop of the sluggish world economy, it is easier for BRICS countries to get a stronger growth momentum backed by the cooperation platform.”
Today, BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are home to 3.6 billion people, 43 percent of the world’s population, and a combined GDP accounting for 23 percent of the gross world product. 5.1 percent, higher than the average global growth of 3.1 percent, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) data. In the past decade, the group’s share in global GDP grew from 12 percent to 23 percent and today, its contribution to world economic growth is more than 50 percent.
“BRICS will continue to be a growth engine of the world economy despite difficulties and challenges,” Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie told reporters at the second BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Shanghai in June.
As China enjoys a strong, dynamic industrial base, it has become a much sought-after source of imports for other BRICS members, which inadvertently leads to considerable amounts of trade surplus with them. That is why, when continuing to provide desired products to other member nations, China is also seeking more ways to increase imports through the BRICS platform to balance its international payments.
Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said earlier this year that China will increase imports of agricultural products from Brazil, medical items from India and energy products from Russia. South African wine is also welcome in China.
In the first half of this year, China’s imports from other BRICS countries were worth $70.16 billion, a