Usher in the Second Golden Decade of BRICS

Taking over the rotating presidency, China will host the ninth BRICS summit in Xiamen during September 3-5 this year. It is one of the most important diplomatic activities in China this year and will usher in the second golden decade of development for the BRICS mechanism.

Taking over the rotating presidency, China will host the ninth BRICS summit in Xiamen during September 3-5 this year. It is one of the most important diplomatic activities in China this year and will usher in the second golden decade of development for the BRICS mechanism. Its subject is “BRICS: stronger partnership for a brighter future” and focus will be on deeper cooperation in pragmatic issues, global governance, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and the construction of mechanisms.

Ushering in the second golden decade of development

It has been over a decade since the first meeting of foreign ministers from Brazil, Russia, India and China on the sidelines of general assembly of the UN in 2006.  In 2010, South Africa joined the group.

Over that decade, BRICS has grown into an engine driving global economic growth. The share of economic aggregate of the five countries in the total world economy has increased from 12% to 23%, the share of trade volume has increased from 11% to 16%, and that of foreign investment has increased from 7% to 12%. Overall, this has contributed up to 50% of total world economic growth.

According to statistics from the International Monetary Fund, in 2016 the emerging markets and developing countries of BRICS contributed up to 80% of world economic growth. Hence, from the perspectives of region span and industrial activity, the development potential of the BRICS group is self-evident.

In these ten years, the BRICS mechanism has achieved notable successes in trade, finance, and the economy, such as the establishment of the BRICS New Development Bank; it also has achieved good results in political security. For instance, the BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting has defined a set of operating mode. Furthermore, the ninth summit in Xiamen will seek to develop institutional support for people-to-people and cultural exchanges, which will be a major highlight of the event.

During the past year, BRICS has faced greater difficulties than before, so the BRICS summit in Xiamen will attach great importance to joint efforts to promote economic growth.

In the past, the BRICS countries were all beneficiaries of globalization. In the current situation, with the global economic downturn, greater joint efforts need to be made to create global stability and growth, so that they can overcome the future challenges of global economic uncertainty and fight against trade and investment protectionism.

BRICS has maintained ten years of cooperation and is now entering a crucial period for development. Facing both opportunities and challenges, the BRICS group should regard this summit in Xiamen as an opportunity to press forward and usher in the second “golden decade” of cooperation.

An alliance of emerging powers

BRICS represents the world’s five largest emerging market countries. The term is an acronym covering Brazil, Russia, India and China and South Africa and because it is similar to the English word “brick” that means a block, the mechanism is named “the five gold brick countries” in Chinese.

The formation and development of the BRICS mechanism reflects the progress of quantitative and qualitative changes in the contemporary global balance of power, conforms to the trends of current international development, and drives the international system in a fairer and more reasonable direction.

The BRICS mechanism has become an important channel of contemporary South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue. As the first echelon of emerging market countries in the Group of 20, BRICS plays an essential role in both areas. The BRICS countries are a key element of South-South cooperation, and also enable the emerging powers to play an increasing role in North-South dialogue, thereby safeguarding the common interests of developing countries.

The BRICS countries comprise 30 percent of the world national territory and 44 percent of the world population, and contribute more than 23 percent of global GDP and more than 50 percent of global economic growth. Hence, BRICS has grown into an engine driving global economic development. Prof. Chen Fengying, former Director of the Institute of World Economy under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations(CICIR), believes that through the establishment of “BRICS Plus” (“BRICS Plus” refers to further cooperation with other developing countries and emerging economies)  BRICS will better reflect the common position and collective will of developing countries, and serve as an open platform, and more developing countries will participate in the mechanism. Therefore, development must remain an important issue in BRICS cooperation and there will be greater coordination in macro policies. “As an open platform, BRICS Plus concerns Africa and Latin America,” says Chen. “Therefore the influence of BRICS will become more comprehensive.”

Why will Xiamen host the 9th BRICS Summit?

The city of Xiamen in Fujian province is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China. Wutong Lighthouse Park records the heroic resistance of the people of Xiamen during the Second World War and to the Japanese occupation . In July this year, the International History Community on Gulangyu Island became the 52nd World Heritage project in China. As a prominent tourist city in China, Xiamen has won the United Nations Habitat Award and many other awards.

But Xiamen did not rely only on its physical attributes to win the right to host the event. In fact, in 2011, Xiamen held the China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) – an important global activity for promoting investment, and the first occasion on which all the BRICS countries attended the fair.

In addition to its claims to historical fame, Xiamen is a typical representative of China’s development model. It is well known as an open coastal city, an export city, and an industry cluster attracting foreign investment, and to date the top 500 global enterprises have invested in more than 100 projects in Xiamen.

CIFIT serves as a symbol of China’s economic development stage – economic new normal. Data from China’s Ministry of Commerce show that foreign direct investment in 2016 amounted to 1129 billion yuan (170 billion US dollars, an increase of 44% year on year), which exceeded the actual use of foreign capital of 813 billion yuan (12.2 billion US dollars).

China is transforming from actively taking advantage of globalization to actively participating in globalization. It has implemented the Belt and Road Initiative and the “Going Global” Strategy. Xiamen, at the core of the Maritime Silk Road, will play a key role in “Going Global” in the next phase of China’s economic development.

In addition to providing an example of China’s economic development model to the BRIC leaders, Xiamen’s comprehensive exhibition facilities and rich experience in such events will ensure the success of the summit. The exhibition industry is one of the three leading industries in China’s “exhibition city”.

In September 2017, China, as the host country of the ninth BRICS leaders’ summit, will work together with the member states to map out a new blueprint for the BRICS future.

Source: China Economic Net, China’s Ministry of Commerce, Xinhuanet,People’s Daily Online.