Bright BRICS for a Bright Future

In a historical period that features extensive development, huge changes and sharp adjustments, a large number of emerging market and developing countries have come of age just in time to boost the sluggish world economy, adapt to the trends of political multi-polarization, economic globalization and cultural diversification, and build a new global order that meets the needs of the time.
by Li Xia
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September 4, 2017: Chinese President Xi Jinping (center) and other leaders of BRICS countries pose for a group photo before the 2017 BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian Province. by Xu Xun/China Pictorial

The three-day 2017 BRICS Summit concluded in Xiamen, in China’s southeastern province of Fujian on September 5, with a great success. The breathtaking scenery of the coastal city of Xiamen, as well as perfect preparations and organization, deeply impressed the participants. At the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech titled Working Together to Usher in the Second “Golden Decade” of BRICS Cooperation, which described a path to a bright future for emerging market and developing countries by working together to promote world development.

Since the 1980s, the trend of globalization has provided historic opportunities for the emerging market and developing countries. The birth of BRICS was a result of this trend. Over the decade since its inception, BRICS has made remarkable contributions to the global economy and played a vital role in international affairs. As President Xi said in his speech at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum, “In the past ten years, our [BRICS countries’] combined GDP has grown by 179 percent, trade by 94 percent and urban population by 28 percent. All this has contributed significantly to stabilizing the global economy and returning it to growth, and it has delivered tangible benefits to more than three billion people.”

The 2008 global financial crisis fueled doubt and pessimism about the strength and future of BRICS countries. Some argued BRICS had lost its luster. Such takes proved shortsighted and poor judgments of world structure and the potential of BRICS cooperation. The Xiamen Summit offered a good opportunity to demonstrate the great strength and potential of BRICS cooperation to the world. As President Xi declared, “Due to complex internal and external environments, we BRICS countries have encountered headwinds of varying intensity. But the growth potential and trends in our countries remain unchanged, and we are fully confident about the future.”

This confidence is rooted in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation that BRICS countries have maintained amid cooperation across a wide range of areas at multiple levels. The group has launched a number of cooperation projects aligned with the five countries’ development strategies that meet the interests of their peoples, such as the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement. This confidence is also inspired by BRICS countries’ active promotion of reform of global economic governance to increase the representation and say of emerging market and developing countries, which is playing an important role in building new international relations.

Such confidence, as well as BRICS’ fruitful achievements over the past decade, made the Xiamen Summit particularly important. At the gathering themed “Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future,” leaders of the five BRICS countries conducted in-depth exchange and reached consensus on a wide range of topics including international situations, global governance and BRICS cooperation. They also passed the BRICS Leaders Xiamen Declaration by summarizing successful experiences of BRICS cooperation in the past decade. The Summit also reiterated the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and mutually-beneficial cooperation, drew a new blueprint for BRICS countries to strengthen their partnerships, deepened pragmatic cooperation in multiple fields, and painted a bright future for cooperation among emerging market and developing countries.

President Xi declared in his speech: “We should promote the construction of an open global economy, advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, jointly build new global value chains, and rebalance economic globalization. Doing so will benefit the people around the world.” This statement drew considerable attention from the foreign media and became a hot topic during the Xiamen Summit.

The 2017 BRICS Summit has fueled expectations for future BRICS cooperation. In a historical period that features extensive development, huge changes and sharp adjustments, a large number of emerging market and developing countries have come of age just in time to boost the sluggish world economy, adapt to the trends of political multi-polarization, economic globalization and cultural diversification, and build a new global order that meets the needs of the time.

The author is executive editor-in-chief of China Pictorial.