VARIOUS: Five of the world's biggest emerging economies prepare to meet in China for the upcoming BRICS summit
- Title: VARIOUS: Five of the world's biggest emerging economies prepare to meet in China for the upcoming BRICS summit
- Date: 13th April 2011
- Summary: BEIJING, CHINA (FILE - AUGUST 2010) (REUTERS) SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA SHAKING HANDS WITH CHINESE VICE PRESIDENT XI JINPING, ZUMA AND XI SMILING PEOPLE WALKING IN FRONT OF TIANANMEN GATE CHINESE AND SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL FLAGS IN FRONT OF PORTRAIT OF FORMER CHINESE CHAIRMAN MAO ZEDONG
- Reuters ID: LVAAHQ2HZ66BNS325C9TAJ0YEM1H
- Location: Italy, India, Brazil, China, Singapore
- Country: China
- Duration: 00:00:18
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: International Relations
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: When the BRICS countries meet in southern China this Thursday (April 14), they are one country larger and face an uncertain economic climate and turbulence in the Middle East and North Africa.
The leaders of the "BRICS" nations of China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa have voiced lofty goals, from rebalancing the global economy to giving the developing world more say in the G20 and IMF.
But while they together make up nearly 18 percent of the global economy and have much in common, they also have many mutual rifts.
The BRICS group - evolving from the BRIC term coined by Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs in 2001 - has emerged as a loose united front to press the rich Western economies, especially the United States, which traditionally dominated global diplomacy.
The addition of South Africa adds another continent and makes the group seem ever more like a platform to voice the concerns of the developing world.
Alessandro Teixeira, Brazil's Deputy Minister for Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, said the meeting was significant in that it represented what would be the largest economic bloc in the world.
"And it's an important meeting as well because it's forecast by 2013 that the developing economies will pass the developed economies in terms of GDP share in the world, so I guess every single meeting that we have of BRICS is an important meeting because we are talking with the largest economies in the world," he said.
Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Beijing's Renmin University, said the addition of South Africa and upheaval in Libya means the meeting comes at an important time.
"This makes the four BRIC countries become the five BRICS countries, and possibly if the BRICS summit becomes a regular mechanism, it will have great significance for the political and economic future of the world. Secondly, there is the recent, serious war situation in Libya, which the five countries are extremely concerned about and dissatisfied with," he said.
China, Russia, India, Brazil and other developing countries have condemned the U.S.-led air strikes on Libyan forces.
South Africa, on the other hand, voted in favour of the United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the strikes.
However, during a visit to Tripoli on Sunday, South African President Jacob Zuma called for NATO to stop air strikes.
In-fighting over Libya is just one in a list of political issues that could hamper BRICS leaders from achieving greater goals.
Brazil, India and South Africa are vibrant democracies, with close ties to the United States.
China, now the world's second-largest economy, is a Communist-ruled country with a low tolerance for political dissent and brittle relations with Washington.
Brazil has expressed concern that China's yuan currency is kept unfairly and intentionally cheap, fueling a flood of cheap imports into the country.
China is adamant the yuan will not be a subject of discussion.
China and India, despite a warming relationship, stare at each other across a disputed, militarised border, with India also wary of China's tight friendship with Pakistan.
Even questions like whether the five should set up a more formal mechanism, like a secretariat, have no consensus, and it is not clear when or how they might add other members, such as Indonesia, Turkey or Mexico.
But China's Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Hailong said differences should not get in the way of progress.
"Those issues on which we can't reach consensus can be laid aside and discussion delayed, until conditions are right. We won't let disagreements and different points of view stymie our cooperation," he said.
Thursday's gathering in the balmy southern Chinese beach resort of Sanya will last just a few hours, and may produce little in the ways concrete progress.
But as the five countries already represent almost a fifth of the world economy, their place on the world stage could hold great influence in the years to come.
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- Embargoed:28th April 2011 13:00