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Partnership for Promoting Common Development

Submit Time:25-09-2017 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Mou Zongcong | Source:People's Daily (August 29, 2017, p. 03)

Abstract:

The BRICS countries are ushering in the beginning of the second decade's cooperation, while the world economy is still undergoing in-depth adjustment in consequence of the international financial crisis. The BRICS countries are partners in promoting common development, and helping respond appropriately to new challenges that matter to the long-term development of them, such as insufficient momentum for economic growth and rise of trade and investment protectionism. 

President Xi Jinping advocated a partnership that promotes common development by capitalizing on each member state's complementary advantages in resource endowment and industrial structure, thereby expanding the space for development. He also pointed out that the BRICS countries should implement the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, explore new areas for cooperation, and continue to promote the common development and prosperity of developing countries. This is of great significance for the BRICS countries to develop new realm of cooperation. 

Forging ahead despite trials and tribulations 

The BRICS countries have gone through trials and tribulations together over the past 10 years. Because of the influence of the external environment of world economy and other factors, the BRICS countries have been confronted with some difficulties and challenges in economic development, but they boast abundant natural and human resources, broad domestic markets, huge development potential, and ample policy space, so the rising trend will not change. 

The BRICS countries' total territory area accounts for 30% of the world's total land area, and their total population accounts for approximately 44% of the world's total population. Despite the negative impact of the world economic situation, the BRICS countries have stepped up their cooperation and went forward hand in hand over the past 10 years. The proportion of their economic aggregate in the global economic aggregate has increased from 12% to 23%; their total volume of trade from 11% to 16%; their outward foreign investment from 7% to 12%. They have contributed more than 50% to the world's economic growth, becoming an important engine that drives the world's economic growth. 

"We must stay confident, maintain unified focus, and see the strength and potential of the BRICS countries, as well as the vitality of emerging market countries and developing countries represented by the BRICS countries," said President Xi Jinping at the informal meeting of leaders of the BRICS countries held in Hangzhou last year. President Xi had strong confidence and hope for the BRICS countries from a long-term perspective. 

The BRICS cooperation scheme is in line with the five countries' objective needs and in keep with the historical trend. In recent years, by leveraging each other's complementary advantages, the BRICS countries have broaden the areas of cooperation, shaping a multi-field, multi-level, and all-round cooperation pattern. Today, the BRICS countries have established more than 60 cooperative schemes, covering trade, finance, agriculture, education, science and technology, culture, and think tanks. 

Over the past 10 years, the BRICS countries have worked together step by step and deepened their cooperation, so BRICS has now developed into an influential international scheme and achieved fruitful results. 

"I believe that as long as we uphold the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness, cooperation and win-win results, and work together to build a closer BRICS partnership regardless of hardships, distractions and difficulties, the BRIC countries will achieve greater development," said President Xi Jinping, injecting an impetus to the unswerving journey of BRICS cooperation. 

Stimulating potential through joint growth 

How can we push the BRICS economic cooperation to a new level? 

China assumed the BRICS presidency in 2017, clearly proposing four key tasks. The top priority is to focus on economic cooperation, while promoting pragmatic cooperation in other fields, so as to create a new situation featuring integration of trade and investment, circulation of money and finance, connectivity of infrastructure, and cultural exchange. 

China has remained committed to helping the BRICS countries achieve joint growth and stimulating the tremendous potential for BRICS cooperation. 

Trade and investment cooperation has stepped into a new level as a result of the release of the Outlines for BRICS Investment Facilitation, which was adopted at the Meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers on August 2. This document serves as an important basis and impetus for promoting investment facilitation. The BRICS countries represent 23% of the global economic aggregate, but only 16% of the global total trade volume. In 2016, the BRICS countries' outward foreign investment totaled approximately 197 billion US dollars, in which inter-BRICS countries' investment only accounted for approximately 6%. This means that the BRICS countries have great potential for economic, trade and investment cooperation. 

Monetary and financial cooperation was reflected by the commitment to strengthen cooperation in nine fiscal and financial areas—this good news was heard from the Second BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting held in June 19 this year. Moreover, on August 17, the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) launched its Africa Regional Center in Johannesburg, South Africa. As South African President Zuma said in the opening ceremony, it is testament to our commitment that BRICS and the NDB should benefit not only the BRICS countries, but should also benefit the whole of Africa and the developing world as a whole. 

The NDB has assumed the important mission of promoting common development. On July 2, the NDB announced its overall strategy for the next five years, clearly placing its business focus on sustainable development, and two-thirds of the loan projects are expected to finance sustainable development-related infrastructure construction. 

The NDB has made remarkable achievements since its opening more than two years ago. In 2016, the NDB issued loans worth 1.5 billion US dollars to seven projects including infrastructure and sustainable development. This year, the bank will provide loans worth 2.5 billion to 3 billion US dollars to more than 10 projects. The bank plans to fulfill the goal of providing loans worth 8 billion US dollars for 35 projects by 2018. 

Georgy Toloraya, Executive Director of the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research, said, "During the year of China's presidency, the BRICS countries' influence has improved significantly." "The key tasks proposed by China have been concerned by all parties." 

Sharing experience for inclusive development 

"The BRICS countries have similar stages of development, so the opportunities and challenges confronting them may have something in common. We should strengthen the exchange of experience in governance, enhance mutual understanding, strengthen learning from each other, and jointly explore ways to solve problems." "We should strive to achieve an effective connection between domestic development strategies and international development agendas." "We should implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, exchange with developing countries regarding development ideas, share development experiences, and deepen South-South Cooperation." …… President Xi Jinping pointed out a path for the BRICS countries to play a constructive role in the development issue and South-South Cooperation. 

At present, the BRICS countries are faced with the tasks of overcoming growth difficulties and promoting structural reforms. It is the optimization and upgrading of the economic structure that helps consolidate the foundation. 

During the Second BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting, the BRICS countries' financial and fiscal officials, faced with the complicated and changing external economic environment, agreed to deepen structural reforms and tap new economic growth points in response to the so-called "fading out" of BRICS. 

With the help of China's impetus, "to promote structural reforms and enhance economic resilience" were clearly written in the new consensus on BRICS cooperation, and the BRICS countries promised to deepen cooperation in multiple areas under the G20 financial and fiscal channels and seek a common voice. 

On August 17, the BRICS Seminar on Governance was held in Quanzhou, Fujian Province. Representatives from the BRICS countries as well as developing countries such as Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mexico exchanged views on governance and their solutions to development and governance problems. In recent years, through dialogues with African countries, South American countries, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Eurasian Economic Union's member states, the BRICS countries have continued to participate in the improvement of global development partnerships and gradually shepherded South-South Cooperation. 

On April 18 this year, Liu Jieyi, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), spoke on behalf of the BRICS countries at the High-Level SDG Financing Lab General Assembly of the United Nations. This is the first time that the BRICS countries made a common voice on a major international issue at the UN, and is an important step in promoting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

According to Edith Phaswana, Senior Lecturer at South Africa-headquartered Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, the BRICS scheme, which is of far-reaching significance, drives the common development of other emerging market countries and developing countries within the region and provides a platform for other countries to share and learn advanced experiences, rather than being limited to the BRICS countries. 

Setting foot on the second "golden decade" of the new journey, the BRICS countries work together to build a closer partnership and create a better future. 


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