Ahead of Xiamen summit, BRICS discuss new rules of global governance

In this August 1, 2017 file photo, China's Commerce Minister Zhong Shan (center) speaks during the opening ceremony of the 7th Meeting of the BRICS Trade ministers in Shanghai, China.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

As the countdown for the September summit of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping begins, scholars, academics and government officials have been brainstorming ways in which the emerging economies can set the global agenda, based on new rules of governance.

Delegates to a BRICS seminar, organised by the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the southeast city of Quanzhou analysed and debated the Chinese model of rapid development as the template for the rapid

growth, especially of the global South.

The BRICS summit is being held in China’s coastal city of Xiamen from September 3-5. It highlights the theme: "BRICS: stronger partnership for a brighter future."

BRICS members account for about 23 per cent of the world economy, and contributed to more than half of global growth in 2016.

Peking University professor and former World Bank chief economist Justin Lin Yifu pointed out at the seminar that among nearly 200 developing economies since the end of the Second World War, only two have transitioned from low-income to high-income economies, with China possibly emerging as the third by 2025.

He attributed the failure to avoid either the middle-income or low income trap, to pursuit of western mainstream economic theories — structuralism, and neoliberalism. He stressed that a right balance between the role of the market and the state was required to achieve breakthroughs, Xinhua reported.

Mr. Lin highlighted that the “secret of China's success is its use of both 'invisible hand' and 'visible hand,'". He added that technological innovation and industrial upgrading can proceed smoothly, only when the market and the state played their complementary roles.

Robert Kuhn, a China expert from the United States, focused on the pursuit of "Four Comprehensives" by Chinese leaders as an overarching framework to achieve rapid development goals. The "Four Comprehensives" cover efforts to pursue a moderately prosperous society, reform, rule of law and Party discipline, he observed.

While acknowledging China's success, most participants also underscored that there is no one-size-fits-all development model that can be fully replicated to achieve growth. Essop Goolam Pahad, the editor of South Africa's Thinker Magazine, pointed out that a change of mindset was essential as communities and their leader must believe that development is possible, whatever the odds. "The weak hatchling will never take off if it depends on government aid, financial grants, and welfare allowances," he observed.

The brainstorming in Quanzhou has been preceded by a conference, earlier this month of the BRICS trade minister in Shanghai, which focused on the continued relevance of globalisation. In the wake of

protectionist sentiments in the U.S. and Europe, it underscored the need for a united stand of the emerging economies against protectionism, and backing for a multilateral trade system.

In late July, a BRICS security meeting was held in Beijing, with discussions on global governance, anti-terrorism, the internet, energy, national security and development. A month earlier, finance ministers and central bank governors agreed to strengthen cooperation in several fiscal and financial areas, including the BRICS New Development Bank and regulatory collaboration.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 8:05:31 AM |

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