The club of emerging political and economic powers of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in response to new global challenges is famously known as BRICS. Since its inception in 2006, it has been a platform to highlight the prominence of multi-polar world order challenging the collision of G-7 members.
These five countries account for 20% of world GDP and 40% of the world population. Further, they hold 40% of gold and hard currency reserves. Being collectively the largest market, their cumulative GDP has tripled in the last ten years.
Two main functions of the BRICS are, to:
1) liaise with meetings and international organizations such as IMF and G-20 Grouping; and to
2) design a framework for BRICS members for multi-sectoral cooperation.
Today it covers more than 30 sectors including agriculture, science and technology, culture, outer space, think tanks, Internet governance and security, social welfare, intellectual property, health, and tourism.
The forum called BRICS Business Council promotes and strengthens business, trade and investment ties amongst the business communities of the members. Think Tank Council formulates long term economic strategies of the members.
Further initiatives have been made for establishing New Development Bank (NDB) to finance the infrastructure projects in emerging economies and developing countries, also for entering into Contingent Reserves Arrangement (CRA) to promote mutual support among the members in situations of instability in the balance of payments.
Demands have also been made to reformulate the IMF but, they were not yet successive because of the resistance caused by the Western power. Moreover, the BRICS are open to cooperation and constructive engagement with other countries, as well as open with international and regional organizations in dealing with current global issues.
Despite this, one of the vital political demands that the BRICS has made to the United Nations Organization is to expand the number of members of the Security Council covering the BRICS members and making decisions of the UNO more democratic and accountable. This shows the importance of BRICS to balance the prevailing world order and also to voice for the global south in international relations.
Nonetheless, since 2009 China is the top trading partner of Brazil and on the other hand export of soy to China from Brazil is as crucial as the arrival of Chinese investment into Brazil. According to a recent study carried by the Started Charted Bank, China will become the largest economy of the world in 2020. Hence, though there is much ideological dissimilarity, both the countries are dependent on each other concerning their trade relations.
If Brazil is not driven by pragmatism, it will not deal closely with the BRICS members. More importantly, in the middle of this year, Brazil’s turn to host the BRICS summit. Conversely, it’s not only stance of Brazil has been changed even China doesn’t seem to be willing to invest much on the BRICS as in the past. As Lord Palmerston once stated, “in international relations, there is no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies. Only the interests are eternal and perpetual”.