BRICS SUMMIT: moving forward
Cooperation within BRICS stimulates economic cooperation among member countries, says Valdai Club expert Zhao Huasheng. A clear example is the China-Russia economic relationship. “There is an expression that China usually acts hotly politically, and coldly economically. However, in my opinion, now it is not so. China’s relations with Russia could be characterized as follows: politically stable, and economically heated,” the expert said in an interview with valdaiclub.com.
The ninth BRICS was held in the Chinese city of Xiamen. Leaders of Russia, Brazil, India and South Africa arrived there. The main objectives of the meeting were to strengthen mutually beneficial and comprehensive partnership for the sake of maintaining peace and stability, promoting universal development and improving the global governance system.
According to Zhao Huasheng, Professor and Director of the Center for Russia and Central Asia Studies, Fudan University, BRICS possesses very favorable factors for the development of economic cooperation both within the union and with other countries.
“This is a huge market, which gives great opportunities for investments and trade. BRICS has now a fairly large investment potential, rich in natural and labor resources, it has good scientific and technical capabilities and potential. There is construction and improvement of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ infrastructure, which will make economic cooperation more convenient and effective. If compared with the West, the BRICS countries have a higher rate of economic growth. The task of BRICS is to use its capabilities as efficiently as possible,” Zhao said.
The expert also stressed the role of BRICS in stimulating bilateral economic cooperation between the member countries. According to him, in recent years, economic cooperation has become a hot spot in China-Russia relations. Russia and China attach great importance to this.
“Economic cooperation is developing, reaching an increasing number of regions and areas. Although the achievements have not yet reached the desired level, but the general trend is a movement forward, and as long as it remains, we will receive more and more positive results,” Zhao said.
Zhao Huasheng also noted that the BRICS concept is constantly enriched and improved, and now it is generally clear in which direction it will go: the BRICS+ project, created on the basis of BRICS, will expand the integration platform, forming a new economic community.
“This will help BRICS countries to establish closer internal cooperation, and the external relations will become more transparent and open to other countries, especially for the developing ones. Moreover, if BRICS was earlier mostly about the economy, now the agenda has expanded, this is both security and the humanitarian sphere. The degree of participation in world governance will increase,” the expert said.
Discussing the BRICS summit in Xiamen, Zhao Huasheng noted that China was carefully prepared for it. Because of the crisis in relations between China and India due to the Doklam plateau issue, there were doubts whether the Indian prime minister would take part in the event. However, in late August, the territorial crisis was resolved, and the Indian side announced that it would participate in the summit.
“This is good for the summit, because BRICS is not only China. It is a member of the family of all participating countries. India’s refusal to participate in the summit would harm the interests of BRICS in general, including India itself,” he added.
“After the end of this crisis stage in relations between India and China, there was a lot of talk of who won and who lost. I think that the crisis was resolved in a sensible, peaceful way, thanks to the negotiations, we managed to avoid a military conflict that would be a loss for both sides. Therefore, this is a win-win for both sides,” Zhao concluded.