Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum in Xiamen, Fujian Province, on Sunday. The BRICS Summit, involving Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, will run from September 3 to 5. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping said Sunday that BRICS cooperation has reached a crucial stage of development and that BRICS nations should increase the influence of the bloc and build extensive partnerships.
Addressing the BRICS Business Forum in the southeastern city of Xiamen, Xi said BRICS should expand the coverage of their cooperation and deliver its benefits to more people.
“We should get more emerging market and developing countries involved in our concerted endeavors for cooperation and mutual benefits,” he said, citing a Chinese proverb – “It is easy to break one arrow but hard to break 10 arrows bundled together.”
The BRICS mechanism is over a decade old, and it’s time to look back and make adjustments according to the current global order, Lu Jing, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University’s Institute of International Relations, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Xi said as a cooperation platform with global influence, BRICS cooperation is more than just about the five countries in the bloc.
“BRICS places a high premium on cooperation with other emerging markets and developing countries and have established effective dialogue mechanisms with them,” Xi said.
“Xi’s speech, with facts and statistics, showed that the BRICS bloc is not fading. His words brought confidence to the future of the BRICS cooperation,” Lu said.
“The development of the BRICS bloc is not to challenge the existing international order. On the contrary, it is a complementary mechanism to the existing order with the aims of co-prosperity, openness and world peace,” Lu noted.
As an important side-event of the BRICS summit, the Business Forum serves as a platform for business leaders to discuss issues of common concern, build consensus and raise policy suggestions, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Themed “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future,” the Xiamen Summit, held from Sunday to Tuesday, will focus on trade and investment, financial cooperation, connectivity, and the blue economy.
The forum this year gathered a record of 1,200 attendees as well as 632 enterprises from BRICS nations and other countries, Jiang Zengwei, head of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said at a press conference in Xiamen on Saturday.
Sessions will be held on Monday, and the five leaders will adopt the Xiamen Leaders’ Declaration.
Along with the summit, the BRICS Cultural Festival will be opened in Xiamen on Monday, featuring more than 210 artists from the five BRICS countries who will put on indoor and outdoor performances, master classes and film screenings.
Xi said the BRICS group of emerging economies must promote trade liberalization and an open world economy.
“We should promote the building of an open global economy, advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, jointly build new global value chains, and rebalance economic globalization,” he said in the speech.
Together, the five accounted for 23 percent of the 2016 global economy, almost double their share in 2006, and contributed to more than half of global growth.
Xi said the past decade has seen the countries making headway in pursuing common development, with their combined GDP having grown 179 percent, trade 94 percent and urban population 28 percent during the period.
The bloc has contributed significantly to stabilizing the global economy and returning it to growth, and has delivered tangible benefits to more than 3 billion people, he said.
“Xi has called for seeking common ground while managing differences, together with practice and creativity in cooperation. These are the ways the BRICS nations can overcome difficulties and barriers,” Song Zhongping, an expert on international relations, told the Global Times on Sunday.
“Xi replied strongly that the BRICS bloc has met an opportunity … it is time to change the current mechanism and to build a new cooperation model, either inside the BRICS bloc or by adding more developing countries,” Song said.
The New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement have provided financing support for BRICS infrastructure building and sustainable development, contributing to enhanced global economic governance and the building of an international financial safety net, Xi said during the speech on Sunday.
“We’ve been using wheat from Russia, cocoa from South Africa as well as coffee from Brazil,” Cai Jin’an, board director of Panpan Foods Group from Jinjiang, Fujian Province, told the Global Times on Saturday.
“The BRICS countries have big populations and great markets, so the space for importing and exporting is great. Strengthening cooperation among the BRICS countries would benefit our companies. We’ll be able to produce products of best quality by using agricultural and other products,” he said.
Source: Global Times