Chinese leader seeks wider BRICS coverage

XIAMEN CITY – Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for broader coverage of BRICS cooperation to increase its global influence and deliver more tangible benefits to the people of other emerging market and developing countries.

Speaking at the opening of the BRICS Business Forum in Xiamen on Sunday, Xi said the BRICS will usher another golden decade of partnership if other emerging markets and developing countries will join them in shaping a new age of global cooperation.

“We should build extensive partnership as cooperation platform with global influence. BRICS cooperation is more than about our five countries,” Xi said in his keynote address.

BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa which was initially formed in 2001 as BRIC. The concept turned into a formal cooperation framework in 2006 and four years later, South Africa joined.

China is the rotating chair of the BRICS Leaders Summit with the city of Xiamen hosting the 9th summit edition on Sept. 3-5.  Hainan province hosted the BRICS Summit when it was first held in China in 2011.

This year, China will hold dialogue with leaders of BRICS Plus — Thailand, Mexico, Guinea, Tajikistan and Egypt to discuss global cooperation and implementation of 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

“We should promote the BRICS plus cooperation approach and build an open and diversified network of developing partnership to get more emerging market and developing countries involved in our concerted endeavors for cooperation and mutual benefits,” he said.

Saying the global economy remains not healthy enough, Xi said BRICS should leverage their strength to promote South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue to defuse risks and challenges.

Xi said BRICS’s expanded cooperation will focus on economy, trade and investment, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, tourism, education and sports.

The Chinese leader also said BRICS countries should contribute to enhance global economic governance amid threats of protectionism and inward-looking mentality.

“The global economy and global governance system have entered a period of adjustment and face new challenges. We should not ignore problems arising from economic globalization. We should make joint efforts to find solutions,” Xi said.

Xi clarified that development of emerging markets and developing countries is not intended to move the cheese to anyone “but to make the pie of the global economy bigger.”

Xi also talked about BRICS’s commitment to uphold peace and future international security order by fighting intertwined threats of terrorism and lack of cyber security.

He said regular mechanisms have been put in place to build counter-terrorism working group and cyber security group.

In the past decade, Xi said BRICS countries have surged ahead to become a bright spot in the global economy, growing their combined gross domestic product (GDP) by 179 percent while trade and urban population increased by 94 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

”All these has contributed significantly to stabilizing the global economy and returning it to growth and delivered tangible benefits to more than three billion people,” he said.

On Tuesday, leaders from five BRICS Plus will attend the Dialogue of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries with the BRICS members.

The BRICS Business Forum has gathered a record of 1,200 attendees, including representatives from nearly 80 Fortune 500 companies.

Themed “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”, the forum will focus on trade and investment, financial cooperation, connectivity, and the blue economy.

Currently, the Philippines under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte has made moves to strengthen ties with BRICS countries China and Russia.