The five member countries of the Brics alignment – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are to strengthen trade and investment between themselves. This was affirmed in the ‘Xiamen Declaration’, issued during the IX Brics Summit, in the south-eastern Chinese coastal city of Xiamen. The summit took place from September 3 to September 5.
“We note that practical economic cooperation has traditionally served as a foundation of Brics cooperation, notably through implementing the Strategy for Brics Economic Partnership and initiatives related to its priority areas, such as trade and investment, manufacturing and minerals processing, infrastructure connectivity, financial integration, science, technology and innovation, and information and communication technology (ICT) cooperation, among others,” states the Xiamen Declaration. “Stressing the role of enhanced trade and investment cooperation in unleashing the potential of Brics economies, we agree to improve and broaden [the] trade and investment cooperation mechanism and scope, with a view to enhancing Brics economic complementarity and diversification in Brics countries.”
The five partner countries also stressed the importance of improving financial cooperation amongst them, with the aims of addressing their developmental requirements and improving support to their real economies. They agreed to enable the integration of their financial markets, because of the demand created by the fast increase in trade and investment amongst the Brics countries. This integration will take the form of encouraging a financial institutions network and financial services coverage within the five countries, in compliance with each of their respective regulatory frameworks and obligations under the World Trade Organisation, and developing improved information exchanges and collaboration amongst their respective financial system regulators.
The Declaration further noted that their respective Finance Ministers and central bank governors had already agreed to cooperate regarding public–private partnerships (PPPs), including the sharing of experiences with PPPs as well as on the application of the Brics Good Practices on PPP Frameworks. A temporary technical task force has been created to examine different modes of cooperation in this area. One idea being considered is the creation of a PPP Project Preparation Fund.
“We encourage cooperation and coordination by our accounting standards setters and audit regulators and agree to explore convergence of accounting standards and continue discussion on cooperation on auditing oversight in the area of bond issuance, so as to lay the groundwork for bond market connectivity among Brics countries, with due regard to applicable national legislation and policies,” continues the Declaration. “We agree to promote the development of Brics Local Currency Bond Markets and jointly establish a Brics Local Currency Bond Fund as a means of contributing to the capital sustainability of financing in Brics countries, boosting the development of Brics domestic and regional bond markets, including by increasing foreign private sector participation, and enhancing [the] financial resilience of Brics countries.”
The five countries further reasserted their determination to cooperate in the industrial sector, including industrial policies, as well as industrial capacity, infrastructure and standards. This cooperation will also embrace small, medium-sized and microenterprises. The intent is to “jointly seize” the opportunities being created by the “new industrial revolution” and promote the industrialisation of each of the member countries.
Agriculture was noted as an area of successful cooperation to date. The fact that the member countries had distinct and complementary agriculture sectors was highlighted. They agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the adaptation of agriculture to climate change, agricultural technology and innovation cooperation, agricultural trade and investment, food security and nutrition, and the application of ICT to agriculture (these were identified as ‘priority areas’). Other areas highlighted for continuing or new cooperation include research, development and innovation; energy; green development and low-carbon economies; the environment; sustainable development; and the digital economy.
“We appreciate the efforts and contribution of the Brics Business Council and Business Forum to strengthening our economic cooperation in infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, agriculture, financial services, ecommerce, alignment of technical standards and skills development,” observes the Declaration. “We encourage business communities and associations to actively participate in Brics cooperation, and give full play to their role as trade and investment facilitation institutions in promoting mutually beneficial cooperation.”