Author: Ekaterina Y. Arapova
Year: 2019, Volume 19 Number 2
During the 2017 BRICS Summit, the Chinese government announced the idea to promote the “BRICS Plus” cooperation approach, encouraging closer partnership among the group of emerging markets and developing countries. The idea was fixed in the final declaration, but the mechanism of its implementation remains uncertain, as well as the list of participants. At the same time, China’s approach to “build an open and diversified network of development partnerships to get more emerging market and developing countries involved in our concerted endeavors for cooperation and mutual benefits” (Huang, 2017, September 5) may push the developing world to integrate and challenge the contemporary system of global governance. Thus, the potential modalities of a newly proposed scenario need to be explored. The paper aims at reflecting at the Russian approach of implementing the BRICS Plus concept, as suggested by the chief economist of the Eurasian Development Bank Yaroslav Lissovolik, and explore directions of potential cooperation among the countries of the expanded format. The developed concept stems from the constructivist background. The “BRICS Plus Circle” unites the members of the five integration blocks, driven by the BRICS countries, which are mainly developing countries, seeking not just redistribution of powers, but the creation of a more balanced global architecture, based on the principles of non- discrimination, equal access to resources, and their fair distribution. The paper contains a comprehensive analysis of potential directions of cooperation within the expanded format, which lay mainly in economic field: traditional trade and financial cooperation, as well as new directions such as e-commerce, cooperation in the interests of small and medium enterprises, and technological cooperation. The financial area seems to be potentially the most promising, and trade and investment cooperation may potentially take the second position. The successful performance of the multilateral cooperation may, in the medium and long run, contribute to the changing global architecture and governance, create the alternative to the existing international financial organizations, mainly, the IMF, and lower the developing countries’ dependence on its financing. At the same time, deeper and closer trade and investment cooperation among the five integration blocks will contribute to the gradual harmonization of their content.
Keywords: BRICS, BRICS Plus, international trade, regional economic integration, international financial cooperation, currency swap agreement, technological cooperation