Brics nations must speak with one voice, says Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the Brics Business Forum at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Centre in Xiamen, China, on Sept 3, 2017.
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the Brics Business Forum at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Centre in Xiamen, China, on Sept 3, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

XIAMEN, FUJIAN - Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday (Sept 4) that the Brics countries need to speak with one voice to bring about an international order that is more just and equitable.

Speaking at the plenary session of the ongoing annual summit of the five-member bloc, Mr Xi noted that the Brics members' ever closer ties with the rest of the world require that "we five countries play a more active part in global governance".

The bloc gathers five of the world's major emerging economies from four continents - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Mr Xi stressed the need for the five members to stand together, saying: "We need to speak with one voice and jointly present our solutions to issues concerning international peace and development".

"This meets the expectation of the international community and will help safeguard our common interests," he added.

He stressed the need for reform of the global economic governance to "increase representation and voice of the emerging market and developing countries" and to inject new impetus into efforts to address the development gap between the north and south, and boost global growth.

The Chinese leader, however, also acknowledged that the Brics countries have not yet fully tapped into the potential of their cooperation.

He pointed out that statistics showed of the US$197 billion (S$267 billion) outbound investment made in 2016 by the bloc's members, only 5.7 per cent took place among the five countries.

"This means Brics cooperation still has more space," he said.

Brics countries have disparate political and economic systems, giving rise to scepticism of their ability to cooperate effectively.

Uneven development of the five members - with China and India registering high growth rates while the other three have hit speed bumps - and political turmoil in Brazil and South Africa have added to the challenges that the bloc faces.

"We need to stay focus on promoting results-oriented economic cooperation and expand converging interests in trade and investment, currency and finance connectivity, sustainable development, innovation and industrial cooperation," said Mr Xi.

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