Foreign Ministers Hold BRICS Plus Expansion Discussions

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BRICS+ As An Alternative G20

An online meeting of potential BRICS+ Foreign Ministers was held last Friday (May 20) in which the FMs of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) were joined by the FMs or representatives from Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Thailand.

According to the Global Times, Government ministers backed BRICS expansion. Agreements on the countries that will be able to join the organization can only be made after thorough discussions and procedure among current BRICS members, while the current members have stated that current G20 members interested in joining the BRICS can be prioritized, and that Indonesia and other emerging economies could be likely candidates.

The G20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. BRICS+ is likely to be seen in the West as an attempt to introduce an alternative.

“China proposes to study the standards and procedures for BRICS expansion, to gradually form a consensus,” China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during the online meeting.

According to the joint statement released by the ministers, they supported promoting discussions among BRICS members on the expansion process, and they agreed to further clarify the guiding principles, the standards, criteria, and procedures for this expansion process.

Including new members within BRICS could better underpin the organization’s positive role in addressing international affairs and offset negative impact of some countries’ attempt to intensity geopolitical confrontation and reverse globalization through forming political blocs, according to Song Guoyou, deputy director of the Center for American Studies, at Fudan University.

A BRICS expansion could also lay a foundation for the organization to stay strong among different international groups and in the face of a turbulent world order.

As for which countries can be considered to enter the organization, the statement suggests this will be decided after detailed procedures and discussion among the current BRICS member countries, noting that “Each country may have its preference of supporting different new members, and eventually BRICS will reach a compromised agreement through coordination and dialogue.”

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Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists British and Foreign Investment into Asia and has 28 offices throughout China, India, the ASEAN nations and Russia. For strategic and business intelligence concerning China’s Belt & Road Initiative please email silkroad@dezshira.com or visit us at www.dezshira.com

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