Global Financial System Reform?

BRIC Leaders Meeting

BRIC nation leaders (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are meeting up in China for a one day conference. BRIC is actually a bit of an inaccurate description now (it should really be changed to BRICS) since South Africa recently joined. As a unit they have both economic and political influence today, and also form part of the G20. The topic to be addressed will be reforming the global financial system since the nations comprising the BRIC make up 40 percent of the world’s population and nearly a fifth of its growth. Given these statistics, the BRICS feels they deserve a “greater say in global affairs.” While BRICS influence has increased since the start of the global financial crisis, there is still much more to be done.

BRICS Status

The BRICS will be discussing rules regarding international trade but there is no guarantee that it will hold much weight. BRICS are in favor of free trade and against protectionism, but in general don’t agree on much. Since all BRIC countries fared well vis-à-vis the 2008 economic crisis, they have already proven themselves. India has a global economic status vis-à-vis being a service provider and engages in the most trade with China although has a large trade deficit with the Chinese.

China Success

China is doing very well in the hi-tech industry, now having the status as a “mass producer of hi-tech products,” such as semi-conductors and solar panels. As well it is doing well in garment and textile industries, maintaining its reputation for being top in low-cost high value markets. At the end of the day China needs to continue to “maintain competitiveness in the global economy [through] low-cost manufacturing.” But if prices start to go up, then what will start happening is that companies will start looking elsewhere like Vietnam.

Indeed, just this last year China started constructing high-speed rail around the world, and is now “home to the world’s fastest train,” and it looks like Brazil is going to use Chinese firms to plan their high-speed rail project. But perhaps some of China’s success will come at the expense of other countries. Brazil and India are “concerned” China will “flood their markets with cheap goods.”

BRIC Cohesion?

Even though the four (now five) countries form the BRIC, it seems that in general, experts feel that the acronym alone is insufficient to give them a unified presence “on the global stage.” It is going to take much more time and a “wait-and-see” approach will have to be taken vis-à-vis G20 and other countries collaboration. While the BRIC are lessening their need to work with developed economies, globally they still have to collaborate with the “major industrialized nations.”

So the BRIC (or BRICS) do definitely have much to offer, but they need to work on compromising so that they can become a more cohesive unit and thus a force to be reckoned with vis-à-vis reforming the global financial system.

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