Usher in the Second Golden Decade of BRICS Cooperation*
September 4, 2017
BRICS cooperation has witnessed a glorious decade. Though separated by mountains and oceans, our five countries have been closely bound by a shared commitment to mutually beneficial cooperation.
As an ancient Chinese saying goes, "A partnership forged with the right approach defies geographical distance; it is thicker than glue and stronger than metal and stone."1 We owe the rapid development of BRICS cooperation to the right approach that we have adopted. Guided by this approach, we have respected and supported each other in following the path of development suited to our respective national conditions; we have pressed forward with economic, political and people-to-people cooperation in an open, inclusive and win-win spirit; and we have worked in unison with other emerging markets and developing countries to uphold international justice and equity and foster a sound external environment.
Past progress shows that BRICS cooperation has met our common need for development and is in keeping with the trend of history. Though we have different national conditions, we share a commitment to pursuing development and prosperity through partnership. This has enabled us to rise above differences and seek mutually beneficial results.
In the context of profound and complex changes in the world, BRICS cooperation has become more important. The people of our countries expect us to boost development and improve their wellbeing. The international community expects us to make our contribution to world peace and common development. We must redouble our efforts to further BRICS partnership and usher in the second golden decade of BRICS cooperation.
First, we need to advance results-oriented economic cooperation. Results are the foundation of BRICS cooperation, and significant progress has been made in this regard. However, we have yet to tap the full potential. Statistics show that of the US$197 billion in outbound investment we made in 2016, only 5.7 percent took place among our five countries. This means there is still considerable space for further cooperation.
We need to stay focused on results, and expand converging interests in trade and investment, currency and finance, connectivity, sustainable development, innovation and industry. This year, we have formulated the BRICS Trade in Services Cooperation Roadmap, the Outlines for BRICS Investment Facilitation, the BRICS E-Commerce Cooperation Initiative, the BRICS Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation, and the Action Plan for Deepening Industrial Cooperation Among BRICS Countries. We have launched the African Regional Center of the New Development Bank (NDB), decided to set up the BRICS model e-port network, and reached extensive agreement on taxation, e-commerce, local currency bonds, public-private partnership, and a network of financial institutions and services. Our practical cooperation has become more institutionalized and substantive, and delivered more tangible results.
I wish to announce here that China will launch the Economic and Technical Cooperation Plan for BRICS Countries with RMB500 million for the first term to facilitate policy exchange and practical cooperation in business and trade. China will contribute US$4 million to the NDB Project Preparation Facility to support the business operation and long-term development of the bank. China will work with all parties to follow through on the outcomes and consensus achieved in the past, and make good use of existing mechanisms. Together, we must seize the historic opportunities of the new industrial revolution, explore new areas and models of practical cooperation, and enhance our links to ensure sustained and steady progress of the BRICS cooperation mechanism.
Second, we need to strengthen the complementarity of our development strategies. Despite differences in our national conditions, our five countries are at a similar stage of development and share the same development goals. We all face an arduous task in growing the economy. Improving the complementarity of our development strategies will help bring out our comparative strengths in resources, markets and labor force, and release the growth potential of the five countries and the creativity of our three billion people, opening up a huge space for development.
We need to have a good plan at the macro level and take concrete actions in key areas. Acting in the spirit of extensive consultation, joint efforts and shared benefits, we need to identify those areas where our development policies and priorities converge, and continue to work towards the goal of connectivity in trade and investment, currency and finance, and infrastructure. With a focus on structural reform and sustainable development, we need to expand our converging interests and share experience on innovation, entrepreneurship, industrial development and manufacturing capacity to boost our respective economies. It is important to strike a balance between the speed of growth and the quality and efficiency of growth. By implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we have the opportunity to achieve balanced economic, social and environmental progress, and bring about interconnected and inclusive development.
Third, we need to promote a more just and equitable international order. Our ever closer ties with the rest of the world require that we play a more active part in global governance. Without our participation, many pressing global challenges cannot be effectively addressed. We should speak with one voice and jointly present our approaches to issues concerning international peace and development. This meets the expectation of the international community, and will help safeguard our common interests.
We should remain committed to multilateralism and the basic norms governing international relations, work for a new model of international relations, and foster a peaceful and stable environment for the development of all countries. We need to make economic globalization open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, build an open world economy, support the multilateral trading regime, and oppose protectionism. We need to advance the reform of global economic governance, increase the representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries, inject new impetus into the efforts to address the development gap between the North and South, and boost global growth.
Fourth, we need to promote people-to-people exchanges. Amity between peoples holds the key to sound state-to-state relations. Only with careful tending can the tree of friendship and cooperation flourish. Enhancing exchanges among our peoples and seeing the spirit of partnership embraced by all is a worthy cause that deserves our enduring commitment. A job well done in this regard will keep BRICS cooperation vibrant.
We are pleased to note that the important consensus reached at the leadership level on closer people-to-people exchanges is being translated into reality. This year has seen extensive people-to-people exchanges among our five countries, marked by the diverse activities of the BRICS Games, the BRICS Film Festival, the BRICS Culture Festival, and the High-level Meeting on Traditional Medicine. We hope that through our joint efforts, these activities will take place regularly and become institutionalized. We need to expand our outreach to get the public more involved and encourage more lively exchanges of diverse cultures.
The past decade has seen unremitting efforts on the part of the BRICS countries in pursuing development and deeper partnerships. It is but a beginning in the history of BRICS cooperation. As I said in my letters to you earlier this year, looking ahead, BRICS cooperation is set to expand and play an even bigger role in international affairs. Let us set sail from Xiamen, join hands to usher in the second golden decade of BRICS cooperation, and deliver greater benefits to the peoples of our five countries and around the world.
* Part of the speech at the BRICS Xiamen Summit.
1 Qiao Zhou: Morality (Fa Xun). Qiao Zhou (201-270) was a scholar and official of the Three Kingdoms Period.
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