04/14/2011, 00.00
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BRICS challenging Western economic and political governance over the world

They want a reshuffle in leadership positions at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, as well as a broad reform of the United Nations to reduce volatility in trade. The five BRICS nations want to assert their new international role against the traditional place occupied by Europe and the United States.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The five-member BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), meeting for their first summit a Sanya (on China’s Hainan Island), want to push the US and Europe to end their monopoly on leadership positions at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. BRICS leaders also said that violence should be avoided in the managing the crises in Libya and Arab nations, clearly aiming their criticism at the NATO air campaign in Libya even though it was not openly named.

“We will insist on the fact that governance at the IMF and the World Bank cannot be a systematic rotation between the US and Europe, with the other countries excluded,” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said in Beijing on Tuesday.

Sources told Bloomberg that BRICS leaders agreed to demand that the governance of these international institutions reflect the new balance of power in the world economy.

The five BRICS nations (South Africa just joined) represent 40 per cent of the world's population and account for 18 per cent of the world’s combined Gross Domestic Product.

In 2010, their foreign currency reserves stood at US$ 3.93 trillion, more than a third of the global total.

The five nations also called for “comprehensive reform” of the United Nations, including the Security Council, “with a view to making it more effective, efficient and representative”.

They criticised excessively volatile commodity prices like food and fuel, which poses a threat to the global economic recovery, and called for greater “regulation of derivatives markets for commodities” to stop rising prices.

However, these emerging economies are not all in synch; their interests often do not coincide. For instance, Brazil is among the countries calling on China to revalue its currency, artificially kept low to favour Chinese exports.

Other countries have also asked China to open its markets to foreign products, from Indian drugs to Brazilian planes.

Brasilia has enact 29 anti-dumping measures aimed at Chinese-made goods.

At the same time, the five nations yesterday agreed to push for Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organisation.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called on Chinese President Hu Jintao to reduce India’s trade deficit with China by boosting imports of Indian information technology and pharmaceutical products.

BRICS nations are also trying to increase bilateral relations. Today, Beijing and New Delhi agreed to re-establish military ties and settle their respective territorial claims, which are outstanding since their 1962 war over disputed border regions.

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