Before the Eighth BRICS Summit, Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov gave a written interview to Beijing Review, sharing his opinions on the achievements and development prospects of the BRICS mechanism. Edited excerpts follow:
Beijing Review: Leaders of the BRICS countries have held seven summits before. What do you think about the outcomes of previous summits? And what goals have been achieved up to now? In what aspects should the BRICS mechanism improve in the future?
Andrey Denisov: The BRICS mechanism has been a kind of economic bloc since it was officially established. Obviously, the most important aspect is about economic cooperation. With concerted efforts from all parties, based on agreements reached in previous BRICS summits, the New Development Bank (NDB) has become operational and the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement has been established. Besides, within the BRICS framework there have been regular meetings between heads of various government departments and between experts in different sectors. The BRICS Business Council was established in 2013 and many forums with various themes have been organized. Meanwhile, the BRICS countries continue to enhance coordination on political issues, environmental protection, as well as many other global challenges and threats. Not long ago, the BRICS Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism was established in New Delhi, India.
India assumes the presidency of the BRICS from Russia this year. We place high hopes on India and expect further progress when the presidency of BRICS rotates to China in 2017. We hope China can ensure the continuity of the BRICS agenda and make new constructive proposals.
I think the BRICS members should expand their cooperation, which already contains huge potential, to more fields in future. At present, the countries should work together to implement previously reached agreements and gain experience from this cooperation.
The NDB is taken as a major achievement and has roused wide attention from the international community. How do you evaluate its work and role? What suggestions do you have for it?
Though it just came into operation half a year ago, the NDB has already made some remarkable achievements. It has unveiled the first batch of investment projects, with a combined value of $911 million. The huge sum of money will be used to build and upgrade environmental protection facilities in the BRICS countries.
At the beginning of this year, the bank was given the highest possible AAA credit rating. In July, it issued 3 billion yuan ($450 million) worth of five-year green bonds with a nominal interest rate of 3.07 percent on the China Interbank Bond Market, which was met with great popularity. The total subscription for the bonds exceeded 9 billion yuan ($1.35 billion), and more than 30 investors participated in the bidding. The NDB has become the first international financial institution to issue green bonds in the global capital market.
We hope the bank can maintain its development momentum and further strengthen economic and trade cooperation among the BRICS countries. We believe the bank will play a larger role in the international financial arena by gradually entering the capital markets of other BRICS countries. Beyond that, reinforcing cooperation with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank can also significantly promote the bank's development.
At the BRICS Leaders' Informal Meeting held on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in China in early September, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the BRICS should strengthen coordination and enhance the influence of emerging markets and developing economies in international affairs. How should the BRICS realize the proposal?
The BRICS mechanism can not only provide a platform for its members to solve their internal problems and to develop multilateral economic cooperation, but it can also enhance their impact in evolving the global economic governance system.
It has become a convention for the leaders of Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa to hold informal meetings at representative economic forums such as the G20 Summit. Such meetings enable the countries to coordinate positions and reach a consensus on the agenda of corresponding events.
The BRICS has become a more efficient platform year by year. Members can make consultations on significant political and security issues via the platform. By this, they reach consensus on global and regional political issues. It has become the norm for the BRICS countries to take a unified position at the UN General Assembly and other international occasions. Moreover, cooperation within the BRICS has been further strengthened in cultural and social fields. Non-governmental exchanges among the BRICS countries continually expand, not only drawing distant countries closer, but also promoting friendship among their people. This sets up a solid foundation for forging closer links between the five members.
During Russia's tenure of the rotating presidency, a high level of integration in the BRICS has been established. Russia will continue to contribute to strengthening the cooperation, promote the building of a fair international economic governance system with other member countries, and increase the influence of the BRICS on the international stage.
Copyedited by Dominic James Madar
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