For the five members of BRICS, if the first 10 years were about cooperation, the next decade will be about deepening those ties and shaping their direction, Arancha Gonzalez, executive director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), has said.[Special coverage]
In an interview with Xinhua before the ninth BRICS Summit to be held in the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen on Sept. 3-5 with a theme of "Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future," Gonzalez said BRICS' success lies in its ability to foster cooperation between its members -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
"The most important achievement of BRICS is that they have been able to build the coalition of countries, develop it and keep it together," she said.
The initial work was centered on learning to work together, focusing on boosting the economy, and building consensuses among the five countries that account for 40 percent of the world's population and 23 percent of its gross domestic product, Gonzalez said.
"The first years were about setting the foundations," said the ITC head. "The next 10 years have to be about deepening the foundation, and they have to deepen this cooperation in two different directions."
During the first 10 years, "the potential that exists within the BRICS group" was fully explored, she said.
"If we look at trade, the potential is enormous, but the trade figures are rather low and the investment figures are low, too. They need to deepen their own intra-BRICS relationship in trade, in investment, in innovation and in development," said Gonzalez.
In the second 10 years, they will throw "their weight to build a greater consensus internally on issues that matter," she said.
Gonzalez noted that BRICS countries are heterogeneous in their economies, saying they will "need to drill into very specific areas."
In 2001, China's GDP was equal to all the other members of BRICS combined and today it is two thirds of their GDP, she said.
Despite the difference, BRICS countries "have a desire to have a say in international affairs," she said, adding that all BRICS members need to overcome their weaknesses in economy to ensure a healthy economic growth in the bloc.
According to her, BRICS countries need to focus on domestic development as well as cooperation among themselves.
The role of BRICS in global governance is important as the group has both "economic and political clout," Gonzalez said.
This will especially be the case if the BRICS nations manage to do things together in areas of super-national dimensions, she added.