3rd BRICS Summit Begins in China's Sanya

By Sarwar Kashani

Sanya (China), April 14 (IANS) China plays host Thursday to the 3rd BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit as leaders of the five emerging economies are meeting to discuss mutual trade ties and "fresh uncertainties" in West Asian and North African countries impacting energy supplies.

The leaders -- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, China's Hu Jintao, Brazil's Dilma Rousseff, Russia's Dmitry Medvedev and South Africa's Jacob Zuma -- will have a closed door consultation for about half of the day in this palm-dotted coastal city on the Chinese island of Hainan.

After discussing their concerns on the international situation, financial, development, climate and security issues and outline future cooperation, they will address a joint press conference in the afternoon.

The event is the third since the grouping was formed in 2009.

The summit however is expected to be dominated by the discussions on political issues like in Libya, Egypt and other countries in the region.

Barring South Africa - the new member of the grouping, the countries jointly abstained from voting at the UN Security Council on the use of force against Libya.

The grouping is significant because it is expected to have a healthy global presence in the future as the member-countries are fastest growing economies and are projected to contribute 48 percent to the global economy in the next decade.

At present the BRICS nations account for 40 percent of the global population and 20 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The term BRIC was coined in 2001 by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill to group together the four fast-rising economies - Brazil, Russia, India and China.

They are part of the G20, a grouping of the 20 major economies in the world. More, significantly, all the BRICS members are in the UN Security Council.

But the countries have differences to tackle with. For example, Brazil and India are not happy with China flooding their markets with cheap goods, sparking a concern about the trade imbalances.

In a meeting Wednesday between trade ministers of the member countries, China was asked by Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa to buy more of their value added products, with a particular reference to Indian pharmaceuticals.

China has agreed to address the trade deficit concerns as India and Brazil have also complained that the Chinese currency yuan was undervalued and therefore undermines their exports.

In dealing with India, the trade imbalance in favour of China had gone up to $20 billion in the overall bilateral trade of nearly $60 billion in 2010. In 2009, this was about $16 billion.


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