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BRICS foreign ministers to meet in Brazil as internal tensions persist

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BRICS foreign ministers to meet in Brazil as internal tensions persist

brics foreign ministers
Photo: Tyrone Siu/ Reuters

Today, foreign ministers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa gather in Rio de Janeiro to discuss political coordination within the BRICS framework.

The five foreign ministers meet annually ahead of the BRICS Leaders’ Summit, which will take place in Brasilia this November. BRICS leaders last met on the sidelines of the Osaka G20 Summit last month, releasing a joint statement reaffirming support for international cooperation in political, economic and security arenas. This statement was especially timely considering deliberations on the US-China trade war and growing economic protectionism.

Little tangible policy is expected to come from meetings of BRICS ministers or leaders, given substantial differences between the developing nations, contentious Sino-Indian relations and fluctuating economic situations. However, the bloc’s large shares of world population and GDP—approximately 40% and 30%, respectively—mean that any statements or decisions from the group will be watched closely.

Expect foreign ministers to reiterate their support for strengthening economic cooperation today. Though lacking in details, an ideological consensus on multilateralism and free trade would bolster support for an end to the volatility of China’s trade war with the US. Such a position could also set higher expectations for future negotiations in the bloc, potentially paving the way for a free trade deal in the long-term, though roadblocks, like rivalry between China and India, certainly remain.

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