The foreign ministers of the BRICS nations—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—will head to Beijing today for a two day summit. China, which currently holds the bloc’s rotating presidency, is expected to reveal its agenda for the September summit in Xiamen.
This is the first time that the BRICS foreign ministers have met ahead of an annual summit, allowing the five emerging economies to have greater cohesion in shaping the agenda. It comes as the bloc is strengthening economically after a period of slow growth, particularly in Russia and Brazil, both of which recently posted their first quarters of growth in two years.
But China is undoubtedly the dominant player in the bloc; it accounts for two thirds of its combined GDP and eight of its ten largest stocks. That position could influence internal disputes—such as India’s boycott of last month’s Belt and Road forum.
When China puts forward its agenda at today’s meeting it could use the bloc’s internal and external economic links to assert itself as a champion of global markets and trade—a role China has claimed as Donald Trump’s America looks inward.
Nicholas is an Italian politics aficionado. Nick brings his knowledge of southern Europe to bear in The Daily Brief team, where he serves as a senior analyst and editor.