21 Nov 2023 16:43

BRICS countries should agree on rules of game 'for the five' before expanding organization - RSPP head Shokhin

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) - The BRICS countries have not yet sufficiently formed a common economic policy, whose most important element should be a new monetary and financial system, in order to accept new countries into the organization, Alexander Shokhin, head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), said on Tuesday.

"Considering BRICS as such an alternative [to the Western model of the global economy], to be honest, my personal opinion is that we have not succeeded in rendering BRICS an effective mechanism for forming new rules of global trade, payment and settlement relations, an alternative financial system, and so on, in order to have begun to engage in expansion," Shokhin said at the plenary session of the International Financial University Forum.

"For me, it would be better for the five [countries] to develop the rules of the game, and to incorporate new members as members joining not the organization, but the rules of the game," Shokhin added.

Shokhin noted that the process to come to a consensus is difficult even with the current BRICS composition, "Even when talking about the interests of India and China in creating an alternative monetary and financial system, we see that this is not an easy matter". In addition, it will be even more difficult to form common rules with such participants as Iran or Ethiopia.

"With the presence of Ethiopia, for example, Iran and a number of other countries, of course, it will be rather difficult to do [to develop new 'rules of the game']. In fact, it would be good for us to have Indonesia as a member of BRICS, because Indonesia is one of the examples of a growing economy, based on a combination of the old principles of inexpensive labor resources and technological progress, based, among other matters, on the latest technological solutions, including robotics, artificial intelligence, and so on," Shokhin said, describing the preferred vector to expand BRICS.

Shokhin illustrated possible instability in decision-making on the part of new, potential BRICS members with the example of Argentina, where a new president, Javier Gerardo Milei, who opposes entry of the country that he represents into the international association, came to power this weekend. "Expansion? Well, let us take Argentina. Relatively speaking, two days ago, Argentina was declared as a new member, meaning that it could become a new member as of January 1. We now understand that there is a reversal, as [German Foreign Minister] Annalena Baerbock would say, 360 degrees - actually 180," Shokhin said.

"It seems to me that our BRICS chairmanship should be aimed at trying to make maximum progress in forming the rules of the game within the organization, so that alternative systems could be proposed; and above all, of course, an alternative monetary and financial system, as well as a payment and settlement system," Shokhin said, summarizing his position regarding the tasks facing BRICS.

As reported, the BRICS member countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in August decided to invite Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to become full members of the organization as of January 1, 2024. The BRICS chairmanship passes from South Africa to Russia starting next year.