He said that over the past decade, China’s trade with other BRICS countries had grown by 11.5 times compared to a mere doubling of China’s trade with the rest of the world.
“China is currently the biggest two-way trading partner for Brazil, Russia and South Africa and China’s investment in these countries had grown from almost nil 10 years ago to over $50-billion,” Zhou said.
He said the current challenge to BRICS economies were more of a temporary than long-term nature. If the BRICS countries pressed ahead with economic restructuring and reform they would remain some of the most dynamic economies in the world.
Professor Marcus Troyjo, director of BRICLab at Columbia University, said that at the current rate of 7% growth China would become the world’s largest economy in 2023. That would be the biggest event in the global economy since 1871 when the United States overtook Britain as the world’s largest economy.
He said that the world economy had moved from a period of intense globalisation to one of de-globalisation which was about each country pursuing its own interests. It was now moving into a period of re-globalisation which would present new challenges for the developing economies and they would need to adjust to the new reality.
Roberto Jaguaribe, Brazilian ambassador to the UK, said that Brazil had welcomed South Africa joining the group and filling a clear gap in its ranks with no representation of Africa.
He said the BRICS group was an effective forum for promoting global growth and for driving political association and it provided an dynamic platform for convergence and complementarity.