NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Brazil does not want to see the “BRICS” group of emerging countries enlarged for the time being, but does want the developing world to be given a greater say in international bodies, the country’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Antonio Patriota told Reuters in an interview that the BRICS grouping -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- was fine as it was, brushing off a suggestion Indonesia may be admitted to the club.
“I think our own preference would be to consolidate the BRICS’ brand with its current membership,” he said, speaking on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
“We would rather consolidate the current composition of BRICS and maybe engage as ‘BRICS plus’ with additional partners,” Patriota added, on the sidelines of a meeting of Southeast Asian nations, attended by Brazil for the first time to sign a co-operation agreement with ASEAN.
This “is not to say that we are ascribing any lesser importance to our relationship with Indonesia and the ASEAN countries that share, in addition to a similar degree of economic development and similar challenges, many other characteristics.”
South Africa was admitted to the group earlier this year at a BRICS summit in China. Other countries which economists and diplomats have mentioned as future members include Mexico and Turkey.
The BRICS, who represent around one-fifth of the world’s economy, have emerged as a powerful new voice in the world, at least on economic issues, though have shown less ability to coordinate on trickier diplomatic matters like Libya.
Brazilian officials have stated that with the rising influence and economic clout of developing nations, they should also be given a bigger say in institutions such as the International Monetary Fund.
Patriota said the financial crisis battering Europe showed that the emerging world’s time was now.
“I think we are experiencing truly tectonic changes when it comes to the configuration of power internationally. These changes were accelerated by the 2008 economic crisis, and now a second wave with the European crisis and its impact on the world economy,” he said.
“It has become clear that the engines for growth and dynamism in the world economy have been economies that share some common traits; they still have large segments that are underdeveloped or that live in poverty, but at the same time they have demonstrated a capacity to generate high levels of growth, expanding markets, technological advance,” Patriota added.
“So it’s natural that these new players assume greater responsibilities and take up a bigger share of the decision-making power. For our own part this may be the first time in our history where we have truly global influence,” he said.
“You will see Brazil active on the world stage, ready to assume its responsibilities.”
Editing by Neil Fullick