Ambassador Anatoly Antonov’s answers to media questions regarding BRICS conference in Washington, DC

On May 17 the VI Annual Conference “Doing Business with the BRICS” concluded in Washington. Could you tell us about it?

This Forum organized by an American NGO “Eurasia Center” was founded back in 2013 with support from the Russian Embassy in the U.S. Since then it has established a reputation as the main Washington conference on the BRICS. It is primarily oriented on business and expert communities. Members of diplomatic missions and academic circles from all countries of “the Five” traditionally partake in the event.

In my opinion, the conference gives the U.S. public a unique opportunity to get first-hand information on strategic partnership of the BRICS, on the progress that has been achieved by our alliance in every closely intertwined direction of the pentalateral cooperation - political, economic and social. Not  to mention that it is all done jointly and in a constructive way by all embassies of the BRICS countries.

During the conference representatives of Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa also discussed the situation in national economies.

Every country of “the Five” is an indisputable economic leader it their regions. Industrial and, more importantly, innovational potential of the BRICS countries keeps growing - they successfully compete with the most developed international players in manufacturing many types of high-tech products. It is also being noticed by international financial institutions. For instance, the World Bank gave Russia 35th spot in the Doing Business 2018 rating, ahead of other alliance partners - the Bank’s representatives discussed this issue during the forum.
What significance does Russia attach to its BRICS membership?

Deeper strategic partnership in BRICS is one of the priorities of Russia’s foreign policy. Over the recent years the alliance has “matured” turning into a full-scale mechanism of cooperation. Two summits of the BRICS leaders are held each year - the main one taking place on the sidelines of the “G20” conferences, over 20 meetings on the ministerial level, more than 100 events gathering specialists and experts. A broad framework of specialized partnership has been established, contacts and dialogue between the governments, business circles, scientists and members of the civil society.
We closely interact within the pentalateral format in international organizations - the UN, WTO, IMF and others. We coordinate our steps on pressing issues of international agenda, on combating terrorism and drugs, international information security.

The establishment of the New Development Bank by BRICS countries and a 200 billion dollar Reserve Currency Pool has become momentous for reforming the outdated global financial system, dominated by the Western countries.

I would like to note that the core philosophy of the alliance implies openness. More and more countries show interest to the activities of “the Five”, to the mechanisms the BRICS develops and its institutions. The “BRICS-plus” concept that was adopted during the last year’s summit in Xiamen facilitates it. It is aimed at establishing “outer circles” of the friends to “the Five”, creation of a dialogue venue for regional integration unions of states with emerging and developing economies from different parts of the world.

What are your expectations from the XX BRICS Summit that will take place on July 25-27 in Johannesburg?

I am certain that the anniversary BRICS summit will prove to be quite fruitful. Today, under the chairmanship of our South-African friends, the preparations for the summit are fully underway. In the spotlight - announcement and beginning of new projects of cooperation aimed at prosperity growth and better living conditions for our citizens.
A lot of interesting goals are being set for “the Five”, for instance, to use the benefits of the Fourth industrial revolution. It coincides with our efforts to adopt digital economy.
Meanwhile, a series of important ideas are being considered on increasing pentalateral cooperation in peacekeeping, using the vastly rich tourism potential of our countries, joint production of vaccines. We expect that our leaders will adopt Russian proposals during their meeting to establish Energy Research Cooperation Platform and a BRICS Business Women Alliance, as well as to increase pentalateral cooperation in international information security.

Important steps in preparation for the Johannesburg summit will be the meeting between BRICS foreign ministers on June 4 in Pretoria and the conference of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues on June 28-29 in Durban. During these events the parties with discuss the most pressing issues of international agenda and current global challenges.