Expansion of BRICS is a necessary step to overcome the unipolar world order. Writes Lucas Leiroz
A new step is being taken towards the expansion of the BRICS. Iran and Argentina asked this last week of June to join the group of emerging countries currently formed by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Beijing and Moscow, which are extremely affected by international sanctions, have recently invested heavily in promoting the group as an economic alternative to the West, which has significantly aroused the interest of other developing nations in this growing market. In fact, this expansion is a remarkable step towards economic multipolarity.
On June 27, Iran formally announced its application to join the BRICS. The measure comes after the country was invited to participate in the 14th BRICS summit, which took place in virtual format in China, on the 24th. In addition to Iran, attended the summit several emerging countries under similar conditions to the BRICS and that may be interested in asking membership in the future, such as Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Malaysia and Thailand.
“Iran’s unique geographical position and its capacities in the fields of energy, transit, and trade have caused the BRICS members to pay special attention to Iran, as a golden route to connect the East to the West (…) If Iran and other powerful countries join the grouping, it can be even stronger and challenge Western policies”, Iran’s state media Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) stated in a publication.
In 2021, Tehran had already been accepted to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), one of the most important blocks of political and commercial cooperation on the Asian continent and which includes three of the five members of the BRICS, sharing with the group its main objectives of integration among emerging nations. In addition, the country is also participating in some projects concerning China’s Belt and Road Initiative, consolidating itself as a partner of the platform. Now, with the request for membership to the BRICS, it is possible to see Iran’s interest in deepening a strategy of global cooperation among developing nations.
A few days earlier, Argentina had also requested membership in the BRICS. Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez claimed that by joining the BRICS his country could actively contribute to the group’s progress with its potential in sectors such as food exports, biotechnology, logistics and innovation.
“We aspire to be a full member of this group of nations that already represents 42% of the world’s population and 24% of the global gross product”, the leader said during the summit.
In fact, Argentina is currently highly interested in the BRICS market. For example, Buenos Aires is one of China’s biggest partners in the agro-industrial sector. The South American country not only exports large amounts of soybeans for the production of animal feed in China, but also receives Chinese companies that produce pork meat in Argentine territory, which has been fundamental for the development of the Chinese strategy of technological progress and internationalization of its agri-food sector. In this sense, joining the BRICS would be a natural consequence of Argentina’s economic interests and a major step in international status for the country that has the second largest economy in South America.
Obviously, the requests are yet to be fully analyzed, discussed, voted on and decided on, but so far there has been no explicit sign of disapproval of the calls by the BRICS member countries, which is an indication that the proposals are really welcome and has great potential for acceptance. In fact, it is of great interest to member countries to promote the expansion of the BRICS at this delicate moment on the international scenario, when the West intensifies its coercive measures against Russia and China, pushing them to seek alternatives markets in the developing world.
Not only would Iran and Argentina be interesting partners, but their membership could serve as a positive background for more developing countries and regional powers to apply for entry in the near future. The expansion of the BRICS in a moment of coercion on the part of the West shows that the project of a multipolar world is advancing. The group is increasingly moving from being a mere instrument of economic multilateralism to representing a multipolar force of cooperation. So, the tendency is for the group to bring together more and more countries, even if some of them have rivalry or friction, as it is in the BRICS’ agenda to establish a platform for cooperation between nations centered on political non-interventionism.
Above all, the interest of countries with promising economies in joining the BRICS serves as a message to the West saying that attempts to coerce and “cancel” other nations are obsolete tactics condemned to failure. Emerging states make it clear that we are in the era of non-ideological international cooperation.
Lucas Leiroz, researcher in Social Science sat the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.
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