The Fourth BRICS Summit concluded in India recently. I have blogged about BRICS earlier here.The result of the Summit was a declaration called the Delhi Declaration. References to the multilateral trading system and the WTO in the declaration are worth a look:
"15. Brazil, India, China and South Africa congratulate the Russian Federation on its accession to the WTO. This makes the WTO more representative and strengthens the rule-based multilateral trading system. We commit to working together to safeguard this system and urge other countries to resist all forms of trade protectionism and disguised restrictions on trade.
16. We will continue our efforts for the successful conclusion of the Doha Round, based on the progress made and in keeping with its mandate. Towards this end, we will explore outcomes in specific areas where progress is possible while preserving the centrality of development and within the overall framework of the single undertaking. We do not support plurilateral initiatives that go against the fundamental principles of transparency, inclusiveness and multilateralism. We believe that such initiatives not only distract members from striving for a collective outcome but also fail to address the development deficit inherited from previous negotiating rounds. Once the ratification process is completed, Russia intends to participate in an active and constructive manner for a balanced outcome of the Doha Round that will help strengthen and develop the multilateral trade system.
17. Considering UNCTAD to be the focal point in the UN system for the treatment of trade and development issues, we intend to invest in improving its traditional activities of consensus-building, technical cooperation and research on issues of economic development and trade. We reiterate our willingness to actively contribute to the achievement of a successful UNCTAD XIII, in April 2012.18. We agree to build upon our synergies and to work together to intensify trade and investment flows among our countries to advance our respective industrial development and employment objectives.We welcome the outcomes of the second Meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers held in New Delhi on 28 March 2012. We support the regular consultations amongst our Trade Ministers and consider taking suitable measures to facilitate further consolidation of our trade and economic ties..."
Several interesting policy statements in this declaration:
1. All forms of "protectionism" and disguised restrictions on trade resisted - This is good news for the multilateral system but this would also require Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to shun all forms of protectionism and disguised restrictions.
2. Continue efforts for successful completion of the Doha round - Mere rhetoric or achievable?
3. Against plurilateral efforts via a vis multilateral efforts at trade negotiations - Again, good news for multilateral trade, but realities indicate that plurilateralism is increasingly becoming mainstay.
The positives of the declaration vis a vis the WTO regime is a re-affirmation in the principles of multilateral trade and institutional mechanisms supporting it. How much this would translate into reality and action, only time will tell.