Tralac Trade Brief No. S13TB05/2013, August 2013
In recent years there has been much discussion in the global media and in trade policy circles about the rise of emerging economies and the impact this phenomenon is having on the global economy. An important element in this discourse has been the emergence of new forms of South-South cooperation, reflected most notably in the growing importance of South-South trade and investment flows and the increasing prominence of various loose alliances and coalitions of large developing and emerging economies, such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) grouping and the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA Forum).
The emergence of these alliances and coalitions is important from a trade perspective, as they are likely to play a significant role in shaping future patterns of global trade and investment flows. In addition, large emerging economies are increasingly using these alliances and coalitions as platforms from which to influence the multilateral trade governance agenda. Indeed, in a speech given last year, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy made note of the ‘emergence of some developing countries as key players and as real contributors to global dialogue on trade’ as well as the fact that these emerging powers could no longer be considered ‘policy takers’ in international organisations. It is therefore important to understand what these emerging economies seek to achieve through the multilateral agenda, and how they are cooperating with one another in order to attain these goals. While significant attention has been paid in recent time to the BRICS, this paper seeks to examine the ten-year-old IBSA Forum, and, in particular, to provide a detailed analysis of IBSA cooperation on trade-related issues.
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