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BRICS: the role of Brazil in this group.
Dr. Édison Freitas de Siqueira

On the 13th of April, 2011, in Sanya, chinese island of Hainan, was held the most recent meeting of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) members. Among many subjects approached in the meeting, two are of extreme relevance: the creation of a basket of currencies to replace the U.S. currency trades made by the group and the introduction of more transparent international rules, in order to avoid crisis, like the one in 2008. What’s Brazil’s relevance in such discussions?

In 2010 Brazil reached a GDP of U$ 2,19 trillion. This number is not only surprising because it's almost equal to coutries such as France, that even having only 6,34% of the Brazilian territory, has GDP of U$ 2,16 trillion. The same happens when talking about the United Kingdom, that has only 2,84% of the size of Brazilian territory, has a GDP of U$ 2,189 trillion. And, are infinitely more productive than Brazil. The USA, for example, that has a territory just as big as Brazil,has a GDP of U$ 14,7 trillion, that is 7 times bigger than Brazil's, even in a post-crisis period. China, in the other hand, has a GDP of U$ 5,88 trillion. Tiny Japan's GDP is U$ 4,33 trillion, India's is U$ 4,04 trillion, Germany's is U$ 2,96 trillion and Russia's GDP is of U$ 2,22 trillion. Preserving the proportions inside global economy, Brazil's GDP seems very modest, even though promising. For that reason, the inset of Brazil as an international player must always be looked at carefully.

Let’s take a closer look: in 2010 Brazil reached a growth rate of 7,5% per year, we can't forget that in 2009, growth rate was of 0,64% negative. That being, between 2009 and 2011, the average growth kept being the eternal 3,5% per year, rate way lower than the one reached in the BRICS.  Brazilian population is of 190 million, with a territory of 8,6 million km². The minimum wage is U$ 342,77, and the per capita income in 2010 was of U$ 10.900, that is 109th place in world ranking, behind Argentina, who is in the 76th  with U$ 14.700, also behind Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica, for example. That means, Brazil's economical potential is limited. Five are the possible reasons for such stagnation:  Lack of investment in infrastructure and education;  Legal in certainty, the legal decisions and laws in Brazil are not stable nor show Governmental patronage; High and complex tax burden; Social cost and job creation adds up to 100% of salary; High levels of corruption.

Even with that, Brazil is seen as an important player in the market. Certainly, this is also true because the global economic needs some good news out of the crisis of 2008, and also take the focus debts from Spain, Greece and Portugal. Therefore the pre-salt reserves are important because they indicate that Brazil, even though it continues with a weak industry still grows. All it will be needed is to know how to export petroleum like Libya, Iran and Venezuela do. The exploitation of such reserves to all interest, because it stops petroleum price in the international market from going to high.


On the other hand, Brazilian population overcomes the expectations not reached by its Government. The lust for consumption and low value of some goods led to 98% of Brazilians to have cell phones and almost 60% to have personal computers. In other words, it's a market equal to Mexico's population, where 100% of the time receive education and information that makes them potential and eager consumers worldwide. Only in the USA, China, Japan and India, there are so many Internet users, coincidence or not, are now the largest savings in the planet.


That being, it’s possible to foresee Brazil as the player of the future, since the quality of the Brazilian population will push its own Government, which, in the end, will be forced to accept overall management formulas, correcting the distortions caused by high levels of corruption that contaminates their institutions.

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