New Institutions on the Block

The BRICS Financial Institutions and the Roles of Brazil and China

  • Fernanda de Castro Brandão Martins


The rise of emerging markets and the creation of the BRICS group point to changes in international governance. This paper takes into account the initiatives that have emerged within the BRICS grouping regarding global financial governance, and considers the possible impact of these institutions. Brazil and China are very different countries, even though both are part of the BRICS and share common interests regarding the promotion of development and greater influence for developing countries over decision-making processes. In this sense, this paper differentiates China’s and Brazil’s positions in relation to the new financial institutions, in order to assess how each might influence them and benefit from them. We argue that China will most likely benefit the most from these new institutions and have increasing influence over them, while Brazil will most likely have a more marginal role due to recent domestic developments that have shifted the country’s perception of priorities. Also, while China has a clear plan of engagement in international financial governance ranging from new sources of credit for development to the internationalization of its national currency to the detriment of the dollar, Brazil seems to not have such a clear agenda for its interests in international financial
governance besides increasing developing countries’ influences over decision-making processes. The new BRICS institutions present an important opportunity for the BRICS countries to change the rules of international financial governance. How much each member country will influence this process will depend on their engagement with these recently inaugurated institutions.

Research Article