BRICS Consider Independent Grain Trading Exchange

Russia has ambitious plans for the BRICS Plus in the course of its chairmanship of the group in 2024, as presented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the April 16 meeting of the United Russia Party in Moscow. Efforts, he said, will be focused on three main areas: “politics and security, the economy and finance, and cultural and humanitarian contacts”. Moreover, special attention will be given to the “harmonious integration” of the five countries that joined on January 1 (Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates).

In addition to seeking a reasonable alternative to the Western financial system, agriculture is a major concern of the member countries. Thus at the inaugural meeting of the BRICS working group on agriculture, which was held via video conference in early March, Russia presented a proposal for creation of a grain trading platform for the group, which was reportedly well received. The initiative for such an exchange was first proposed by the Union of Grain Exporters.

In a letter sent to the Russian Agriculture Ministry, the Union pointed out that the BRICS members are key participants in the global grain market, but “cannot fully participate in the formation of prices for economically fundamental and food security-essential products such as wheat, barley and corn, world prices for which are formed, and often manipulated, in third countries”, meaning mainly the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The main currency used for clearing transactions is the U.S. dollar.

At the April 16 meeting in Moscow, Lavrov also pointed to the importance of “enhancing the role of the BRICS states in the currency, financial and trade systems, developing interbank cooperation, expanding the use of their national currencies in mutual trade…” He emphasized that not everyone is happy with such initiatives from the BRICS, as they will eventually jeopardize the “mechanisms of globalization” now controlled by the West.

The danger for other countries of dependency on the collapsing Western financial system was succinctly pointed out by the Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin, also on April 16, on his Telegram channel. He argued that the blowout of the U.S. debt bubble was the immediate cause of all of the West’s wars of aggression around the world. “To maintain its hegemony, they started a war in Ukraine and sacrificed the economy of the European Union. But that is not enough. Today they are again provoking military escalation, now in the Middle East. Washington will continue to create more and more military conflicts, trying to delay the default.”

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