Building with BRICS and BEAMS: A Constructivist Approach to Global Economic Architecture
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The stark realities of the world descending into a vortex of sanctions and protectionism have already given rise to a number of initiatives in the developing world targeting the creation of alternative institutions and integration groupings that would to some degree provide for additional venues for openness and liberalization across the developing world. Some of the key initiatives in this area included the launching of the BRICS+ format by China at the BRICS summit and its further development by South Africa during its chairmanship in BRICS in 2018.

These innovative approaches to economic integration increasingly point to a more active cooperation among not just the largest economies of the Global South but also the largest regional integration blocks led by BRICS economies. A potential megablock that brings together these regional integration arrangements denoted as BEAMS (BIMSTEC1, EAEU2, AU3, MERCOSUR4, and SCO5 – all on the basis of previous outreach undertakings by BRICS countries) could form the basis for the first megablock of the developing world that would have enough weight to provide a counterweight to other competing megaprojects such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).