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Articles of International Relations


Articles of International Relations

BRICS REGIONS GO GLOBAL: THE SUBNATIONAL DIMENSION OF THE EMERGING COUNTRIES Jean Lima Ironildes Bueno INTRODUCTION Penayuts Soldatos (1990) believed that the international engagement of non-central governments was a practice found particularly in the developed countries. However, this interpretation has been superseded by subsequent studies of Michael Keating (2000, 2004) and Noé Cornago (1999, 2000). They both have indicated the existence of a certain level of international engagement by the regional and local governments in the developing countries. This article reinforces Keating and Cornago approach and aims to analyze the situation of contemporary international activity among some of the most dynamic emerging countries; those gathered in the acronym BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The central argument of the article is that the international involvement of non-central governments is in fact an important feature of BRICS international politics, even though this involvement shows different levels of engagement and of institutionalization. Some of these subnational regions face challenges when they try to keep relations abroad, mainly in countries where the paradiplomacy’s benefits are not a unanimous idea or spread knowledge. The article is divided into two parts. First, it’s performed an overview on the international activities of the regional governments in each BRICS countries: the Brazilian and Indian states, Chinese and South Africa provinces, and Russian republics & oblasts. Second, it highlights the similarities and differences between the international activities of the subnational governments (SNGs) aforementioned, and the association of such activity with the post-Cold War international system. THE GENERAL SITUATION OF BRICS REGIONS’ INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITY Brazil Some Brazilian states have reached a reasonable level of international engagement. However, their international activity presents operational difficulties expressed by three specific factors: low level of both interstate and state government/central government cooperation, low level of accountability, and the discontinuity of agencies and programs focused on the international affairs. Operational difficulties relating to cooperation between the state and federal governments are, largely, mainly determined by the absence of formal mechanisms to ensure representation of the states in the main body of trade policy of Brazil (Chamber of Foreign Trade – “CAMEX”) and by the almost nonexistent flow of information and cooperation between the Brazilian Agency for Export Promotion (APEX-Brazil) and state programs counterparts. Concerned to issues of accountability, the operability of Brazilian states is characterized by a low level of transparency and monitoring of international activities of the federation’s states, especially concerning the budget, expenditures and international engagement activities by leaders and organs of states’ governments. Finally, the continuity problems are expressed by dismantling episodes occurred not only in transitions of government, but also in the course of a single authority.

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BRICS REGIONS GO GLOBAL: THE SUBNATIONAL DIMENSION OF THE EMERGING COUNTRIES


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