BRASILIA, Brazil, April 15 (UPI) -- Leaders of Brazil, India, Russia and China gathered in the Brazilian capital Thursday to advance talks for what the four nations see as a multipolar world -- interdependent but largely away from a Western umbrella.
The leaders of the four major economies grouped under the BRIC banner will be talking about alternatives to the U.S. dollar as a global reserve currency, their own respective roles in the world economy and greater say in whatever evolves as a new economic order on the ruins of the 2008 economic meltdown.
Brazil and India also want their economic presence reflected in permanent membership of the U.N. Security Council, where China and Russia already have permanent seats.
BRIC nations represent about 40 percent of the world's population and 20 percent of global economic output but, as a group, they are just beginning to flex their muscle, after the first summit of the four in Russia last year.
Other major emerging economies, such as South Korea and South Africa, are watching the group's rise with interest, as are oil-producing countries that include some of the world's biggest spenders with the least political leverage.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is playing host to Chinese President Hu Jintao, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. South African President Jacob Zuma is also attending.
At the first BRIC summit in 2009 in Russia, BRIC leaders advanced their own recipes for a global economic overhaul that included finding alternatives to the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency.
The Obama administration's attention is focused on Chinese moves on the yuan, which is pegged to the dollar and is crucial to keeping China's exports attractive for the rest of the world.
Economists attending a BRIC seminar in Brasilia said trade between the four countries helped to stabilize their economies amid a continuing global economic downturn.
The speakers cited figures to show that trade among the four nations continued to grow as global trade shrank in volume, the Xinhua Chinese news agency reported.
Biswat Dhar of the Indian Research and Investigation Center said the "BRIC countries have put the crisis behind them." The need now, he added, was to find more "export synergies to increase trade engagement."
During the nine years ending 2008, trade within the four-nation group grew nine-fold, while global trade only doubled, said Zhang Yuyang, professor of international economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"Even so, trade between the BRICs has substantial room to develop," Zhang said.