Two new countries – Iran and Argentina – have applied to join the increasingly influential BRICS – Brazi, Russia, India, China and South Africa – grouping. The most recent BRICS meeting was held last week (via video conference) with China as the host country and the next is scheduled to take place in South Africa next year. China has by far the largest economy in the BRICS grouping, accounting for more than 70 of the group’s collective 27.5 trillion US dollars in economic might. India accounts for about 13 per cent, with Russia and Brazil each accounting for about seven per cent. BRICS account for more than 40 per cent of the world’s population and about 26 per cent of the global economy. The term BRIC was coined by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill in 2001 to describe the startling rise of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The BRIC powers had their first summit in 2009 in Russia. South Africa joined in 2010.