BRICS, BITs and Land Grabbing: Are South-South Relationships really Different?

43 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2012 Last revised: 13 Jul 2013

Tomaso Ferrando

University of Bristol Law School

Date Written: November 12, 2012


This Article looks critically at South-South relationships and at the idea that they represent a better alternative to North-South initiatives. It provides empirical data against the rhetoric that Brics are the representatives and interpreters of the long-standing aspirations of the South in global affairs, and try to challenge the image of the five paladins of the wretched of the earth who act against the Western hegemony. In particular, utilizing the case of foreign direct investments in land as the frame of reference, it looks at whether the Brics are involved in the current green rush, and how they are utilizing municipal and international law in order to access foreign land and foster their own economic interests. The conclusion, which is an invitation to further investigation, suggests that it is time to abandon the idea that Brics represent a homogeneous and coherent block of countries, and that, even more importantly, the expansion of capital via the extraction of peripheral natural resources is not exclusively a Northern prerogative.

Keywords: BRICS, south-south cooperation, land grabbing, bilateral investment treaties, sovereignty, investment contracts

JEL Classification: K33, O13

Suggested Citation

Ferrando, Tomaso, BRICS, BITs and Land Grabbing: Are South-South Relationships really Different? (November 12, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Tomaso Ferrando (Contact Author)

University of Bristol Law School ( email )

8 Priory Road
Bristol, BS8 1TZ
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views