Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 13.2020
2020.03.23 — 2020.03.29
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Xi Says China Ready to Help Brazil Fight COVID-19 (Си говорит, что Китай готов помочь Бразилии бороться с COVID-19) / China, March, 2020
Keywords: cooperation, covid-19

Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China stands ready to provide assistance within its capacity for Brazil's battle against COVID-19 and help contain the global spread of the coronavirus disease.

He made the remarks in a phone conversation with his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro.

On behalf of the Chinese government and people, Xi extended sincere sympathies and firm support to the Brazilian government and people over their fight against COVID-19.

Noting that the disease has recently broken out in many parts around the world and been spreading rapidly, Xi said the top priority now is for countries to strengthen cooperation.

Upholding the notion of a community with a shared future for mankind, and with an open, transparent and responsible attitude, China has been releasing epidemic information in a timely manner, said Xi.

China, he added, has also been sharing prevention, control and treatment experience with the World Health Organization and the international community without reservation, and doing its best to provide assistance for other parties.

Xi said he follows the outbreak in Brazil closely, and hopes that Brazil will arrest the epidemic's spread as soon as possible.

Noting that China and Latin American and Caribbean countries held a video conference on epidemic prevention and control on Tuesday, Xi said China is ready to provide assistance within its capacity for Brazil and contribute to curbing the global spread of the disease.

Xi stressed that the international community has already arrived at a consensus that China made enormous sacrifices in the fight against COVID-19 and bought precious time for the world.

As comprehensive strategic partners, he said, China and Brazil need to maintain strategic focus, support each other on their respective core interests and major concerns, and jointly send to the international community a message of solidarity and a positive signal that they are in the COVID-19 battle together.

Meanwhile, the two countries should push forward practical cooperation in various fields, enhance communication and coordination within such multilateral frameworks as the G20 and BRICS, and jointly safeguard and advance their comprehensive strategic partnership, Xi added.

The Chinese president said he is confident that China and Brazil will certainly beat the disease hand in hand and lift their all-round cooperation to higher levels.

For his part, Bolsonaro said that the COVID-19 epidemic is spreading in Brazil, and that the Brazilian side thanks China for facilitating its purchase of necessary medical supplies in China.

Brazil, he added, hopes to enhance exchanges on epidemic prevention and control with China, make joint efforts against the coronavirus disease, and contain its spread in Brazil as soon as possible.

The Brazilian president said he salutes the great Chinese people, reiterating that the friendship and the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries are indestructible.

Brazil stands ready to strengthen bilateral cooperation with China, and enhance communication and coordination within such multilateral frameworks as the G20, so as to make due contributions to combating the epidemic and reinvigorating the economy, he said.

China thanks India for help fighting virus, says country could win COVID-19 battle early (Китай благодарит Индию за помощь в борьбе с вирусом и заявляет, что страна может выиграть битву COVID-19 раньше) / India, March, 2020
Keywords: cooperation, covid-19

China on Wednesday said India might win its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic at an earlier date. In a statement issued by the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, Counselor Ji Rong said, "We believe that the Indian people will win the battle at an early date. China will continue to fight the epidemic together with India and other countries, enhance cooperation in multilateral platforms such as G20 and BRICS, contribute our wisdom and strength to better address the global challenges and promote the health and well-being of all mankind."

The statement also thanked India for its support to fight the virus in China. India sent about 15 tonnes of medical assistance comprising masks, gloves and emergency medical equipment to the coronavirus-hit Wuhan city. Over 3,200 people have died and around 81,000 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus in China so far.

Ji Rong expressed appreciation for that on the behalf of her government and added that her country is ready to provide further support to India in the fight to win the battle.

"Chinese enterprises have started to make donations to India. We stand ready to provide further support and assistance to the best of our capability in light of the needs of the Indian side".

Jo ring also added that the Chinese government has shared its experience in epidemic prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment since the beginning of the outbreak.

On Tuesday, Beijing reached out to India for support to counter the US' attempt to pin blame on China for failing to warn the world early on about the virus and to detect and stop the coronavirus.

US officials like Mike Pence and Donald Trump have been calling the coronavirus the 'Chinese virus' and both nations had been locked in a blame-game over the cause of the virus outbreak, with China foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian suggesting that 'patient zero' of the pandemic might have come from the US. While US troops took part in Military World Games in October 2019, hosted at Wuhan, the virus was first reported from Wuhan in December 2019.

Two days ahead of the virtual G20 summit, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone discussion with Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs S. Jaishankar. Post the discussion, China's Ambassador to India Sun Weidong posted on Twitter, "Wang Yi said [it is] not acceptable and detrimental to international cooperation to label the virus and stigmatize China, hope India [opposes] such narrow mindset."

"Dr Jaishankar agreed not to label the virus and the international community should send (a) strong signal of solidarity," he added.

Modi, Putin resolve to jointly fight COVID-19 pandemic (Моди и Путин решили совместно бороться с пандемией COVID-19) / China, March, 2020
Keywords: cooperation, vladimir_putin, narendra_modi, covid-19

NEW DELHI - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the global situation in the context of emerging COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday night over phone, said an official statement issued by India's Ministry of External Affairs.

The two leaders agreed on further consultation and cooperation in adequately addressing all challenges faced by this major global crisis, including those pertaining to health, medicine, scientific research, humanitarian matters and impact on global economy.

They stressed the significance of international cooperation for jointly fighting COVID-19, including within the framework of G20, according to the ministry statement.

The two leaders also agreed to continue their close cooperation for maintaining the excellent momentum and the warm of the cordial and time-tested bilateral relations.

They reiterated that they looked forward to several opportunities for their interaction in person during the course of the year.

The Indian PM appreciated the cooperation of Russian authorities in ensuring well-being of Indian students in Russia and hoped that the same would continue. Putin assured all help in this regard.

On the occasion, Modi told Putin that Indian authorities concerned would continue to facilitate in all possible manner the efforts for ensuring the well-being and organised return of Russian nationals, when required, in India.

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Modelling coal rent, economic growth and CO2 emissions: Does regulatory quality matter in BRICS economies? (Моделирование ренты угля, экономического роста и выбросов CO2: имеет ли значение качество регулирования в экономиках БРИКС?) / Brazil, March, 2020
Keywords: economic_challenges, ecology, research


  • BRICS economies were investigated on coal rent, economic growth and CO2 emissions.
  • Unlike coal consumption, an increase in coal rents does not increase CO2 emissions in BRICS countries.
  • Energy diversification in BRICS economies can abate global dwindling energy market.
  • Environmental sustainability is achieved by decoupling CO2 from GDP in BRICS economies.


Global warming issues have been on the front burner of most economies and Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa countries (BRICS) are no exception. The region has joined the rest of the world on the global strides to mitigate against global warming in terms of decoupling carbon dioxide emissions from economic growth. This is the motivation for the present study to consider the interaction between economic growth, pollutant emissions, coal rent while accounting for the role of other covariates like regulatory quality. The study is conducted in a balanced panel setting over annual frequency data from 1990 to 2014. To this end, Pooled mean group with dynamic autoregressive distributed lag [PMG-ARDL (1,1,1,1,1)] was conducted to explore the coal-rents-energy nexus. The empirical study shows that for BRICS countries, unlike coal consumption, coal rents have a significant but negative impact on CO2 emissions. Also, in contrast to expectation, regulations on coal rents in form of carbon damage costs have a significant but positive impact on CO2 emissions. This suggest that in line with the drive for growth by BRICS countries, and to achieve a reduction in the levels of CO2 emissions for green growth and sustainable development, more stringent environmental-energy-related regulations are inevitable. Thus, for policymakers it is vital to reinforce the use of stringent regulations as these economies opens up to more use of coal energy. However, the need to shift, the energy mix in BRICS to renewables is pertinent in a time of global environmental consciousness for cleaner energy sources and environmentally friendly ecosystem.
The Political Economy of the BRICS Countries (Политическая экономика стран БРИКС) / Singapore, March, 2020
Keywords: research, economic_challenges

BRICS and the Global Economy takes an in-depth look at how international economic governance is affected by the rise of large emerging market economies such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The 15 essays in the volume feature the present and future trajectories in our current state of knowledge concerning the BRICS and emerging markets in the discourses over global economic governance, rising powers in international politics, and the international political economy. How have the BRICS, and more broadly the emerging market countries, shaped the functioning governance of the global economy? Scholars analyze the role of BRICS countries both as individual actors and interrogate their group dynamics in the governance of trade, investment, finance, the environment, and foreign aid. The major finding of this volume is that the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — do not advance a unified set of preferences in governing the global economy. Though they have strong incentives to cooperate and coordinate on behalf of developing country interests, each leading actor instead appears to advance individual preference. It suggests that the BRICS countries suffer from the lack of coordination that we have historically seen in the ranks of developing countries. The volume also identifies research frontiers that call for further scholarly attention.

  • Understanding the BRICS Phenomenon:
    • Brazil as a BRICS Country (Cristiane Lucena Carneiro)
    • Russia in Global Economic Governance (Thilo Bodenstein)
    • India and Global Governance (Rajesh Kumar)
    • China and Global Economic Governance (Ka Zeng)
    • South Africa, BRICS, and Global Governance: How SA Tried to Change the World and Succeeded in Changing Itself (Philip Nel)
  • Regionalism and Foreign Aid:
    • Emerging Economies — But Regional Powers? The BRICS and Regionalism (Tanja A Börzel and Thomas Risse)
    • BRICS and Foreign Aid (Gerda Asmus, Andreas Fuchs, and Angelika Müller)
  • Investment and Finance:
    • BRICS and the Global Investment Regime (Yoram Z Haftel)
    • Exchange Rate Policies of the BRICS (Andrew X Li)
    • He Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune: And the "Relocation of the World's Credit Rating Center" Goes To? (Giulia Mennillo)
    • Treaty Shopping and Unintended Consequences: BRICS in the International System (Julia Gray)
  • Climate Negotiations and Energy Goverance:
    • BRICS in the International Climate Negotiations (Axel Michaelowa and Katharina Michaelowa)
    • The BRICS, Energy Security, and Global Energy Governance (Matteo Fumagalli)
  • Representation, Fragmentation, and Legitimacy:
    • BRICS and the International Financial Institutions: Voice and Exit (Ayse Kaya)
    • The Representation of BRICS in Global Economic Governance: Reform and Fragmentation of Multilateral Institutions (Michal Parízek and Matthew D Stephen)
NDB Board of Directors Holds Its 24th Meeting, Approves Investment in India (Совет директоров НБР провел свое 24-е заседание и одобрил инвестиции в Индию) / China, March, 2020
Keywords: ndb, top_level_meeting, investments

The Board of Directors (BoD) of the New Development Bank (NDB) held its 24th Meeting virtually on March 25, 2020.

The Board approved investment in National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) in India. The Bank will invest up to USD 100 million equivalent with the objective of supporting investment growth in India by catalyzing private sector investments in infrastructure and other sectors. The fund, in its turn, will invest in 8-10 private equity funds that will invest in companies in India across multiple sectors, including green infrastructure, mid-income/affordable housing, infrastructure services, social infrastructure, urban infrastructure, etc.

The Board also approved technical assistance (TA) of USD 400,000 to the Russian Federation for Upgrade of Kaliningrad Sea Port Project aimed at increasing the Port's cargo turnover by more than 50% from the current capacity, through improvement of the main infrastructure of the Port. The TA will provide consulting services to evaluate feasibility of the Project and carry out activities required to prepare the Project up to the stage when it can be considered by external financiers.

The Board was briefed on the robust project pipeline for 2020, which includes support for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in all member countries.

The Board took note of the second offering under the RMB Bond Programme, in the amount of RMB 5 billion. The Bank has registered the RMB 10 billion Bond Programme in the China Interbank Market in January 2019 and the validity of the Programme is two years. The NDB placed the first offering with the total size of RMB 3 billion in 2019.

The Board of Directors announced that the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the New Development Bank will take place on April 20, 2020 virtually.

The 14th Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee Meeting and the 9th Budget, Human Resources and Compensation Committee Meeting of the Board of Directors took place virtually on March 24, 2020.

Background Information

The NDB was established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. To fulfill its purpose, the NDB will support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments. According to the NDB's General Strategy, sustainable infrastructure development is at the core of the Bank's operational strategy for 2017-2021. The NDB received AA+ long-term issuer credit ratings from S&P and Fitch and AAA foreign currency long-term issuer rating from Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR).

World of Work
Why Chinese Students Choose to Study in Saint-Petersburg Mining University (Почему китайские студенты выбирают учебу в Санкт-Петербургском горном университете) / Russia, March, 2020
Keywords: social_issues

Chinese students prefer to take their chances on studying abroad. However, strong demand, for the most part, remains unmet. The Chinese labor market is facing difficulties at the moment, with large-scale dismissals taking place. Industrial automation and slowdown in economic growth are the factors that influence the market. But while production workers get replaced with robots, high-qualified engineers are becoming the ones most sought-after.

Zhao Fuming, Master's Student at the Oil & Gas Engineering Faculty in the Mining University: "In China, I went to a private school where I studied Russian as a foreign language. By the time I graduated from school, I had decided to study oil & gas. This is a sector our countries have been closely collaborating in. There is a China University of Mining and Technology I could apply for, but I wanted to study in Russia. Firstly, a diploma certificate from a foreign university is more valued. And secondly, it is almost impossible to be admitted to that university."

When Zhao Fuming came to Russia, he was surprised by the lack of restrictions in universities, particularly on the use of research labs. In China, no student is allowed to enter laboratories without a written consent approved by the principal or vice-principal, obtaining which is not an easy task. Russian students, on the contrary, can visit labs whenever they want to, they only have to notify the teacher in advance.

Industrial placement practices also differ. Chinese students apply for internships once they are in their third or fourth year of study. Russian students get their first field experience in the first year. Thus, they can understand their career aspirations before they graduate.

Zhang Xuhuizi was born in Karamay, a city in the north of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In 1955, one of the largest oil fields in China was discovered in the region, which was the primary reason for building the city. Over time, the city has grown into an oil-producing and refining centre.

Zhang Xuhuizi, a student at the Mining University, about the reasons behind her study choice: "My great-grandmother was Russian, which undoubtedly affected my decision to come to study to Russia. By the time I finished school, I had already known that I wanted to study here, and I decided to apply for one of the universities in St. Petersburg. I came to the conclusion that the Mining University was the best option given the high demand for engineers. Now all I need is a Master's Degree to launch my career in China."

Zhao Fuming adds: "When my studies commenced, there were only 15 Chinese students at the Mining University. By now, that figure has increased several times. The university has also become more popular in my country, mostly through extensive international work."

In July, St. Petersburg Mining University hosts an event of international importance – the Forum-Contest of Young Researchers "Topical issues of rational use of natural resources". It is aimed at scientists and students coming from the BRICS countries and is itself part of the BRICS summit. This year, over a hundred Chinese guests are expected to participate in the contest.

Made on