Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 28.2020
2020.07.06— 2020.07.12
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Filling the leadership vacuums (Заполнение пробелов в лидерстве) / China, July, 2020
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance

On May 29, the United States announced that it would terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization. Not long ago, the US had withdrawn from international organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the UN Human Rights Council and other international agreements such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Comprehensive Agreement on Nuclear Issues, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty.

Due to the withdrawal of the US, the world's sole superpower and largest economy, many international organizations at global level are facing leadership vacuum, insufficient fund and rules breaking, which is hard to improve in the short term.

However, the demand for international public goods in other countries, especially developing countries, has been rising. The weakness of international organizations and mechanisms at the global level has led to the strengthening of regional international organizations.

Member states within regional organizations often have the possibility of raising the level of cooperation for geographical proximity, cultural affinity, economic complementarity and related interests, so regional economic and trade organizations and agreements are more dynamic in the current environment.

This is especially prominent at both ends of the Eurasian continent. At the eastern end, China-Japan-Republic of Korea cooperation experienced a peak 10 years ago before declining because of the interference of political and historical factors. However, the necessity and urgency of greater cooperation between the three countries have become increasingly apparent in recent years and China-Japan-ROK and China-ROK talks are expected to accelerate after the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

During the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, China, Japan and the ROK have not only strengthened the cooperation among themselves, but also coordinated with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on ways to safeguard public health, proposing the establishment of emergency reserve and financial support to promote an economic recovery. The region has demonstrated better pandemic control and economic resilience than other regions in the world.

The reform of the global governance system has been led by the adjustment of the international structure and the intensification of competition in the scientific and technological fields. But this dramatic change will bring great uncertainty and broad challenges to the world. With its powerful technological, financial and military advantages, the US is trying to construct a system that puts "America First", but this selfish demand will lead to it losing its moral authority, resulting in a lack consensus on global governance reforms.

To promote multilateral, democratic and just global governance, China needs to actively participate in the reform of the system, come up with Chinese solutions seeking the largest common ground to reduce the trust deficits, advocate the concept of a community of shared destiny for mankind and clarify China's plan for the improvement of global governance to enhance the overall voice of developing countries.

The main channel for China to participate in international organizations is the United Nations. Only by upholding the UN's authority in the international system and maximizing the role of it and its relevant institutions can we stabilize the existing international system and reform and develop the global governance system. China is an indispensable member of the UN system, and the bigger challenge for China in the future is to build an international consensus while clarifying China's demands, and lead the UN organizations to play their roles more effectively, avoiding interference and disruption from geopolitical and ideological disputes.

At present, China is actively responding to and deeply participating in the innovation and development of international organizations and mechanisms, and is seeking new avenues for international cooperation based on the principle of "discussing and sharing". The BRICS summit and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit scheduled for July in St. Petersburg, Russia, were postponed due to the pandemic, but cooperation between the members continues to advance.

For example, the BRICS New Development Bank approved a $1-billion loan to India through an emergency aid program to help fight the pandemic. The bank had previously successfully issued 5 billion yuan ($711 million) in bonds to support the anti-pandemic emergency measures of local governments in China.

In the economic and trade field, the appellate body under the dispute settlement mechanism of the World Trade Organization was closed at the end of 2019. On March 27, 2020, 16 WTO members, including China and the European Union, jointly issued a ministerial statement, deciding to establish a "multi-party ad hoc arbitration arrangement for appeals". On May 1, the participants of the mechanism formally notified the WTO that the interim appeals arrangement had entered into force and invited other WTO members to participate.

The world is experiencing the greatest changes in a century, and the existing international organizations will face major choices. The US will only greatly damage its own international reputation with its unilateralism and it cannot destroy other countries' willingness to cooperate multilaterally and their ability to deliver public goods. The US should realize that the fate of international organizations is not in the hands of the US alone.

Countries should abandon their zero-sum thinking and actively engage in communication and cooperation to agree on the norms for regional organizations, such as respecting for diversity, equality, mutual benefit and open regionalism. For China, as long as it carries on promoting the concept of a community of shared destiny for mankind, plays its due role, undertakes its obligations and promote international organizations to serve world peace and development, it will always conform to the trend of the times.

The author is the director of the International Political Studies, National Institute for Global Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
ISRO to Launch Amazonia-1 Satellite of Brazil Onboard PSLV Next Month (ISRO запустит спутник Amazonia-1 Бразилии на борту PSLV в следующем месяце) / India, July, 2020
Keywords: space, cooperation

The Indian Space Research and Research Organisation (ISRO) gets ready to launch Brazil's Amazonia -1 satellite next month onboard PSLV. Confirming this to Financial Express Online, a top diplomat said "The launch with PSLV next month is confirmed, however, we have not received a confirmed date yet. It is all dependent on the Indian Space Agency and its schedule."

This Brazilian Satellite has been locally designed, assembled and tested in Brazil and will be the first satellite for Earth Observation. It will the primary payload and will not be a hitch-hiking satellite.

India-Brazil Space Cooperation

At the 6th BRICS Summit in 2014, the two countries –India and Brazil had an agreement all signed which talked about setting up a Brazilian earth station to receive data from the Indian satellites. For operating the station and gathering data through remote sensing, the Brazilian scientists have been getting training at the ISRO facility. Space Cooperation between the two countries goes back to the early 2000s when the two had an agreement in place at the Government to Government level, under which the South American nation started receiving data from Resourcesat-1 satellite of India from October 2009 to September 2013. Since October 2014 has been receiving data from Resourcesat-2. On commercial basis, India gets tracking support from ground stations located Alcantara and Cuiaba, in Brazil. This tracking support is for Indian satellites and other space programmes including Chandrayaan-I, Megha Tropiques, MOM, and ASTROSAT.

What is the purpose of Amazonia-1 which PSLV will launch?

Diplomatic sources have confirmed that "the images from the Brazilian satellite will help in observing and monitoring the deforestation of the Amazon Region. And it now has a much more critical role to play after the recent fires in the Amazon Region. Also, the images will help in the agricultural and vegetation areas."

Why ISRO for launching satellites?

Several countries have been coming to ISRO for launching their satellite purely because of commercial consideration. A lot of South American countries have been reaching out to ISRO through the Indian Missions looking for a commercially feasible launch. Post-MARS mission in 2014, India's sophisticated and cost-effective programmes attracted big and small countries from across the globe.

Countries like Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Bolivia are among some of the countries who have a Space Cooperation with ISRO at a different level. Several others in the region who want to stay away from China have been reaching out for an understanding with ISRO.

Financial Express

New Development Bank successfully places RMB 2 bln bond in China interbank bond market (Новый Банк Развития успешно разместил облигации на 2 млрд юаней на рынке межбанковских облигаций Китая) / China, July, 2020
Keywords: ndb, economic_challenges

On July 06, 2020, the New Development Bank (NDB) successfully placed a RMB 2 bln bond in the China Interbank Bond Market, with a maturity of 5 years and a coupon rate of 3%. By issuing the Bond, the Bank completed the quota of its RMB 10 bln Bond Programme registered in January, 2019.

The final book size closed in excess of RMB 4 bln, representing an oversubscription of 2.1 times. Notably, the Bond was priced at 16 bps lower than the valuation of China Development Bank Bonds on the same day. The Bond received extraordinary support from investors, despite high volatility demonstrated by the China Interbank Bond Market, with the China Government Bond jumping quite significantly across the curve.

"We are honored by the recognition and support received from investors during the RMB 2 bln bond issuance. The final coupon rate of 3% is a remarkable achievement for the NDB, under the current market conditions. The NDB is a regular issuer in China and the Bank will continue to build its RMB bond curve," said Mr. Leslie Maasdorp, NDB Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. "The Bank is committed to actively exploring opportunities in the domestic capital markets of its member countries. We will actively participate in both onshore and offshore markets in pursuit of cost-effective sources of funding, in line with the NDB's comprehensive funding strategy which aims to ensure that enough resources are available to meet the Bank's liquidity needs, driven by the expanding loan portfolio, as well as operating and other expenses."

"The NDB will continue to contribute to the development of the China Interbank Bond Market. The NDB has just submitted a request for registering the second RMB 20 bln Bond Programme to National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors," he added.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited acted as the lead underwriter and bookrunner of the issuance. The Bank of China Limited, Agricultural Bank of China Limited and China Construction Bank Limited acted as the joint lead underwriters for the Bond.

Bond Summary Terms

Issuer New Development Bank (NDB)
Issuer rating AA+ (S&P) / AA+ (Fitch) / AAA (JCR) / AAA (ACRA)
Amount RMB 2,000,000,000
Settlement date July 7, 2020
Maturity date July 7, 2025
Coupon 3%
Denomination RMB
Listing China Interbank Bond Market
Lead Underwriters Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)
Joint-lead underwriters Bank of China (BOC), Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), China Construction Bank (CCB)

Background information

In July 2016, the NDB issued its first Green Financial Bond with an issue size of RMB 3 bln and tenor of 5 years in the China Interbank Bond Market. In February 2019, the NDB issued its first Panda Bond with a size of RMB 3 bln in the China Interbank Bond Market. On April 2, 2020, the NDB successfully issued an RMB 5 bln Coronavirus Combating Bond in the China Interbank Bond Market, which became the first RMB-denominated Coronavirus Combating Bond issued by a multilateral development bank in China. As of today, the NDB has reached an RMB bond outstanding amount of RMB 13 bln.

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. In August 2018, the Bank received AA+ long-term issuer credit ratings from S&P and Fitch.

World of Work
Top BRICS Journalists to Discuss Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Mass Media (Главные журналисты БРИКС обсудят влияние пандемии COVID-19 на СМИ) / Russia, July, 2020
Keywords: social_issues, media

There is hardly a sphere of life which has not been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. And the media industry is no exception.

Given that the media industry has faced numerous challenges linked to the pandemic, there is a growing need for key players in the global media market to coordinate their strategies.

Leading journalists from the BRICS countries: Tatiana Kukhareva (Russia), the deputy head of Sputnik websites and radio; Leonardo Attuch (Brazil), chief editor for Brasil247; Lychee Li (China), deputy editor-in-chief of the China Daily website; Ian Landsberg (South Africa), photo editor at ANA and Nitin Gokhale (India), founder and chief editor for StratNews Global and defence website Bharat Shakti, will attend a conference titled "How Will the Media World Change after the Pandemic?"

The participants are expected to talk about the challenges journalists across the globe have faced since the COVID-19 infection was declared a pandemic. They will also exchange views on what awaits the media industry after the coronavirus outbreak is over.

The discussion will take place at the Rossiya Segodnya international news agency on Thursday and will be moderated by Vasily Pushkov, Sputnik's head of international projects.

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