Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 32.2017
2017.07.31 — 2017.08.06
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Interview: Much potential to tap in intra-BRICS cooperation -- Indian expert (Интервью: виден большой потенциал в сотрудничестве между странами БРИКС - индийский эксперт) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, Srikanth_Kondapalli, trade_relations, terrorism, NDB

NEW DELHI, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- There is much potential to tap in the intra-BRICS cooperation in many areas such as trade and investment, an Indian expert has said.

While the last eight annual summits seeing this group of five emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) was gaining momentum in its growth, intra-BRICS cooperation has yet much room to improve, especially in the areas of trade and investment, according to Srikanth Kondapalli, professor at the Center for East Asia Studies of the New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University.

"In general, the intra-BRICS trade is low as with investments or technology flows. Much of the global trade of the BRICS countries is with western countries," Kondapalli told Xinhua in an interview on Sunday.

"The total trade between the five BRICS countries accounted for only 4.9 percent of the total foreign trade of these countries," he said, adding that "much of the trade is of low end products or commodities."

Meanwhile, "the intra-BRICS investment flows are also not very high so far, resulting in the BRICS countries' dependency on the international lenders," Kondapalli said.

The Indian expert thinks the India-proposed New Development Bank (NDB) launched in 2015 within the BRICS framework will help alleviate the situation. Still, "India is advocating for more investment flows in the infrastructure projects," he said.

Kondapalli noted that the NDB, which is intended to focus on infrastructure and sustainable development projects, clearly "needs to expand infrastructure financing, currency internationalization, financial credit, mutual investment and trade facilitation so that these states could overcome the ill-effects of global financial crisis."

In his opinion, funding small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should also be among the bank's priorities.

The Indian expert believes cultural exchanges and tourism are also areas calling for further intra-BRICS cooperation.

"As with the intra-BRICS trade and investments, the cultural exchanges are also at a minimal (level) till recently," he said.

The development level of "the intra-BRICS tourism, people-to-people interactions, cultural/literary shows have so far not been very high," he said, blaming this mainly on a lack of infrastructure and financing.

On joint efforts against terrorism, Kondapalli said, "There is no concrete coordination between the security agencies," while expecting the upcoming BRICS summit to be held in September in the southeast Chinese city of Xiamen will help resolve the BRICS countries' differences in addressing terrorism.

Kondapalli also hopes for further progress to be made at the Xiamen summit in the BRICS cooperation on combating climate change, while noting differences remain within the BRICS group on issues of cyber security, making cooperation in this area unlikely at present.

In addition, the professor thinks both India and China will work to enhance the role of the BRICS group.

"It is clear from the previous eight summit meetings that both India and China, despite bilateral difference, have come together on a number of issues of common concern such as trade, etc. Both countries are at a juncture where they are increasingly integrated in the global trade value chain," said Kondapalli.

"Hence we could predict that their role would increase in shaping the BRICS phenomenon," he said.
BRICS make the case for globalization (Страны БРИКС выступают за глобализацию) / Canada, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion
Author: Andrew Hammond

Trade ministers of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) finished up a two-day meeting on Wednesday in Shanghai. The session, which comes in advance of the BRICS's ninth annual summit of presidents and prime ministers in September in Xiamen, saw China and the other four powers warn about the dangers of greater protectionism following the election of U.S. President Donald Trump.

This week's forum is not the first time this year China has championed the benefits of market liberalization. In January, Xi Jinping became the first Chinese president to give a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he made the case for continued economic globalization.

China's advocacy of this agenda reflects, in large part, the fact it has been a big beneficiary of globalization, with IMF data since 2014 showing that the country's economy is now larger than the United States on the basis of purchasing-power parity. However, a commitment to inclusive growth is another key reason Beijing is hitching its wagon to globalization.

This topic of inclusive growth and the BRICS is especially pertinent given the world is at a potentially pivotal moment in the battle against global economic inequality. Remarkable World Bank research indicates that, for the first time in about two centuries, overall global income inequality – one of, but not the only measure of economic inequality – appears to be declining.

The BRICS, which account for more than 40 per cent of world population, have been the key drivers of this historic movement toward greater overall global income equality. The collective economic growth and very large populations of India and China, in particular, have lifted a massive amount of people out of poverty – an estimated 600 million between 1981 and 2004 in China alone.

This has helped catalyze what Branko Milanovic, who co-authored the World Bank research with Christoph Lakner, asserts is the "profoundest reshuffle of individual incomes on the global scale since the Industrial Revolution."

At the same time, however, there is an opposing force: Growing income inequality within many countries and this issue has become increasingly politically salient. It is the rising inequality in developed markets that gets most attention. Take the United States, for instance, where concerns over inequality and stagnant living standards have led to surging support for some populist politicians, which may have propelled Mr. Trump to the presidency.

These two opposing forces, like tectonic plates, are pushing against each other. While the net global trend for the past 200 years has been toward greater overall income inequality, there is now significant, growing evidence since the turn of the millennium that the "positive effect" of growing income equality between countries, spurred by the development of the global South, is superseding the "negative effect" from increasing inequality within countries.

Monumental as this could be, however, the picture is not yet clear cut. In part, this is because data sources on income across the world are inevitably imperfect, which means conclusions are hedged with uncertainty.

While more proof is, therefore, needed to judge whether this economic phenomenon is robust and sustainable, what is certain is that the overall lot of the South has improved dramatically, as exemplified by the BRICS over the past generation. The most prominent beneficiaries have been a much heralded "new" middle class – estimated to be as large as a third of the world's population – disproportionately located in key Asian emerging economies such as China, India, and other key countries such as Indonesia.

The World Bank research also indicates that much of the bottom third of the global income hierarchy have also generally benefitted, too. As in China, many other hundreds of millions of people have transitioned from absolute poverty.

However, not all the South has shared fully in this success story, to date at least. Much of Africa, and some of Latin America, for instance, have generally not benefitted as much as Asia.

With the current economic challenges that China and some other key emerging markets – including Brazil and South Africa – are now experiencing, it is unclear whether the development of the global South has enough momentum to keep driving forward a more equitable world order. This will depend, largely, on the same twin issues of whether emerging markets generally continue growing robustly, and also whether the trend toward rising income inequality within countries is sustained.

On the first issue, the trajectory of the global economy will very likely continue to shift toward the South and for the foreseeable future many key emerging markets will probably remain in robust shape. However, the recent remarkable wave of emerging-market growth of the past generation appears now to be decelerating, and the global transformation it has produced in recent years may not be repeated again.

On the latter, it is not set in stone that ever-growing income inequality within countries will continue, especially if there is political and popular will to address it. However, the debate over what long-term reform agenda should be undertaken to tackle this problem is contested by the left and right across much of the world. Taken over all, the BRICs are helping drive what could be the first period of sustained movement toward greater global income equality for two centuries. Yet, the fragile process, fuelled by globalization, could yet go into reverse if emerging-market growth decelerates faster than anticipated and/or income inequality within countries accelerates, undercutting efforts to foster inclusive growth.

Director General Li affirms UNIDO's support for BRICS at trade ministers' meeting (Генеральный директор Ли подтверждает поддержку ЮНИДО БРИКС на заседании министров торговли) / Austria, August, 2017
Keywords: BRICS_UNIDO, concluded_agreements, high_level_meeting

SHANGHAI, 2 August 2017 –The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is fully committed to supporting cooperation between the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which is growing in areas corresponding to UNIDO's mandate to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

This commitment was emphasized today by LI Yong, the Director General of UNIDO, who spoke at the 7th meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers in Shanghai. The meeting was held ahead of the Ninth BRICS Summit that will take place in the city of Xiamen, in Fujian Province, from 3 to 5 September.

The trade ministers adopted an outcome statement that will contribute to the declaration of the BRICS Summit. The statement reflects the consensus reached on the importance of further enhancing intra-BRICS trade and investment, which is currently not reaching its potential.

"UNIDO has been a strong partner of the BRICS for many years, and I am very pleased that our cooperation is valued by the BRICS. This has been continuously demonstrated through repeated requests for our technical assistance and policy advice. UNIDO gives great emphasis to the BRICS and has extensive technical cooperation programmes with each BRICS country," said Li.

The trade ministers adopted a statement thanking UNIDO and other international organizations for their support to BRICS economic and trade cooperation. The statement further welcomed international organizations' contributions to economic and technical cooperation and capacity building in areas such as trade, investment facilitation, e-commerce, intellectual property rights, and trade in services.

During the meeting, ministers discussed the promotion of trade growth, including through e-commerce - one of the world's fastest-growing economic sectors and a promising driver of industrial upgrading and job creation. In cooperation with the BRICS, UNIDO and the International Trade Centre produced a report on e-commerce development in BRICS which will form the basis of further research.

In interventions during the BRICS Trade Ministers' meeting, the Director General highlighted examples of UNIDO's support for the BRICS countries.

Director General Li also underlined UNIDO's determination to further enhance cooperation with each BRICS country, as well as to intensify engagement with the BRICS as a group.

On the sidelines of the main meeting, the China's Vice Premier WANG Yang met the Head of Delegations from BRICS and international organizations. During this meeting, Wang emphasized the importance of trade and investment facilitation, and strengthening economic and technical capacity building among the BRICS countries. He also called for a common position of BRICS on the multi-lateral trading system so as to ensure the success of the World Trade Organization Trade Ministers' Meeting, which will take place in Argentina in December 2017.

For more information please contact:

Victor Zagrekov, UNIDO Senior Advisor on Partnerships

Cabinet approves MoU between India and BRICs countries to set up BRICS Agriculture Research Platform (Кабинет министров одобрил Меморандум о взаимопонимании между Индией и странами БРИКC о создании исследовательской платформы для сельского хозяйства БРИКС) / India, August, 2017
Keywords: concluded_agreements, ARP

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed among India and various BRICs countries for establishment of the BRICS Agriculture Research Platform (BRICS-ARP).


During the 7th BRICS Summit held on 9thJuly 2015 at Ufa in Russia, Prime Minister Shri Modi proposed to establish BRICS Agriculture Research Centre which will be a gift to the entire world. The Centre will promote sustainable agricultural development and poverty alleviation through strategic cooperation in agriculture to provide food security in the BRICS member countries.

In order to further intensify cooperation among BRICS countries in agricultural research policy, science and technology, innovation and capacity building, including technologies for small¬holder farming in the BRICS countries, an MoU on establishment of the Agricultural Research Platform was signed by the foreign Ministers of BRICS countries in the 8th BRICS Summit held on 16th October, 2016 at Goa.

BRICS-ARP will be the natural global platform for science-led agriculture-based sustainable development for addressing the issues of world hunger, under-nutrition, poverty and inequality, particularly between farmers' and non-farmers' income, and enhancing agricultural trade, bio-security and climate resilient agriculture.
Brics are the new battleground for the global inequality fight (БРИКС - новое поле битвы в борьбе за глобальное неравенство) / United Kingdom, August, 2017
Keywords: Expert_opinion
United Kingdom
Author: Andrew Hammond

With all eyes on the revolving cast of characters heading in and out of the White House, and on the latest developments in the ongoing Brexit saga, it's important to remember that the rest of the world continues to get on with life.

This week, for example, trade ministers of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) are meeting in Shanghai, in advance of the group's ninth annual summit of Presidents and Prime Ministers in September.

One of the goals of China's presidency of the bloc this year is for the five powers to step up their advocacy for economic globalisation in the face of signals from the Trump administration of rising protectionism.

The timing of this campaign comes at a potentially pivotal moment in the globalisation story. World Bank research indicates that, for the first time in two centuries, overall global income inequality – an important measure of economic inequality but not the only one – appears to be declining.

The Brics have been the key drivers of this movement toward greater overall global income inequality. The collective economic growth and very large populations of India and China, in particular, have lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

This has helped catalyse what Branko Milanovic, who co-authored the World Bank research with Christoph Lakner, asserts is the "profoundest reshuffle of individual incomes on the global scale since the Industrial Revolution".

At the same time, however, there is an opposing force: growing income inequality within many countries. This issue has become increasingly politically salient.

Take the United States, for example, where concerns over inequality and stagnant living standards have led to surging support for some populists, including Donald Trump.

These two opposing forces, like tectonic plates, are pushing against each other. While the net global trend for the past 200 years has been towards greater overall income inequality, there is now significant evidence since the turn of the millennium that the positive effect of growing income equality between countries, spurred by the development of the global south, is superseding the negative effect from increasing inequality within nations.

While uncertainties remain about the data, it is undeniable that the overall lot of the south has improved dramatically, as exemplified by the progress of the Brics. The most prominent beneficiaries have been a much heralded new middle class – estimated to now make up a third of the world's population – disproportionately located in key Asian emerging economies like China and India.

With the current challenges that some Brics are now experiencing, it is unclear whether the development of the global south has enough momentum to keep driving forwards a more equitable world order. This will depend largely on two issues: whether emerging markets generally continue growing robustly, and also whether the trend toward rising income inequality within countries is sustained.

On the first question, the trajectory of the global economy will very likely continue to shift toward the south, and for the foreseeable future many key emerging markets are likely to remain in robust shape. However, the recent remarkable wave of growth of the last generation appears now to be decelerating, and the global transformation it has sparked may not be repeated.

Turning to the second issue, it is not set in stone that ever-growing income inequality within countries will continue, especially if there is political will to address it. However, the debate over what long term reform agenda should be undertaken to tackle this problem is contested by left and right factions across much of the world.

A key danger therefore in the coming years is that income inequality within countries accelerates, and that emerging market growth decelerates faster than anticipated.

This would mean that the fragile process that has driven the movement towards greater global income equality could yet go into reverse.
BRICS 'Wouldn't Want to Get Entangled Into' China-India Border Standoffeng (БРИКС "не хочет быть замешанным" в конфликте на границе Китая и Индии) / Russia, August, 2017
Keywords: India_China, expert_opinion

Tensions between India and China continue to rise as the Chinese government once again urged India to immediately withdraw its troops from the Doklam Plateau. Radio Sputnik spoke to an expert Dr. Rajeswari Rajagopalan about the dispute.

The conflict between the two countries in the disputed area, known as "Doklam" in India and "Donglang" in China, began in early June, after Chinese workers had begun building a highway through the area, triggering a protest from Bhutan.

India maintains that the Doklam Plateau belongs to Bhutan and that China's recent effort to build a road in the area violates a 2012 agreement and significantly alters the status quo.

China in its turn claims that Indian troops crossed the border at Sikkim in mid-June to stop the People's Liberation Army (PLA) from constructing a road in Donglang.

Radio Sputnik discussed the border dispute between China and India with Dr. Rajeswari Rajagopalan, senior fellow and head of the nuclear and space policy initiative at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.

"Much of the border between India and China has been disputed, but this part has been more unsettled although there is no formal agreement between China and India and nor have they officially disputed it, but there is a big dispute between China and Bhutan's border line," Rajagopalan said.

She further said that the crisis began when China began construction "illegally in Bhutan's territory."

Talking about how likely is the latest standoff going to develop into a military conflict, the expert said that, "China's People's Liberation Army just marked its 90th anniversary and Xi Jinping would not want to be seen like his country is a weak power, he would want to project China as a strong power, similarly considering the anti-India rhetoric that China has been doing it is difficult for it to back off now."

If China gets access into Bhutanese territory through the Doklam Plateau, through the road that they are trying to construct, then the Chinese forces have easy access to the Indian narrow corridor which connects the Indian mainland to its seven northeastern states, so strategically its very sensitive for India to stop forces coming into that area, the expert said.

Bhutan asked Indian troops stationed in the area to come and intervene and Indian troops do have a strong presence in that region especially the Indian Air Force.

However, despite the rising tensions, the expert thinks that it may be possible to resolve the crisis in a diplomatic manner.

"India will not push this crisis into the agenda and I don't think the BRICS countries would want to get entangled into a bilateral conflict with India and China over this because India also has a great influence over these countries," she concluded.

BRICS is an association of five developing economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The member states' objective is to enhance cooperation among themselves and strengthen the efforts of other international organizations working for world betterment in a number of spheres.
Commentary: BRICS ready to play its role in global governance (Комментарий: БРИКС готов играть свою роль в глобальном управлении) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion

BEIJING - There is less than 30 days till the ninth BRICS summit in Xiamen in September when the organization's role in global governance, a faltering economic recovery and setbacks in globalization will be the issues of greatest concern.

"BRICS: stronger partnership for a brighter future" will bring together the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in Xiamen, a coastal city in East China's Fujian province from Sept 3 to 5.

The "gold bricks countries" - a Chinese translation of BRICS - represent emerging markets and are the voice of the world's developing countries.

Strong economic growth means BRICS are now key players in the world economy and in global governance. Together, the five accounted for 23 percent of the 2016 global economy, almost double their share in 2006. The five have been the source of more than half of global growth in the past ten years.

"BRICS cooperation has not only helped the countries themselves, but enhanced the right to speak on global issues for all developing countries,"said Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies.

As the holder of the BRICS presidency this year, China is hosting the series of meetings which usually precedes the leaders' summit. Earlier this week, trade ministers met in Shanghai and agreed to unite against protectionism and to do all they can to ensure the survival of the multilateral trade system.

In late July, a BRICS security meeting was held in Beijing, with discussions on global governance, anti-terrorism, the internet, energy, national security and development.

In June, finance ministers and central bank governors agreed to strengthen cooperation in several fiscal and financial areas, including the BRICS New Development Bank and regulatory collaboration.

"I think this year's summit in Xiamen will produce more practical and concrete cooperation, and improve trust and confidence among BRICS," said Shen Yi, director of the center for BRICS studies at Fudan University.

China does not want to limit future cooperation to the five nations. In March, Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi said that China would explore expansion modalities for "BRICS Plus"s and build a wider partnership through dialogue with developing countries and international organizations.

"BRICS plus" will provide opportunities for other economies and inject impetus into economic globalization, said the chief economist of the Eurasian Development Bank Yaroslav Lissovolik.

"The proposals of Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Yi regarding the expansion of the BRICS partnership zone are not only timely in the light of China's presidency of BRICS, but they are also aimed at giving new impetus to integration processes in the complicated conditions of protectionism's spread in the world economy," Lissovolik said.

With the progress of the past ten years and a more inclusive attitude, BRICS are prepared not only for the Xiamen summit, but for another golden decade to come.
BRICS ministers tighten cooperation on industry (Министры БРИКС усиливают сотрудничетво в отраслях) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: High_level_meeting, concluded_agreements

Ministers from the BRICS nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa agreed to deepen cooperation on industry and innovation at the Second Meeting of BRICS Industry Ministers, which opened in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province on July 29.

The summit saw more than 120 delegates from government bodies and companies from the five countries exchange ideas on a range of issues of common concern, including technology development, innovation and investment in key industries.

Many attendees called for stronger cooperation among the countries during the meeting.

A vice minister of Brazil's Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade said that, as the biggest country in South America, Brazil has vast potential for other BRICS countries to seek cooperation opportunities.

A Russian delegate stressed the importance of innovation in the auto and internet industries at the meeting. "Russia has created a great mechanism to boost industrial innovation, and we hope that more cooperation in this field could be reached among BRICS countries," the official said.

"The world is in the midst of a new industrial revolution featuring digitalization, network and intelligence," said Miao Wei, China's minister of industry and information technology. "China is willing to share our successful experience and practices with other BRICS countries and strongly support cooperation in investment, research and development and human resources."

An action plan for deepening industrial cooperation was released as an outcome of the meeting. All ministers reached a consensus that the BRICS countries should face up to the opportunities and challenges being brought by Industry 4.0 together and work together to promote industrial development.

In terms of cooperation on upgrading industrial capacity, the plan stated that the BRICS nations should set up mechanisms for conducting bilateral and multilateral cooperation in key industries like high-end and automotive manufacturing.

Another area emphasized by the plan was coordinating industrial policies in order to promote efficiency.

The plan also encouraged companies, research institutes and universities to establish partnerships to research and develop new applications for new technologies. Collaborations between academia and industry could help promote the commercialization of important research findings.

Other areas where the BRICS nations could promote cooperation highlighted in the plan included cooperation among small and medium-sized enterprises, industrial standards agencies and collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

The summit also offered an opportunity for Zhejiang to showcase its strong economy and attract new investors.

"The manufacturing industry, the base of a thriving economy, is a strong support to Zhejiang's modernization," said Yuan Jiajun, governor of Zhejiang, at the meeting.

Yuan added that Zhejiang is grasping the opportunities brought by the new industrial revolution to further the development of the province's industrial sector, and he called for more exchanges and cooperation between the province and the BRICS nations.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
BRICS finds commerce consensus (Страны БРИКС приходят к консенсусу в торговле) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: high_level_meeting, trade_relations, concluded_agreements

Services deals and technology among ministers' major areas of agreement

Trade ministers of BRICS countries have reached eight major consensuses, including establishing stronger digital networks at ports to ease trade and approving a service trade cooperation road map to boost economic complementarities and diversification, China's commerce minister announced on Wednesday.

Zhong Shan, also chairman of the seventh meeting of trade ministers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in Shanghai, called on BRICS countries to work together to enhance intra-BRICS investment, and improve the capacity of services related to investment amid uncertainties in the global economic recovery. The ministers met on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Other results include launching an e-commerce cooperation initiative, approving guidelines for intellectual property rights, endorsing the outlines for investment facilitation and producing a framework on strengthening the economic and technical ties among BRICS countries.

Senior trade officials also agreed to continue supporting multilateral trading systems and promoting the China International Import Expo, which will start next year. The expo is seen as an important means for countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative to gain access to the Chinese market.

With the trade in services becoming a new driver for global economic and trade growth, the ministers decided to intensify cooperation on information exchange, capacity building and coordination within BRICS, as well as conducting practical actions in such priority fields as tourism, education and healthcare services.

"Deepening technological progress and economic globalization presents to all countries unprecedented opportunities and an urgent necessity to enhance economic and technical cooperation," Zhong said.

During the meeting, the ministers called for speeding up the implementation of the Bali and Nairobi ministerial conferences' outcomes, and the preparations for the 11th World Trade Organization's ministerial conference set for Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December.

BRICS economies have created a new paradigm for mutual benefit among emerging and developing countries since the mechanism was established in 2006. Contributing nearly one-quarter of global economic output and half of world economic growth, they are capable of playing a powerful role in driving the global economy and governance.

"To reach new goals, BRICS countries will further deepen economic and technical cooperation and capacity building in the area of trade and investment" said Zhang Shaogang, director-general of the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce.
BRICS to strengthen trade cooperation (Страны БРИКС усиливают торговое сотрудничество) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: trade_relations, high_level_meeting

BRICS countries should further strengthen their economic and trade cooperation, improve their cooperation mechanisms, create new cooperation measures and explore new driving forces for development, asserted Commerce Minister Zhong Shan during the 7th BRICS trade ministers conference in Shanghai on Aug 1.

BRICS overlaps with the Belt and Road routes geographically. For instance, Russia, a country on the Belt and Road land route, has close economic and trade ties with China and is also a key BRICS member. Thus, the fruits of their trade cooperation can benefit implementation of Belt and Road projects.

The Belt and Road Initiative looks to build "five connective elements" with a view to creating a community of nations with a common destiny. The five aspects involve policy consultation, infrastructure, free trade, free circulation of local currencies, and people-to-people links, among which connectivity of infrastructure, trade and currencies are common aspirations of the BRICS countries as well. In this sense, promoting BRICS cooperation can also advance Belt and Road construction, and vice versa, Bai Ming, a ministry researcher in international market studies said.

Acting on China's proposal, BRICS countries will explore the feasibility of establishing electronic port networks, setting up a trade services cooperation roadmap, strengthening e-commerce cooperation, and putting forward an action plan on intellectual property rights cooperation, said Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen.

Today, the BRICS countries combined account for 23 percent of global GDP, 16 percent of world trade and 12 percent of the world's investment flows, while contributing half of world economic growth.
BRICS countries strike fatal blow on US dollar supremacy (Страны БРИКС нанесли смертельный удар по превосходству доллара США) / Russia, August, 2017
Keywords: US_sanctinos, high_level_meeting, settlement_in_national_currencies
Author: Aydin Mehtiyev

The United States has declared a war of sanctions on Russia and continues putting trade pressure on China. It is not ruled out that the USA will restrict supplies of steel products from China. In return, Moscow and Beijing intend to abolish the US dollar in mutual settlements within the scope of the BRICS organization. The move will mark the end of the era of the undivided financial domination of the United States of America in the world.

As soon as the US Congress adopted a package of new sanctions against Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Ryabkov issued a formidable warning to Washington. "US sanctions against Russia will only encourage Russia to create an alternative economic system, in which dollars will not be needed," the Russian diplomat said.

Interestingly, the statement was made on the eve of the two-day summit of BRICS trade ministers, which opened on August 1, 2017 in Shanghai. This organization, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, becomes a powerful counterweight to the Group of Seven.

Today, the BRICS countries account for 26% of the Earth's territory, 42% of the world's population (almost three billion people) and 27% of world GDP. According to experts' forecasts, the share of BRICS countries will account for more than 40% of world GDP by 2050.

However, BRICS trade ministers chose not to put the horse before the cart.

Russia's Minister for Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin stated that BRICS countries, in particular Russia and China, may switch to settlements in national currencies already in the near future. The minister also said that the trade turnover between Russia and China may reach $200 billion by 2020.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the Shanghai summit, the ministers discussed opportunities for the creation of a new monetary system to exclude the use of the US dollar. In 2015, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia was opting for settlements in national currencies and created currency pools with several countries.

Today, not only does Russia need to abjure the dollar - the country needs to ensure financial independence from the West. The BRICS countries have coordinated basic principles of the work of the New Development Bank, which is seen as a counterbalance to the World Bank, in which it is the Americans who set the rules of the game.

In addition, Russia considers a possibility to set up a separate payment system similar to SWIFT.

More than 300 Russian banks have switched to an alternative to SWIFT - the system known as SPFS (System for Transfer of Financial Messages). Elvira Nabiullina, Chairwoman of the Central Bank of Russia, said: "Threats were voiced that Russia could be cut off from SWIFT. We have completed the work on our own payment system, and if something happens, all operations in SWIFT format will work inside the country."

One of the main conditions for switching to settlements in national currencies is the stability of the national currencies of the BRICS members. The Russian ruble exchange rate may decrease due to relatively low world oil prices (within $52 per barrel).

Unstable exchange rates of national currencies is not the only obstacle to abjure the US dollar in mutual settlements. BRICS countries account for only 10% of global trade. Therefore, the alliance needs to increase indicators of mutual trade.

Moscow and Beijing have already introduced mutual settlements in yuans. Russia's Central Bank has opened its first foreign office in Beijing.

Thus, the war of sanctions against Russia consolidates and boosts relations between Russia, China and other BRICS members.
BRICS Summit good opportunity to expand cooperation among member countries (Саммит БРИКС дает хорошие возможности для расширения сотрудничества между странами-членами) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, NDB

The BRICS Summit in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province will be a good opportunity for member nations to narrow differences and expand cooperation, a leading expert on international affairs said.

Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Xinhua in a recent interview here that the upcoming summit is very important because it sets a stage to resolve differences among BRICS nations and extend cooperation from economic issues to other areas.

The expert, who is also a visiting professor of Center for Global Affairs at New York University, made the comments nearly a month before the ninth annual BRICS summit to be held in Xiamen from Sept 3 to Sept 5.

The BRICS summit brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that comprise its moniker, along with participants from across the globe.

Sidhu expected member states in the meeting to sustain the momentum on the BRICS' New Development Bank (NDB), as well as other economic arrangements such as infrastructure investment.

The NDB was set up with an initial authorized capital of 100 billion US dollars during the sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, in 2014. It officially opened in Shanghai in 2015.

According to the expert, the NDB is very crucial for BRICS countries in both geopolitical and financial dimensions.

"BRICS countries like China and India are important players in the international financial institutions, but they are not being able to get the right amount of weightage that they deserve," said Sidhu.

He added that reforms in the existing structure such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have been very slow, which lead to the creation of new and alternative structures including the NDB.

In terms of finance, the bank plays a critical role in generating new sources of funding for projects in infrastructure and sustainable development, "not only in BRICS countries, but other countries as well," Sidhu noted.

When asked what the other areas the group can work together in the future, the professor called for more cooperation in climate change, cyber security, trade, energy and counterterrorism issues.

He said that once the bilateral differences between BRICS countries be resolved, the summit could really "open up the opportunity to take BRICS to a new level to make it a very important multilateral player."

"BRICS can come to a second blossoming (after 10 years since it was founded), I'm very optimistic," he added.
Businessmen eye trade boom in BRICS countries (Бизнесмены наблюдают бум торговли в странах БРИКС) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: business_opportunities

XIAMEN - As the 2017 BRICS summit draws near, young Brazilian businessman Marcos Caldeira is filled with anticipation.

"The BRICS Summit will further strengthen trade between Brazil and China and is a great opportunity for me to expand my business," said Caldeira, who runs a marble business in China.

Caldeira came to Xiamen city in east China's Fujian province from Vitoria in eastern Brazil two and a half years ago to learn Mandarin. He found the Chinese coastal city very familiar since it is similar in climate and environment to his hometown.

Inspired by the pro-business environment in the city, Caldeira soon started his own business for exporting Chinese stone products to South America.

Xiamen, a major trade port in Chinese history, is China's largest stone import center, while Brazil is a major stone exporter. But Caldeira imports processed marble products from Xiamen and sells it to Brazil and other overseas markets.

"Brazil is rich in stone, but the prices are high. The quality of China's artificial stone is very good and much cheaper, and is very popular in Brazil," he said.

In only two years, Caldeira's business has grown into one of the largest companies in China that export marble to Brazil. Its export value reached more than $10 million in 2016.

The BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- have become a major driving force in the global economy. With 44 percent of the world's population, the five contribute account for nearly one-quarter of global economic output and half of world economic growth.

Caldeira said the BRICS countries are playing an increasingly important role in trade, not only driving regional growth but also helping to lift the global economy.

"I hope the BRICS Summit can further promote trade between Brazil and China and reach more reciprocal deals," he said.

In addition to finding success, Caldeira has also found love in China. He and his wife just moved into a new house during the Spring Festival.

"China is my lucky place, and Xiamen is where my happy life unfolds. I love Xiamen," said Caldeira. "I believe my business will be even better this year."

In addition to the growing share of the BRICS economy as a part of global GDP, trade between BRICS countries is also expanding rapidly.

In the first half of 2017, China's imports from the other four BRICS countries exceeded $70 billion, 33.6 percent higher than the same period last year.

Chen Tanxiang, general manager of a textile company in Xiamen, has benefited from deepened exchange between BRICS countries.

In 2010, Chen switched from making plastic bags to manufacturing non-woven fabric, a then-emerging industry. But the industry faded with overcapacity in just three years, and Chen decided to expand his business to Africa.

Chen entered the South African market in late 2012 at an exhibition in Johannesburg, and his company has developed steadily in the country in four years.

He built a sales network with local stores, wholesalers and agents, providing products including disposal bags, shopping bags and storage supplies. The annual sales volume of his company grew from $100,000 in 2012 to more than $2 million today.

For him, the BRICS Summit, scheduled for Sept. 3 to 5, means more business opportunities.

"The BRICS Summit to be held in Xiamen is a great chance for South Africans to know the city and will bring trade ties between Fujian and the BRICS countries even closer," Chen said.

"Many African countries have limited the use of plastic bags, I hope I can replicate my business model in South Africa in other countries of the region," he said.
China the pillar of BRICS financial cooperation: Expert says (Китай - столп финансового сотрудничества БРИКС: эксперт) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, Emmanuel_Daniel

BRICS is an attractive investment proposition for global capital flows, and China's development has benefited other BRICS countries in achieving the goal to reestablish the moderate growth rate, said Emmanuel Daniel, chairman of The Asian Banker, a financial services industry intelligence provider in emerging markets, in Beijing on August 3.

In an interview on the sidelines of the organization's 2017 summit, The Future of Finance China, Daniel said that global capital flows as a whole has changed dramatically. "It does not go to the fastest growing countries. It does not go to the largest countries. It is looking for valuable propositions of technology, innovation and differences."

BRICS, comprising of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, have been coordinating constantly in the financial sector, and made major contributions in promoting growth for BRICS and the world economy as well as improving global economic governance.

As China will host the Ninth BRICS Summit this September in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, it will work actively with parties concerned to push forward financial cooperation among BRICS countries and achieve more, as financial cooperation is one of the top priorities of this year's summit.

"Countries like India, South Africa and Brazil will have different levels of commitment depending on the reality of the political situation in each country," Daniel said. He also believes things like governance transparency and political stability are topics that BRICS has to improve on to continue to be a viable investment destination for global capital.

BRICS countries in recent years have made landmark achievements like establishing the New Development Bank, Contingent Reserve Arrangement, offering vital platforms for enhancing and deepening the financial cooperation among BRICS countries.

In 2017, China will explore cooperation in fields of public-private partnership, boosting convergence of accounting standards on bond-issuing and related auditing, and taxation, in a bid to lift the current financial cooperation to a new level, Chinese Finance Minister Xiao Jie said at the BRICS summit for finance ministers and central bankers in Germany's southwestern city of Baden-Baden this March.
Quanzhou sees trade growth with BRICS nations (Цюаньчжоу испытывает рост торговли со странами БРИКС) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: trade_relations

Trade between Quanzhou and the other four BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa reached 8.82 billion yuan in the first half of the year.

The figure represents a 64.7 percent annual growth, according to data released by the local customs authority.

South Africa was the largest trade partner of Quanzhou with volumes worth 3.94 billion yuan ($586.4 million), up 60.4 percent from last year. Trade with Russia and Brazil both exceeded 1.9 billion yuan, with growth rates reaching 109.0 percent and 97.0 percent.

Trade with India recorded a slow growth of 2.2 percent with volumes worth 1.01 billion yuan.

Imports accounted for more than half of the total trade volume, growing 75.6 percent from last year to reach 5.42 billion yuan. Exports totaled 3.40 billion yuan representing a 50.0 percent growth.

Granite blocks, petroleum crude oil, and soybeans accounted for the majority of the imported goods, while bags, suitcases, footwear and clothes accounting for most of the exported commodities.

Trade processing with a growth rate of 64.0 percent accounted for 41.3 percent of the total trade volume.
Comprehensive reports, BRICS research materials
The BRICS - A decade on, the economies are no longer the reliable powerhouses of growth they once were (БРИКС. Десять лет спустя экономика перестала быть надежным источником роста, как было когда-то) / India, July, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, research


The BRICS economies were touted as the leading new countries for growth and the primary shift towards these countries and away from the traditional affluent countries was said to be beginning. To an extent this has happened and countries like China and India have been potent engines for world economic growth over the last decade. However, in 2017 the five economies of the BRICS are starting to look run down and some serious cracks have appeared in the theory that all these countries will come to dominate world economics. All five have begun to slow down and some have even dropped into recession in recent years. There are some problems which have affected all five, such as scandal and corruption, and some conclusions can be drawn about the future of other emerging economies as they try to develop into western style democratic economies and shed the traditions of old. We look at the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to examine just what the problems are and if there are resolutions to be found.

Key Highlights

- Both Brazil and India brought some comfort to the success of the BRIC acronym: both are democracies which have embraced the virtues of western style capitalism rather than the government controlled model pursued by Russia and China. Yet over recent years the luster has gone.
- China is the world's second largest economy and the world's most populous country. Ever since the country started to liberalize its economy, there have been astonishing levels of growth which have pushed the country to ever greater heights, with many expecting the eventual "catching" of the US economy in GDP terms within the century. However, the slow down experienced in China and the government's push to try and maintain high levels of growth is looking like an increasingly uphill struggle.
- After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was supposed to reform and become a major, market led, economic power. Only with the election of Vladimir Putin as president did economic fortunes for the beleaguered nation improve. Yet improving prosperity and rising living standards ceased some time ago. No longer is the average Russian gaining wealth – indeed, most are poorer now than several years ago.


- Looking at the key economies of the BRICS and seeing why their economies are faltering
- What has caused these slow downs and are they preventable
- What does this mean for the future of the global economy
- Is there anything that can be done to solve these problems

Reasons to buy

- Why is Brazil suddenly unable to produce the growth it has achieved in the past?
- What is the nature of Russian economic problems and are they systemic?
- Is the future positive for India and can it escape its huge debt burden?
- Can China effectively transition to a consumer economy and if it could is that even desirable?
- Why is the South African economy unable to take advatange of good potential for growth?
"The BRICS and the Future of Global Order" soon available in Chinese (Shanghai People's Press) («БРИКС и будущее глобального порядка»: скоро доступно на китайском языке (Шанхайская народная пресса)) / Brazil, July, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, research
Oliver Stuenkel


"The role and importance of the so-called BRICS has been hotly debated for a decade, but it has not been studied in a systematic way until now. Oliver Stuenkel's balanced and richly detailed work demonstrates that the BRICS are neither a coherent coalition seeking to overturn the global balance of power nor a passing fad of little importance. Instead, his analysis shows that cooperation among the BRICS seeks to foster the gradual emergence of a legitimate and rule-based multipolar order, and to press the United States and its allies to follow existing global rules more consistently. This nuanced and clearly-written book offers an illuminating glimpse into the future of global politics."

Stephen Walt, Harvard Kennedy School


"This is the best book on BRICS written to date. It brilliantly analyzes the origins of the group, the nature and scope of intra-BRICS cooperation, and its impact on world order. It is required reading for anyone interested in the emerging trends in world politics."

Amitav Acharya, UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance, American University


"For academics and practitioners in the North, this very readable book is an excellent crash-course introduction to the quirks of emerging market foreign policy, providing more nuance and more context than can typically be gleaned from the pages of The Economist and the Financial Times." (International Affairs)

Sean Burges, Australian National University (ANU)


"As a reference work, this book should go a long way in generating academic interest on a topic increasingly important to understand in a rapidly changing world." (International Studies Review)

Harsh V. Pant, King's College London


"In detailing the evolution of BRICS from 2009 to 2015 and in covering a full cycle of meetings that would be completed when Russia hosts the summit in 2015, the book covers every milestone in the path traversed hitherto. More importantly, it makes some substantive political points, apart from the chronological narrative (...) BRICS is an illustration of the "manyness" in multilateralism reflecting a multipolar world with new powers and diverse interests. Its promise and prospects in the next decade are worthy of study and Stuenkel will be a good guide in doing so." (Indian Journal of Diplomacy)

B. S. Prakash, Former Indian Ambassador to Brazil


"A very valuable guide to the BRICS as an international actor, and (...) the most informative account [on the topic] that I have read."

Ray Kiely, Queen Mary University of London


"This book is the first to look at what the formation of the BRICS actually means in terms of geopolitics and economic opportunities." (Business New Europe)

Chris Weafer


"This book is a must read for anyone interested in the BRICS and is highly recommended for undergraduate, graduate students, and faculty. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels."

CHOICE, Current Reviews for Academic Libraries


"Stuenkel [...] raises many important issues concerning the future of global governance, reform of the international financial system, perceptions of sovereignty in the non-Western world, and the political economy of inequality." (Jornal of Political Power)

Ekaterina Koldunova


"Many Western scholars have been questioning the "BRICS countries" and the continued existence of the concept. Oliver Stuenkel's new book, "The Future of the BRIC and the Future of the Global Order," responds to these criticisms and doubts."

Lei Wang


"Para aqueles que buscam compreender essas mudanças na ordem global e as nuances do comportamento dos países emergentes, o livro é ponto de partida obrigatório." (Mural Internacional)

Débora Coutinho Cunha


"Stuenkel gives a detailed 'under-the-hood' assessment of the BRICS forum, which is a necessary corrective to simplistic conclusions of the forum's potential or demise. (...) required reading for any scholar who wants to prepare for the year ahead and beyond." (Australia Outlook)

Akshay Mathur is the Director of Research and a Fellow of Geoeconomic Studies at Gateway House, India


"This book is a plate-full of references allowing for further reading and research." (Modern Diplomacy)

Gabriela Pascholati do Amaral


"A critical "historical biography" of the BRICS concept, making it suitable for a wider audience and satisfying both the needs of experienced researchers and readers in general." (Europe-Asia Studies)

João Mourato Pinto


"O teor do livro incentiva os leitores a considerar outros estudos sobre o bloco no intuito de entender sua relevância e promessa." (Revista de Estudos Internacionais)

Wagner Martins dos Santos


"O livro contribui significativamente para os estudos das potências emergentes ao corrigir visões e leituras generalistas sobre o tema." (Conjuntura Austral/ Journal of the Global South)

André Sanches Siqueira Campos



The transformation of the BRIC acronym from an investment term into a household name of international politics and, more recently, into a semi-institutionalized political outfit (called BRICS, with a capital 'S'), is one of the defining developments in international politics in the past decade. While the concept is now commonly used in the general public debate and international media, there has not yet been a comprehensive and scholarly analysis of the history of the BRICS term. The BRICS and the Future of Global Order offers a definitive reference history of the BRICS as a term and as an institution—a chronological narrative and analytical account of the BRICS concept from its inception in 2001 to the political grouping it is today. In addition, it analyzes what the rise of powers like Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa means for the future of global order. Will the BRICS countries seek to establish a parallel system with its own distinctive set of rules, institutions, and currencies of power, rejecting key tenets of liberal internationalism, or will they seek to embrace the rules and norms that define today's Western-led order?

About the Author

Oliver Stuenkel is Associate Professor of international relations at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) in São Paulo, where he coordinates the São Paulo branch of the School of History and Social Science (CPDOC) and the executive program in international relations.

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