Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 36.2017
2017.08.28 — 2017.09.03
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Working Together to Usher in the Second 'Golden Decade' of BRICS Cooperation (Совместно работая над вступлением во второе «Золотое десятилетие» сотрудничества БРИКС) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: Xi_Jinping, speech, Xiamen_summit

Working Together to Usher in the Second "Golden Decade" of
BRICS Cooperation

Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping
President of the People's Republic of China
At the Opening Ceremony of
The BRICS Business Forum

Xiamen, September 3, 2017

Your Excellency President Michel Temer,
Your Excellency President Jacob Zuma,
Representatives of the Business Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

Good afternoon! It is my great pleasure to have all of you with us in the beautiful city of Xiamen, renowned as the "Egret Island". The BRICS Summit will be held tomorrow. On behalf of the Chinese government and people and the people of Xiamen, and also in my own name, I warmly welcome all of you to the Business Forum.

Xiamen has been a trading port since ancient times as well as a gateway of China's opening up and external cooperation. Embracing the vast ocean, the city has hosted visitors from around the world. On a personal note, Xiamen is where I started off when I came to Fujian Province to take up a new post in 1985. Back then, being one of the earliest special economic zones in China, the city was at the forefront of China's reform and opening up endeavor and was brimming with development opportunities. Three decades later, Xiamen has become well known for its innovation and entrepreneurship, with burgeoning new economic forms and new industries, robust trade and investment and easy access to the world with air, land and sea links. Today, Xiamen is a beautiful garden city with perfect harmony between man and nature.

There is a popular saying here in southern Fujian, "Dedicate yourself and you will win," which embodies an enterprising spirit. Xiamen's success is a good example demonstrating the perseverance of the 1.3 billion-plus Chinese people. In close to 40 years of reform and opening up, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, we Chinese have forged ahead, fearless and determined, and we have successfully embarked on a path of socialism with distinctive Chinese features. We have encountered difficulties and challenges on the way forward. But we have persevered and kept pace with the times. With dedication, courage and ingenuity, we are making great progress in pursuing development in today's China.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

BRICS cooperation has now reached a crucial stage of development. In assessing its performance, it is important to bear two things in mind: the historical course of global development and evolving international landscape and the historical process of development of the BRICS countries, both individually and collectively, in the context of which BRICS cooperation is pursued. We are in a great era of development, transformation and adjustment. Although conflict and poverty are yet to be eliminated globally, the trend toward peace and development has grown ever stronger. Our world today is becoming increasingly multipolar; the economy has become globalized; there is growing cultural diversity; and the society has become digitized. The law of the jungle where the strong prey on the weak and the zero-sum game are rejected, and peace, development and win-win cooperation have become the shared aspiration of all peoples.

Against such a backdrop, a large number of emerging market and developing countries have come to the fore, playing an ever greater role in international affairs. BRICS cooperation is a natural choice made by our five countries, as we all share a desire for peace and development. In the past decade, we BRICS countries have surged ahead and become a bright spot in the global economy.

— The past decade has seen the BRICS countries making headway in pursuing common development. The sudden outbreak of the 2008 global financial crisis left the world economy reeling, which is yet to fully recover. Facing the external shock, our five countries have held the ground by strengthening the domestic economy, boosting growth and improving people's livelihood. In the past ten years, our combined GDP has grown by 179%, trade by 94% and urban population by 28%. All this has contributed significantly to stabilizing the global economy and returning it to growth, and it has delivered tangible benefits to three billion and more people.

— The past decade has seen the BRICS countries advancing results-oriented and mutually beneficial cooperation. Leveraging our respective strengths and converging interests, we have put in place a leaders-driven cooperation framework that covers wide-ranging areas and multiple levels. A number of cooperation projects have been launched that are in keeping with our five countries' development strategies and meet the interests of our peoples. In particular, the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement have provided financing support for infrastructure building and sustainable development of the BRICS countries, contributing to enhanced global economic governance and the building of an international financial safety net.

— The past decade has seen the BRICS countries endeavoring to fulfill their international responsibility. Committed to multilateralism, fairness and justice, our five countries have staked out our positions on major regional and international issues and made our proposals to address them. We have promoted reform of global economic governance to increase the representation and say of emerging market and developing countries. As a champion of development, we have taken the lead in implementing the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals, and engaged in close dialogue and cooperation with other developing countries to pursue development through unity.

As an old saying goes, the construction of a tall building starts with its foundation. We have laid the foundation and put in place the framework of BRICS cooperation. In reviewing the past progress of BRICS cooperation, I believe there are three important practices that should be carried forward.

First, treating each other as equals and seeking common ground while shelving differences. In terms of BRICS cooperation, decisions are made through consultation among us all, not by one country alone. We respect each other's path and model of development, accommodate each other's concerns and work to enhance strategic communication and political mutual trust. Given differences in national conditions, history and culture, it is only natural that we may have some differences in pursuing our cooperation. However, with strong faith in cooperation and commitment to enhancing trust, we can achieve steady progress in our cooperation.

Second, taking a results-oriented, innovative approach to make our cooperation benefit all. BRICS is not a talking shop, but a task force that gets things done. Our goal is to build a big market of trade and investment, promote smooth flow of currency and finance, improve connectivity of infrastructure and build close bond between the people. In pursuing this goal, our five countries are engaged in practical cooperation across the board, covering several dozen areas, including economy, trade, finance, science, technology, education, culture and health, thus giving concrete expression to the endeavor of building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation.

Third, developing ourselves to help others with the well-being of the world in our mind.Having gone through an arduous course of development, we BRICS countries share the agony of those people who are still caught in chaos and poverty. Since the very beginning, our five countries have been guided by the principle of dialogue without confrontation, partnership without alliance. We are committed to observing the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, international law and basic norms governing international relations in conducting state-to-state relations. When developing ourselves, we are ready to share development opportunities with other countries. The philosophy of BRICS cooperation has gained growing appreciation and endorsement, and it has become a positive energy in the international community.

All this is what the BRICS spirit is about. It is the shared value that has bound us in the past decade's cooperation. This spirit, constantly enriched over the years, has not only benefited our peoples but also enabled us to make a difference in the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

Reviewing past progress helps us forge ahead in the right direction. Currently, the global economy has resumed growth, with emerging market and developing countries delivering a strong performance. A new round of technological and industrial revolution is in the making, and reform and innovation are gaining momentum. We have enough reason to believe that our world will be a better place.

On the other hand, more than 700 million people are still living in hunger; tens of millions of people are displaced and become refugees; so many people, including innocent children, are killed in conflicts. The global economy is still not healthy enough and remains in a period of adjustment featuring weak growth, and new growth drivers are yet to emerge. Economic globalization is facing more uncertainties. Emerging market and developing countries find themselves in a more complex external environment. The long road to global peace and development will not be a smooth one.

Some people, seeing that emerging market and developing countries have experienced growth setbacks, assert that the BRICS countries are losing their luster. It is true that affected by complex internal and external environments, we BRICS countries have encountered headwinds of varying intensity. But the growth potential and trend of our countries remain unchanged, and we are fully confident about it. It is time to set sail when the tide rises. Going forward, we BRICS countries have a major task to accomplish, which is growing our economies and strengthening cooperation. We should build on past success, chart the course for future cooperation and embark on a new journey to jointly usher in the second "Golden Decade" of BRICS cooperation.

First, we should boost BRICS cooperation to create new impetus for economic growth of our five countries. In recent years, thanks to our strengths in terms of commodities supply, cost of human resources and international market demand, our five countries have driven global growth. As our five economies continue to grow, however, issues concerning resources allocation and industrial structure have become more acute. At the same time, the global economic structure is going through profound changes, evidenced by shrinking global demand and rising financial risks. All this has posed challenges to the traditional strengths of the BRICS economies, taking us to a crucial stage where we must work harder to overcome difficulties.

How should we get through this stage? Growth rate alone is not the answer. Instead, we should, on the basis of our current conditions and bearing in mind the long-term goal, advance structural reform and explore new growth drivers and development paths. We should seize the opportunity presented by the new industrial revolution to promote growth and change growth model through innovation. We should pursue innovation-driven development created by smart manufacturing, the "Internet Plus" model, digital economy and sharing economy, stay ahead of the curve and move faster to replace old growth drivers with new ones. We should eliminate impediments to economic development through reform, remove systemic and institutional barriers, and energize the market and the society, so as to achieve better quality, more resilient and sustainable growth.

Despite different national conditions, we BRICS countries are at a similar development stage and share the same development goals. We should jointly explore ways to boost innovation-driven growth. This requires us to improve macroeconomic policy coordination, synergize our respective development strategies, leverage our strengths in terms of industrial structure and resources endowment, and create value chains and a big market for shared interests, so as to achieve interconnected development. Basing ourselves on our own practices of reform and innovation, we should blaze a new path which may also help other emerging market and developing countries to seize opportunities and meet challenges.

Economic cooperation is the foundation of the BRICS mechanism. With this focus in mind, we should implement the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, institutionalize and substantiate cooperation in various sectors, and continue to enhance the performance of BRICS cooperation. This year, we have made progress in the operation of the New Development Bank and Contingent Reserve Arrangement, and in e-commerce, trade and investment facilitation, trade in services, local currency bond issuance, scientific and technological innovation, industrial cooperation and public-private partnership, thus expanding and intensifying economic cooperation. We should continue to implement agreements and consensus already reached and better leverage the role of current mechanisms. We should also actively explore new ways and new areas of practical cooperation and strengthen our ties to ensure durable and fruitful BRICS cooperation.

Secondly, we BRICS countries should shoulder our responsibilities to uphold global peace and stability. Peace and development underpin and reinforce each other. People around the world want peace and cooperation, not conflict or confrontation. Thanks to the joint efforts of all countries, global peace has reigned for more than half a century. However, incessant conflicts in some parts of the world and hotspot issues are posing challenges to world peace. The intertwined threats of terrorism and lack of cybersecurity, among others, have cast a dark shadow over the world.

We BRICS countries are committed to upholding global peace and contributing to the international security order. This year, we have held the Meeting of High Representatives for Security Issues and the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations. We have put in place the regular meeting mechanism for our permanent representatives to the multilateral institutions, and convened the Foreign Policy Planning Dialogue, the Meeting of Counter-Terrorism Working Group, the Meeting of Cybersecurity Working Group, and the Consultation on Peacekeeping Operations. These efforts aim to strengthen consultation and coordination on major international and regional issues and build synergy among the BRICS countries. We should uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and basic norms governing international relations, firmly support multilateralism, work for greater democracy in international relations, and oppose hegemonism and power politics. We should foster the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and take a constructive part in the process of resolving geopolitical hotspot issues and make our due contributions.

I am convinced that as long as we take a holistic approach to fighting terrorism in all its forms, and address both its symptoms and root causes, terrorists will have no place to hide. When dialogue, consultation and negotiation are conducted to create conditions for achieving political settlement of issues such as Syria, Libya and the Palestine-Israel conflict, the flame of war can be put out, and displaced refugees will eventually return to their homes.

Thirdly, we BRICS countries should contribute to enhancing global economic governance. Only openness delivers progress, and only inclusiveness sustains such progress. Due to sluggish global growth in recent years, such issues as uneven development, inadequate governance and deficit of fairness have become more acute, and protectionism and inward-looking mentality are on the rise. The global economy and global economic governance system, having entered a period of adjustment, face new challenges.

We should not ignore problems arising from economic globalization or just complain about them. Rather, we should make joint efforts to find solutions. We should work together with other members of the international community to step up dialogue, coordination and cooperation and contribute to upholding and securing global economic stability and growth. To this end, we should promote the building of an open global economy, advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, jointly build new global value chains, and rebalance economic globalization. Doing so will bring benefits to people across the world. We five countries should open more to each other, expand converging interests in this process, take an inclusive approach and share opportunities, so as to create even brighter prospects for growing the economies of the five countries.

The development of emerging market and developing countries is not intended to move the cheese of anyone but to make the pie of the global economy bigger. We should join hands to steer the course of economic globalization, offer more vision and public goods, make the governance model and rules more balanced and inclusive, and improve and reshape international division of labor and global value chains. We should work to reform the global economic governance system to make it commensurate with the reality of the global economic architecture. We should also improve governance rules for the new domains of deep sea, polar regions, outer space and cyberspace, so as to ensure that all countries share both rights and responsibilities.

Fourthly, we should increase the influence of BRICS and build extensive partnerships.As a cooperation platform with global influence, BRICS cooperation is more than about our five countries. Rather, it carries the expectations of emerging market and developing countries and indeed the international community. Guided by the principle of open and inclusive cooperation, we BRICS countries place high premium on cooperation with other emerging market and developing countries and have established effective dialogue mechanisms with them.

As a Chinese saying goes, "It is easy to break one arrow but hard to break ten arrows bundled together." We should leverage our respective strengths and influence, promote South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue, pool the collective strengths of all countries and jointly defuse risks and meet challenges. We should expand the coverage of BRICS cooperation and deliver its benefits to more people. We should promote the "BRICS Plus" cooperation approach and build an open and diversified network of development partnerships to get more emerging market and developing countries involved in our concerted endeavors for cooperation and mutual benefits.

During the Xiamen Summit, China will hold the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries, where leaders of five countries from different regions will be invited to join the BRICS leaders in discussing global development cooperation and South-South cooperation as well as the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Mutual understanding and friendship among peoples is crucial to enhancing BRICS cooperation and building extensive partnerships. We should fully leverage the role of people-to-people and cultural exchanges and encourage extensive public participation in BRICS cooperation. We should hold more events like cultural festivals, movie festivals and sports games that are popular among the people so that the BRICS story will be told everywhere and the exchanges and friendship of the peoples of our five countries will become an inexhaustible source of strength driving BRICS cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

The past decade has not only seen solid progress in the BRICS cooperation mechanism; it has also witnessed the unfolding of all-round reform and opening up in China and its rapid economic and social development. Over these ten years, China's economic aggregate has grown by 239% and its total volume of exports and imports in goods risen by 73%. China has become the world's second largest economy, the lives of its 1.3 billion-plus people have been significantly improved, and China has made increasingly greater contribution to both regional and global economic development.

It is true that as China's reform endeavors have entered a crucial stage where tough challenges must be met, some underlying difficulties and problems have surfaced, which must be addressed with resolve and determination. As a Chinese saying goes, "Effective medicine tastes bitter." The medicine that we have prescribed for ourselves is to carry out all-round reform. Over the past five years, we have adopted over 1,500 reform measures covering all sectors, with breakthroughs made in multiple areas, and the reform is being pursued with greater intensity. The pace of economic structural adjustment and industrial upgrading has accelerated. China's economy has maintained steady and sound performance, and new drivers sustaining development have grown in strength. In the first half of this year, China's economy grew by 6.9%, the value added from services accounted for 54.1% of the GDP, and 7.35 million urban jobs were created. All these achievements have proven that deepening all-round reform is the right path that we should continue to follow.

Going forward, China will continue to put into practice the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development. We will adapt to and steer the new normal of economic development, push forward supply-side structural reform, accelerate the building of a new system for an open economy, drive economic development with innovation, and achieve sustainable development. China will stay firmly committed to peaceful development and make even greater contribution to global peace and development.

Last May, China successfully hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was attended by 29 heads of state or government and over 1,600 representatives from more than 140 countries and 80-plus international organizations. This ushered in a new stage of translating the Belt and Road Initiative from vision to action and from planning to implementation. Forum participants discussed ways of promoting cooperation and development and reached broad consensus. Let me make this clear: The Belt and Road Initiative is not a tool to advance any geopolitical agenda, but a platform for practical cooperation. It is not a foreign aid scheme, but an initiative for interconnected development which calls for extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. I am convinced that the Belt and Road Initiative will serve as a new platform for all countries to achieve win-win cooperation and that it will create new opportunities for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The business community of the BRICS countries is the main force driving our economic development. Over the last decade, you have incorporated business development into BRICS cooperation, thus making important contribution to forging BRICS economic partnerships. The reason why we are holding the Business Forum on the eve of the Summit is to solicit your views and advice, so that we can work together to make the Xiamen Summit a success and enable BRICS cooperation to deliver. I hope you will leverage your strengths in terms of information, technology and funding to launch more practical and mutually beneficial cooperation projects that benefit our countries and peoples. What you do will help spur economic and social development and improve people's lives. The Chinese government will continue to encourage Chinese companies to operate and take root in other countries, and likewise, we also warmly welcome foreign companies to invest and operate in China.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

We BRICS countries will enter a second decade of more vibrant growth. Let us work together with other members of the international community. Let our cooperation deliver more benefits to the peoples of our five countries. Let the benefits of global peace and development reach all the people in the world.

In conclusion, I wish the Business Forum every success.

Thank you!

Xi's BRICS business forum speech earns accolades (Выступление Си на бизнес-форуме БРИКС заслуживает похвалы) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, Xiamen_summit

President Xi Jinping's keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum on Sunday earned wide praise from experts, international delegates and entrepreneurs.

"We are in a great era of development, transformation and adjustment," Xi said. "The law of the jungle where the strong prey on the weak and the zero-sum game are rejected, and peace, development and win-win cooperation have become the shared aspiration of all peoples."

Here is a collection of comments from attendees.

Jeremy Stevens, Beijing-based China economist of Standard Bank, Africa's largest bank

President Xi Jinping placed emphasis on his speech on next year's 40th anniversary of reform and opening up in which Xiamen played a significant part, being one of the country's first special economic zones.

"It was an interesting reminder of the importance of opening up to the world. As with his Davos speech in January, he was making clear his and China's commitment to globalization in marked contrast to the lurch to protectionism in the West."

Stevens said Xi was right to stress that quality of growth was now as important to the BRICS nations as the pace of it.

"He emphasized the importance of macroeconomic policy and industrial development policy coordination between the BRICS members, which was the right message. The group was never just about fast growth," he said.

Larissa Wachholz, director of Vallya, a business and investment consulting firm based in Brasilia, Brazil

Larissa Wachholz, director of Vallya, a business and investment consulting firm based in Brasilia, Brazil, said President Xi was right to emphasize the importance of the Shanghai-based New Development Bank, the so-called BRICS bank that issued its first loan at the end of last year.

"What will define the role of BRICS in the upcoming decade will be its ability to get the New Development Bank to work and accomplish the mission for what it was established - which is to implement the expensive infrastructure projects that will guarantee mid to long-term economic growth. That is key for us," she said.

Diane Wang, founder and CEO of

I'm most impressed by the reference to the 'BRICS Plus' by President Xi Jinping. It represents a new model of integration to turn the BRICS mechanism into a broader and more inclusive platform, through which more emerging economies can have dialogue and deepen cooperation.

President Xi also talked about the importance of digitalization in pushing ahead with globalization. Businesses should ride the boom of the internet economy and leverage new technologies to bolster growth and spur vitality.

Sun Pishu, chairman and CEO of Inspur Group Co Ltd.

The speech by President Xi Jinping gives a comprehensive conclusion of BRICS' achievements in the past 10 years and presents a clear roadmap for the coming decade. He made a special reference to the role of the business community in providing technology, capital and information to bolster economic growth.

This is in line with Inspur's long-term commitment to enhancing connectivity through digital means across countries and providing tailored-made solutions to tap into local needs. We are heartened by the key messages delivered by the president and we look forward to making more visible contributions in the areas of cloud computing and big data.

Nanda Lal Tiwari, sub-editor, The Rising Nepal.

President Xi said, we should get more emerging market and developing countries involved in our concerted endeavors for cooperation and mutual benefit. BRICS places a high premium on cooperation with other emerging market and developing countries and has established effective dialogue mechanisms with them. It shows that BRICS will not be limited to the five countries alone but include many other developing countries through different means and mechanisms, such as BRICS Plus.

The other thing I was interested in was how President Xi would draw a link between BRICS and the Belt and Road Initiative. As I come from Nepal, which has signed an MOU with China on the Belt and Road Initiative, it is heartening to note that BRICS and the Belt and Road Initiative will complement to enhance investment, trade and infrastructure, as well as economic development of the developing countries.

Octavio Fernandez, Mexico, CGTN-Spanish.

I am very impressed with the spirit of this new golden decade for BRICS. I am expecting a wider integration of more developing countries into this group. President Xi Jinping's speech is very important and it also calls, for me, attention to the need for peace and a stable environment in order to develop a deeper relationship among developing countries.

I am very interested in the last part of his speech, in which he said something related to BRICS. It's not just an organization for unilateral agendas, but for cooperation between developing countries. It's important to emphasize this because there are still some voices that are suspicious about the meaning of the BRICS countries. Actually, it is an organization for everybody.

Liu Zhen, senior vice-president (SVP) of Corporate Development at Bytedance, operator of content platform Jinri Toutiao.

President Xi Jinping's opening remarks in the city of Xiamen is a unique introduction to his keynote speech. The inclusion of cultural elements in such high-profile speeches is engaging and very much embraces 'internet thinking'. Such an approach encourages companies like us, who strive to promote cross-cultural communications using digital technologies and inspire people to create. It also underscores the importance of promoting people-to-people exchanges under the BRICS framework, on top of existing political and economic cooperation.

Hoda Alaaeldin Hassan Abdo, journalist and host, China Arab TV.

I just listened to President Xi's speech, and he was very intelligent as usual. He has very high IQ and EQ, so I love to listen to his speeches. The world that we live in today is in very bad need of the positive energy of hope. President Xi Jinping is always repeating peace, cooperation, win-win, and positive energy, and I think what he is doing is bringing peace, positive energy, and hope to all over the world.

The development we can see and witness in China today is because of a leader like him. His leadership is really great. Under his leadership, China is developing very well. I think he is doing such a great job and he is working really hard in bringing peace, hope and positive energy to the whole world, and that's something I really appreciate.

BRICS a Model of Cooperation for International Community (БРИКС - модель взаимодействия для международного сообщества) / Iran, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, international_cooperation,Georges_Lamaziere

The BRICS bloc of emerging economies serves as a model of pragmatic and flexible cooperation and coordination for the international community, according to Brazil's foreign ministry official.

Georges Lamaziere, undersecretary general for Asia and the Pacific region at Brazil's Foreign Ministry, said this days before the 9th summit to be held on Sept. 3-5 in Xiamen, China, of the bloc grouping Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

"The summit will certainly renew the commitment of the five emerging countries to promote, through consistent political will, a more just, inclusive and democratic world order," said Lamaziere in an interview with Xinhua.

The BRICS capacity to create synergy despite members' geographic, cultural, historical and socioeconomic differences "in itself sets an example for the global community," Lamaziere added.

Regular pre-summit preparatory meetings throughout the year, including more than 10 at the ministerial level, have consolidated the bloc's political will, he noted.

The bloc enters its second decade. The 9th annual summit is expected to produce a declaration that lays out both the progress BRICS has made so far and its vision of future cooperation.

Among the focus of discussions at the summit are cooperation in politics and security, coordination of macroeconomic policies and development strategies, enhancement of cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and promotion of South-South cooperation.

Lamaziere thinks "BRICS seeks to bolster the world order based on rules, with respect for differences and a focus on expanding political consensus."

Through "mutual respect, diplomacy and negotiation," the bloc "seeks collective solutions to common challenges," he added.

At a time when unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise, Brazil values the collaborative and multilateral nature of BRICS more than ever, said the Brazilian foreign ministry official.

"Brazil has taken on increasing responsibilities on the international stage and considers BRICS an important instrument for building a more just and balanced world order that answers to the interests of developing countries," he further said.

Lamaziere expressed confidence about the future of the bloc that now contributes more than half to the global growth.

"There is no doubt that BRICS will continue to play a relevant role in strengthening global economic stability and world order, not just because of the specific weight of its individual members, but above all because of the collective power of the group's actions," said Lamaziere.

On the eve of the BRICS Xiamen summit: a new force in making rules of global economic governance (Накануне саммита БРИКС Сямэнь: новая сила в принятии правил глобального экономического управления) / Russia, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, interview, Marina_Larionova, RANEPA

Interview with Marina Larionova, Head of RANEPA's Center for International Institutions Research (CIIR).

– It's been a decade since the cooperation of BRIC countries was launched in 2006. What can we say about the forum now, on the eve of the forthcoming summit in Xiamen?

On 3-4 September 2017, the 9th BRICS Forum will be held in Xiamen under China's chairmanship. Since its creation, the forum's activities have been drawing international attention and inspiring debates. The BRICS' sceptics regard the Grouping as a mere platform for coordinating the interests and positions of its members rather than a full-pledged institute of global governance. Others question its credibility and viability, projecting disintegration due to the BRICS countries' economic and civilizational divides. However, the analysis of BRICS performance proves that the Grouping has established itself as an informal forum of global economic governance, a concert of powers consistently strengthening cooperation, expanding and deepening the agenda, coordinating efforts to ensure economic recovery and growth of member states and promote development of all countries in the world.

By now the BRICS leaders have made 406 concrete commitments in 12 spheres of cooperation ranging from macroeconomics and finance to climate change and education. Moreover, since the BRICS' creation more than 160 meetings have been held in different formats with more than 50 documents adopted and a broad range of working bodies, contact groups and other mechanisms established.

The performance on priority commitments is high. On Sanya commitments 2011 it reached 74%. For the Deli summit decisions in 2012 compliance constituted 64%. The Durban summit returned to 75% as it was in 2011. The Fortaleza summit in 2014 ended with 70%. The average level of compliance performance for the Ufa summit commitments was 78%.

– What conclusions can be drawn from compliance with the previous summit's commitments?

– The compliance results for the 2016 Goa summit consolidate the positive dynamics of the last three years' performance and the forum development as such. In Goa the leaders reiterated their determination to use all policy tools – monetary, fiscal, and structural, individually and collectively, to achieve the goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. On energy matters they expressed support for a wider use of natural gas as an economically efficient and clean fuel.

They also agreed to strengthen joint efforts to enhance security in the use of ICTs, combating the ICTs use for criminal and terrorist purposes and improving cooperation between technical, law enforcement, R&D and ICTs innovation and capacity building institutions. Last but not least they reaffirmed commitment for cooperation among health and/or regulatory authorities, with a view to share the best practices and discuss challenges, as well as identify potential areas for convergence.

The final compliance score for Goa's commitments is the highest for all years of research, it reached 89%. Except for regional security, the level of each commitment's compliance in 2016 was higher than 50%. The maximum performance was demonstrated for 6 priority commitments: macroeconomic sphere (support for better incorporation of MSME into regional and global value chains), E-commerce, ICT, development, taxes and terrorism. The full compliance on these commitments proves the countries' will to support economic growth and generate new sources of growth as well as BRICS' growing role in support for development of poorer countries, especially Africa, and international security matters. BRICS performance on the commitments on natural gas as an environmentally friendly and economically efficient fuel and cooperation in the fight against corruption is also high, reaching 90%.

Compliance score in regional security commitment was the lowest – 40%, almost the same as in previous years. This trend is explained by the lack of actions from Brazil and South Africa (both demonstrated negative compliance) due to the perception that the Afghanistan problems do not constitute a direct threat to national security. Also this commitment implies that the member countries should undertake actions to build the local government's capabilities to resolve the security issue, limiting the scope for actions and available instruments.

– Is there a room for further development of BRICS as a forum?

The general trend shows that BRICS countries demonstrate determination to implement agreed decisions aimed at generating strong, sustainable and inclusive growth of their economies and other developing economies. This confirms BRICS potential to strengthen its positions as an important global governance institution. Moreover, the ICT issues, innovations and digital economy gain importance on BRICS agenda. Involvement of major players with a high degree of political influence and technological potential in the development of the digital economy is an important factor in the elaboration of a broader international agenda in this field. All in all, BRICS continues its development as an important global governance forum whose members make collective decisions on key issues of socio-economic development.

The RANEPA Center for International Institutions Research in cooperation with the University of Toronto annually prepares two BRICS compliance reports: interim and final. The final results are released on the eve of the BRICS summits.

China's BRICS summit — What to expect? (Саммит БРИКС в Китае - чего ожидать?) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: Xiamen_summit, expert_opinion

The biggest roadblock in the path of holding the 9th BRICS Summit on 3-5 September in Xiamen, China, was removed when India and China who were engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation on the Doklam plateau, decided on 28 August to move their forces. In the rather unusual second statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on that day, it was categorically stated that "expeditious disengagement of border personnel of India and China at the face-off site at Doklam was ongoing" and "has been almost completed under verification." The second statement was necessitated because China had started sowing doubts about the disengagement of its own troops from the plateau even before the proverbial ink had dried on the agreement between the two countries. It kept confusion alive by not accepting that it has given up on the idea of road construction which had emerged as the casus belli of the stalemate on the plateau on 16 June 2017.

India maintained throughout the duration of the impasse that the only solution was a simultaneous withdrawal to pre-standoff positions from both sides. China was apparently confounded and taken aback by India's response to its road construction. It demanded unconditional withdrawal of "trespassing" Indian troops from the plateau, which it claimed as its own territory. It is a matter of satisfaction that China has appreciated and adopted the path of dialogue and rationality to agree to a simultaneous pullback. The final outcome was a victory of maturity, sagacity and diplomacy.

China has been trying to paint the outcome as a victory for itself, but India knows and the world believes that China blinked first and that India behaved magnanimously to provide China a face-saver.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said on 30 August while briefing the media on the BRICS Summit that India should learn a lesson from the recent episode and make sure that such incidents do not recur in future. In fact the bigger lesson that China needs to internalise now, more than ever, is that India is no-push-over and needs to be treated as an equal with much greater respect and sensitivity. China's economy might be significantly larger than India's, but that is no reason for India to cower under the fusillade of vicious invectives and offensive abuses unleashed on it by Chinese ministries and media. India has many strengths and advantages over China like its diversity, democracy, demography, high rate of economic growth, etc., which are more than adequate to make up for the difference between the national comprehensive strengths of the two countries at this stage of their development. Wang also said that the two countries need to handle and control their problems "in the spirit of mutual respect." Unfortunately "respect" was one element that was totally missing from all the calumnies and insults that were hurled at India from China over the past 73 days.

One of the most significant reasons for China to climb down on the Doklam issue is the BRICS Summit in early September which it will be hosting.

India had made it clear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will find it impossible to travel to China for the Summit if expletives, indignities and threats kept emanating from China. China is conscientious of its image and wants to organise a picture-perfect summit where President Xi Jinping can be projected as a benevolent, presiding deity. It would have realised that the only way for Indian Prime Minister to attend the summit was to end the impasse. It has, however, tried to obfuscate on terms of ending the stalemate by projecting that it has emerged victorious. The truth is quite different!


Initially, the four country BRIC grouping (South Africa was added as the fifth member at the Sanya Summit in China in 2011) was conceptualised as a largely economic entity. However, on account of the vast territorial expanse as well as big populations and economic heft of these countries, other issues related to political, social and cultural matters have also been added to discussions. This is particularly true of India's Chairmanship last year when several innovative ideas like a BRICS Trade Fair, meeting of the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of the five countries, etc., were introduced for the first time. India also invited members of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation comprising of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, and Bhutan) for the Outreach Summit with BRICS members on 16 Oct 2016.

The five BRICS countries represent over 3.6 billion people, or about 42% of the world population; all five members are in the top 25 of the world by population and four are in the top 10. The five nations have a combined nominal GDP of USD 16.6 trillion, equivalent to approximately 24% of the global GDP, combined GDP (PPP) of around USD 37 trillion and an estimated USD 4.5 trillion in combined foreign reserves. Overall the BRICS are forecast to expand by 5.3% in 2017.

One of the major issues which was discussed at the last summit was fight against terrorism. As a result of the energy and political capital invested by Prime Minister Modi in isolating Pakistan as the epicentre of terror, the Goa Declaration contained strong language on the subject. The statements at the plenary by Russia and China were, however, less than satisfying. Terrorism can be expected to receive considerable attention at the forthcoming summit because of the large number of terrorist attacks around the world that have taken place in recent months.

One of the two major concrete achievements of BRICS is the establishment of the New Development Bank or BRICS Bank with an initial subscribed capital of USD 50 billion (with equal contribution of USD 10 billion by the five member countries) to promote and support public and private projects in BRICS and other developing countries. It has already started lending since 2016. The second is the Contingency Reserve Arrangement with USD 100 billion as the total capital. China has contributed USD 41 billion to the kitty with Brazil, India and Russia chipping in USD 18 billion each and South Africa committing USD 5 billion. The bank is headquartered in China and is led by an eminent Indian banker, K.V. Kamath.

Outreach summit

China has invited Thailand, Mexico, Tajikistan, Egypt and Guinea as non-BRICS countries in a "BRICS Plus" for interaction with BRICS members. Such outreach has been arranged by most countries which have hosted BRICS summits in the past. China's proposal this time was a little different. It wanted to formalise the "BRICS Plus" approach so that these countries would be invited to all future BRICS summits. This would have been an unofficial expansion and entry through the back door to the organisation. This has been opposed by other members because they do not wish the grouping to be diluted by addition of other countries, and also by those, which might be particularly friendly with China.

Choice of countries by China for the Outreach Meet is interesting. It is amusing that Pakistan, China's "iron brother" has not been invited.

China would have desisted from doing so because it must have felt that it would be an unwelcome and unpopular choice. Choice of Tajikistan throws up a few questions. China's closest ally and partner in Central Asia, particularly in energy (oil, gas, uranium) cooperation and infrastructure development under Belt and Road Initiative is undoubtedly Kazakhstan. It has, however decided to invite Tajikistan because this is the most susceptible and vulnerable country to terrorist attacks from Taliban forces from across the border in Afghanistan. China is concerned about terrorists infiltrating its Xinjiang region from Afghanistan and Central Asia. China has of late been actively reaching out to Tajikistan to strengthen military cooperation and expand security cooperation. This has made Russia also anxious and wary.

The choice of other countries has apparently been made to get suitable representation by major economies and influential friendly countries from the different continents viz. Asia, Africa and South America who would stay beholden to China for their inclusion in this prestigious gathering. This proposal has hit a roadblock and has had to be abandoned at least for the time being.

On 30 August Wang Yi accepted that China had not been able to convince other countries about its plans on "BRICS Plus". Wang said that China wants to "expand BRICS' role and influence by inviting other countries, and make it more capable of creating a multipolar world instead of one dominated by Western countries." Other countries are suspicious that China wants to expand the BRICS mechanism as a means to garner wider influence for itself.

What to expect?

Dynamism and effectiveness of any organisation depend on the strength and vitality of relations between different member states. There are major differences between the two major players, India and China. Doklam crisis mentioned above is a symptom, not the cause of stress in their bilateral ties.

India's relations with Russia are expanding. The 18th Annual Summit between PM Modi and President Putin in St. Petersburg on 1-2 June 2017 has given a huge fillip to bilateral ties. Both countries are trying to negotiate the hump which appeared last year with Russia engaging in military exercises with Pakistan soon after the Uri attack and India's surgical strikes, as also supplying it with sophisticated military armament. Russia's support for Pakistan at the Heart of Asia Conference and its initiative to hold discussion on peace process in Afghanistan without inviting India and Afghanistan last year resulted in fissures and misunderstanding in their relationship. Both countries are making efforts to overcome these hiccups. New Delhi and Moscow, despite some differences, generally recognise and respect each other's economic and geopolitical relevance.

Nonetheless, Moscow's cosying up to Islamabad has caused significant discomfort in New Delhi.

Moving beyond Asia, South Africa and Brazil are going through serious economic difficulties. South Africa is estimated to grow at 1% in 2017 and 1.5% in 2018. Brazil was expected to stage a recovery given President Michel Temer's pro-reform instinct. He had initiated a massive USD 14 billion privatisation programme. The country's credibility suffered a severe jolt, however, after Temer became embroiled in a corruption scandal in June 2017. Currently, he faces historic low approval ratings and could end up being removed, like his predecessor, by impeachment.

BRICS Forum also provides an opportunity to member countries to have discussions to resolve their bilateral irritants. Meeting between Modi and Xi could be a useful opportunity to reiterate the "Astana Consensus" of not allowing disagreements to convert into disputes and finding workable mechanisms to resolve border incursions and discords.

India will have to be wary of Chinese initiatives on the Belt Road Initiative at the Summit. India stayed away from the meeting in May in Beijing because it has sovereignty issues with the proposal as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir which belongs to India and is illegally occupied by Pakistan. China might try to get it approved, accepted and sanctified by the BRICS grouping.

BRICS has a huge potential to transform into a strong, effective and viable institution encompassing areas straddling political, security, economic and people to people contacts. For this to be achieved, China, which is the largest economy in the grouping and has pretensions to the big power status needs to be more sensitive and considerate to the interests and concerns of other member countries and not ride roughshod over their views. BRICS will not be able to realise its full potential till attention is not paid to resolve differences between member states, particularly India, China and Russia.

China, Brazil agree to further advance comprehensive strategic partnership (Китай и Бразилия договорились о дальнейшем развитии всеобъемлющего стратегического партнерства) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: China_Brazil, strategic_partnership

BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Brazilian counterpart Michel Temer on Friday agreed to further advance the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

"China and Brazil have forged a mature and solid relationship as the largest developing countries respectively in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres and leading emerging economies," Xi said.

For the past year, China and Brazil have had useful communication and coordination on BRICS cooperation and major global issues, with bilateral trade, investment and finance cooperation flourishing, Xi said.

Xi said China appreciates Brazil's long-term adherence to the one-China policy, and both sides should understand and support each other on issues relating to their core interests and major concerns.

Both sides should give full play to the role of the bilateral high-level commission for coordination and cooperation, synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with Brazil's development strategies and boost regional connectivity, according to Xi.

The two countries should expand cooperation on trade, agriculture, culture, tourism and sports and work closer within the UN, G20 and the World Trade Organization.

Xi proposed both countries deepen partnerships in infrastructure, manufacturing, mining, energy, industrial capacity and scientific innovation.

Xi said China will work with Brazil to advance BRICS cooperation in the economy, politics, security and culture to usher in a second golden decade of BRICS cooperation.

He said China supports Latin America's integration and development and is open to cooperation with the South American trade bloc Mercosur (Southern Common Market).

Temer said Brazil prioritizes the comprehensive strategic partnership and described China as a reliable friend of Brazil.

Temer said his country supports China in hosting a successful BRICS summit in Xiamen and will work with China to advance BRICS cooperation with the developing countries at large.

After the talks, the two heads of state witnessed the signing of cooperation documents ranging from industrial capacity, e-commerce, electricity, tourism, health to culture and other areas.

Prior to the talks, Xi held a red-carpet welcome ceremony for Temer at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Also on Friday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng met with Temer respectively.

Li said both sides should optimize trade structure and work to achieve a more balanced trade through opening up to each other.

He said China welcomes Brazil to import more competitive Chinese products while the Chinese government supports well-established businesses to invest in Brazil.

Yu said the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee will strengthen exchanges with Brazil's National Congress to contribute to the development of bilateral relations.

Temer arrived in Beijing on Thursday for a state visit at the invitation of Xi. During his stay in China, Temer will also attend the BRICS summit and the Dialogue of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries to be held in China's southeastern coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province from Sept 3 to 5.

BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- plays an important role on international stage. China holds the BRICS presidency this year.
BRICS ready for larger role: report (БРИКС готов к большей роли: отчет) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: report, research

The BRICS Summit to be held in China next week will play a positive role in shaping the global system, especially in time of retreat by advanced economies such as the United States, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The report by the Standard Bank, which is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, said the BRICS have an opportunity to assume a bolder global leadership role after two years of sliding fortunes, referring to the stagnant economies of some of its members.

BRICS includes the five major emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The report said that the BRICS' heads of state will meet from Sept 3-5 in Xiamen, China, for the 9th annual summit, with their challenges in mind. "There remains clear and growing space for the BRICS to continue to nurture the enthusiasm and developing world emphasis that their formation arose to represent," said the report titled BRICS 2017 - Poised for New Relevance.

The proportionate global relevance of the BRICS has continued to rise. The BRICS' collective share of global GDP increased from 16 percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2016. Over the past decade the BRICS have accounted for nearly 50 percent of the world's GDP growth, according to the report.

India and China are the two fastest-growing large economies in the world. The two governments on Monday announced an end of their 70-day border standoff following Indian border troops incursion into China's territory. On Tuesday, Indian External Affairs Ministry confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China.

According to a February report by the PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the top seven world economies in terms of purchasing power parity by 2050 will be, in order, China, India, US, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia and Mexico, four of which are current BRICS countries.

The Standard Bank report noted that the BRICS are still a collectively profound trading partner for developing economies in general and Africa in particular. It said the recent declines in BRICS-Africa trade must be seen with the context of a far more profound drop-off of US-Africa trade since 2012.

The report praised the functioning of the Shanghai-headquartered New Development Bank (NDB) as a concrete progress from past BRICS summits. NDB aims to provide an alternative

source of financial support and infrastructure financing for the BRICS and other emerging economies.

"Rhetorical and practical retreat by key advanced economies, in particular the US, from their commitment to global multilateral agreements on, for instance, climate change; as well as a recent rise in economic nationalism and protectionism provides the BRICS with the opportunity to boldly assume a new and profoundly constructive global leadership role in championing these same causes," the report said.

In a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, on Aug 22, US President Donald Trump praised himself for withdrawing the US from the "disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership" and "job-killing Paris Climate Accord".

And he said if the US cannot make a deal, it will probably terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Fall of the Global Hegemon: How BRICS Countries Can Replace the US (Падение глобального гегемона: как страны БРИКС могут заменить США) / Russia, September, 2017
Keywords: BRICS_world, expert_opinion, Gevorg_Mirzayan

As the 9th BRICS Summit kicks off in China's southeastern city of Xiamen, RIA Novosti contributor Gevorg Mirzayan reviews how the block can become an alternative center of control over global processes and replace the US in making key political and economic decisions, which will have a constructive influence on the world order.

On September 3-5, China's southeastern city of Xiamen is hosting the 9th Summit of BRICS countries. The meeting will be also attended by non-member countries, such as Egypt, Mexico, Thailand, Guinea and Tajikistan.

Gevorg Mirzayan, associate professor at the Department of Political Sciences at the Finance University of the Russian Government and RIA Novosti contributor, reviews how this format can become a platform for making key political and economic decisions, which will have a constructive influence on the world order, and how the bloc can replace the US in the role of a global hegemon.

Is the Throne Vacant?

"It was just that simple before: the regulation of the global processes (well or badly, that is another issue) has been controlled by the collective West. However it is not that simple any longer. First, the collective West has ceased to exist: serious contradictions in the national interests and the focuses on the global processes have led to a discord (and some say to a split) between the US and Western Europe," Mirzayan opined in his recent article for RIA Novosti.

He further elaborated that Germany has already notified that it will not only go its own way, but will file lawsuits into international courts against the US in case it deems to sanction German companies for their trade with Russia.

Second, he says, key Western country, the US, is no longer able to effectively rule the global processes. American elites, deeply engaged in their internal political struggle and their crusade against their own President, either ignore the global processes, or view them extremely frivolously, or simply use them for solution of their internal political issues, such as muscle-flexing with North Korea or anti-Russian sanctions.

"The weakening of the US creates a vacuum of power. And as one single country is simply unable to replace the US on the post of the world "moderator", it opens alluring prospects for regional blocs and alliances. And first of all, for BRICS," the author says.

Mirzayan further reviews the advantages and disadvantages of the bloc.

BRICS unites countries, which are too different. The bloc has never been and won't become in the nearest future an integrative group similar to NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) or the Eurasian Economic Union. There too many contradictions between them.

For example, with regards to the vision of the future world, Russia and China oppose the reforms of the UN and the UN Security Council in particular, while India, Brazil and South Africa support the idea.

Moscow and Beijing oppose the US unilateral control over the global financial-political system, while the rest member states are satisfied with the US dominance.

This is not mentioning that all the member states are located geographically in various corners of the world and the scale of their economic cooperation is not high, for example, between Russia, Brazil and South Africa.

And finally, there are serious bilateral conflicts between some member states. For example India and China are balancing on the verge of war over the disputed territories in the Himalayas and are in a serious competition over the influence in South-East Asia.

The Partnership of Sovereign

However despite all the complications and its certain "sponginess", the bloc remains a key pretender for the role of an alternative center of control over global processes, Mirzayan says and provides his arguments in support.

First, the bloc unites the most powerful developing countries. Second, these are fully sovereign states, which are eager to maintain this sovereignty and have no desire to undermine the sovereignty of other countries.

There is no "axial state", a dominant state in the BRICS. On the one hand, it is bad, as no country takes a role of setting up a unified aim. On the other, there are certain advantages: no country is imposing its program on the others.

The author further recalls the words of Vladimir Putin, who once said that "when certain approaches do not coincide, there is a patient and meticulous work being done on bringing them closer."

This is a prototype of a control system in a multipolar world, Mirzayan says.

"This is why BRICS is viewed as an important platform for making political and economic decisions which will have a constructive influence on the world order," he says.

The political scientist further outlines what Moscow expects from this format.

First of all, Vladimir Putin is planning to discuss with his BRICS partners fight against terrorism, corruption and narcotics. Unlike the US, which has long been dividing terrorists into "friends" or "foes" and the EU, which has long been in the grip of the so-called "political correctness" and is unable to make any decisions, Russia is going to be supported by India and China, which have been long suffering from terrorists.

Besides, Moscow plans to use this format to promote Russian-Chinese proposal of the settlement of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, based on the idea of a "dual freeze": freezing of US-South Korea joint military exercises in exchange for North Korea freezing its nuclear activities. Apart from easing the tensions in the region, the plan is also aimed at decreasing US military-political presence in the area.

"If Russia and China are able to convince other BRICS member states to support this proposal, it will come as a serious blow to the US positions in the region," Gevorg Mirzayan explains.

Economically, BRICS should become a platform for setting up global financial institutions, alternative to those controlled by the US, which Washington is using in its own, and not global, interests. The New Development Bank, formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, can serve as an example of this initiative.

Besides, the member states will work on decreasing the dominance of the US dollar as the world reserve currency. They have already agreed about partial trade in national currencies, the author concluded.

Experts Say BRICS an Outstanding Force in Global Governance (Эксперты говорят, что БРИКС - выдающаяся сила в глобальном управлении) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance

More than a decade after its establishment, BRICS, grouping five major developing countries from four continents, is recognized by international experts as an irreplaceable force in global governance.

Thanks to close cooperation and coordination between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, BRICS has achieved fruitful results that not only benefit the five member countries, but also contribute to safeguarding the interests of developing countries as a whole and improving the global governance system, according to experts.


BRICS countries have created a new paradigm for mutual benefit cooperation among emerging and developing economies since the mechanism was established in 2006. BRICS has been hailed as an "accelerator" in the transformation of the global economic governance system. The member countries have managed to increase their say in major international financial institutions and have been steadily boosting the reform of those institutions.

One of the major achievements of the BRICS mechanism is that it has helped increase the representation and say of developing countries in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in recent years, experts pointed out.

Evandro Carvalho, director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the Brazilian college Getulio Vargas Foundation, said BRICS countries have become a significant part in making global economic rules.

BRICS countries have demonstrated their vigor and vitality by championing an open and multilateral world order against a growing tide of protectionism from Western countries and the many challenges on the road of global economic recovery, he said. Meanwhile, BRICS countries have established an all-dimensional cooperative dialogue mechanism covering various fields to coordinate their standings and voices on major global and regional affairs.

BRICS countries are heard speaking one voice on many global occasions. Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the United Nations (UN), spoke on behalf of all BRICS countries on April 18 at a high-level political forum on sustainable development, marking the first time the five members spoke one voice on major international affairs at a U.N. meeting.

It is also worth noticing that the establishment of the BRICS New Development Bank has not only boosted the common development of the five member countries, but has also injected fresh driving force into the mechanism's leading role in South-South Cooperation. Referring to the establishment of the bank as a significant event in the development of BRICS, Carvalho said the bank has played a role in enlarging the influence of the five-member mechanism.


Experts agree that BRICS countries have been playing an ever bigger and more important role in global governance.

Varaprasad S. Dolla, a professor from Jawaharlal Nehru University of India, said today that developing countries, particularly BRICS members, are able to contribute more to global growth.

"BRICS has now emerged as a major block. Therefore, it is likely that they will have a lot more than they had before to contribute to economic governance," said Varaprasad. Over the past decade, BRICS has grown into an engine driving global economic growth, with their contribution to the world economy rising from 12 percent to 23 percent. As of last year, BRICS countries accounted for nearly a quarter of the world economy and contributed more than half of global growth.

These numbers, experts said, testify to an ever enhancing and expanding role of BRICS countries in global governance.


It is widely expected that the upcoming BRICS summit, scheduled for Sept. 3-5 in Xiamen, a coastal city in southeast China's Fujian Province, will usher in yet another golden decade of development for the mechanism.

According to Carvalho, the Brazilian expert, leaders from BRICS countries will compare notes on measures and plans for further cementing cooperation at the Xiamen summit.

China, currently holding the rotating presidency of BRICS, can play a leading role in deepening the cooperation among BRICS countries, he said. Meanwhile, experts have been highlighting the modality of "BRICS Plus," which is aimed at building wider partnership through dialogue with developing countries and international organizations.

They said "BRICS Plus" is conducive to building the mechanism into the most influential platform for South-South Cooperation and increasing the representation and influence of the mechanism in an all-round way.

Forging a more extensive partnership between BRICS and other developing countries will make both bilateral and multilateral trade and mutual investment between the countries more effective, experts said.

Varaprasad, for his part, said if BRICS has to become truly representative and inclusive, then initiative like "BRICS Plus" is imperative. "Therefore inviting a number of countries from the south to the BRICS summit in Xiamen is to be welcomed by one and all."

"To me, 'BRICS Plus' is a kind of another phase in the evolution of BRICS - from BRIC to BRICS and now BRICS Plus. So it has evolved, becoming more inclusive, becoming more representative," he said.

Xiamen BRICS Summit will inject vitality into China-Indian relations (Сямэньский саммит БРИКС введет жизненные силы в китайско-индийские отношения) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: India_China, expert_opinion
Author: Rabi Sankar Bosu

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of BRICS. With the theme, "BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future," China will host the 9th BRICS Summit in East China's coastal city of Xiamen, Fujian province, from Sept 3-5, in its capacity as chair of the influential bloc comprising five countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. This is the second time China will host the event after 2011.

It is hoped that the Xiamen summit will bring together the leaders of all the member countries, including President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, President Michel Temer of Brazil, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and President Xi Jinping of China. It is important to note BRICS countries have entered a second "golden decade" amid mounting global challenges, as well as increasing uncertainties and instability in the international landscape. As such, it can be expected that the leaders of the five countries will make greater progress in their cooperation adhering to the multilateralism principle and basic norms for international relations.

Since the first summit in 2009, the BRICS group, home to 43 per cent of the world's population with a combined GDP of over USD 16 trillion, is playing an integral role in shaping global economic policy and fostering a healthy exchange of ideas and innovation within the bloc. The BRICS countries have been seen as an engine of world economic growth. Together, the five countries have been the source of more than half of global growth in the past 10 years. As per the words of Chinese President Xi Jinping, "The BRICS countries are the champions of the emerging countries and developing countries. They are important members of the G-20."

Cooperation among BRICS nations is an innovative practice that has surpassed the outdated mentality of political and military allies and built the partnership with mutual trust and benefits. A few words from President Xi deserve to be quoted here: "As long as we follow the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness, cooperation and win-win results, and work together to build a closer BRICS partnership, we will surely have the second golden 10 years for BRICS cooperation." Xi said this on July 28 while meeting with heads of the delegations for the 7th Meeting of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues.

However, the 9th BRICS summit is taking place against the backdrop of deteriorating China-India relations following the ongoing standoff between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Donglang area of the Sikkim sector of the China-India border. It is expected China and India, as major countries with great influence in BRICS, should boost mutual cooperation despite some friction.

As two big neighboring countries, India and China are the two most vital powers within the BRICS countries. Both countries are now members of basically all international organizations and institutions and significant investors in almost all regions of the world. The two countries are the second and seventh largest world economies, respectively, ranking second and first in terms of growth rate, and first and third in terms of contributions to world economic growth.

From the Indian perspective, it is expected that Modi will hold a detailed bilateral discussion with Xi on the sidelines of the BRICS summit to normalize heated relations with China that benefit the people of both countries.

The two leaders last met in the BRICS leaders meeting on the sidelines of the G20 meetings in Hamburg on June 7. They complimented each other's nation's roles in furthering the objectives of the BRICS group and the fight against terrorism. Modi appreciated the momentum in BRICS under Xi's chairmanship and extended full cooperation for the group's upcoming 9th summit a success.

President Xi also appreciated India's strong resolve against terrorism and the momentum in BRICS introduced under India's chairmanship and through the outcomes of the Goa Summit in 2016. He also appreciated India's success in economic and social development and wished India even bigger success.

It's really encouraging that the efforts to improve relations between the two countries is embodied by the two leaders extending their hands of friendship at every available opportunity and there is hope that such exchanges will lead to greater understanding and even better trade and bilateral ties.

Undoubtedly, the upcoming 9th BRICS summit will be a great platform for India, where its voice will be heard by all countries. It can be said that India needs BRICS more than China does. BRICS has provided a platform for India to become an international rule-maker.

Besides, India can use BRICS to strengthen its relations with stronger economic actor China, if it wants to attract Chinese investment via the New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. It will also be better for India to maintain its strategic partnership with Russia, Brazil, South Africa and other developing nations through BRICS.

To confine oneself in a cage or build walls is certainly no way out. Surely, cooperation and mutual trust between India and China will serve the interests of the region. It's better for the two countries to reap some early harvest benefits in resolving their decades-old vexed border issue.

A Chinese proverb says, "When brothers are united, their sharpness can break metal." As the two countries are neighboring powers, as well as members of BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and G-20, it is hoped both sides will focus on cooperation and manage well such existing problems as the boundary issue, uphold a positive attitude to address emerging issues of the bilateral ties and set a vision for China-India relations.

To sum up, it can be hoped China and India will re-energize the BRICS mechanism, polish the color of BRICS, and strengthen the position of the bloc as the representative of emerging economies. The two countries must join hands in a durable friendship to rejuvenate an "Asian Century".

Rabi Sankar Bosu is the Secretary of New Horizon Radio Listeners' Club in West Bengal, India.

India's clever use of the BRICS card in Doklam standoff (Умное использование Индией "карточки БРИКС" в противостоянии Доклама) / India, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, India_China
Author: Abhijnan Rej

For almost two and a half months, Indian and Chinese troops found themselves in a standoff in the Doklam plateau in Bhutan—the worst crisis between the two countries in three decades. That standoff ended on Monday. While both sides seem to have found acceptable face-savers, it is clear that India stands vindicated: the status quo in the Doklam plateau has been restored. Chinese bulldozers have now retreated from the disputed sliver of land (India's core ask) even though India moved its troops out first (thus meeting a key Chinese demand). What is exceedingly interesting about how the crisis ended was its timing—a week before China hosts the annual BRICS (involving Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in the coastal city of Xiamen.

To be sure, the upcoming meet (which would have, by custom, included a bilateral meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi) is not the sole reason why China agreed to, what in effect is, a climbdown. For example, the local balance of forces and the terrain would have put India ahead of China in any limited military conflict in the Doka La tri-junction area, thus removing Chinese incentives to forcibly dislodge Indian troops. A consequent military debacle would have proved very expensive for Xi ahead of the autumn congress of the Chinese Communist Party. But at the end, it was Chinese imperative to host a successful summit in Xiamen that may have provided the requisite push to end the face-off in Doklam.

Since becoming president in 2013, Xi has, in his quest to restore China as a central power in the international system, relied on economic and military coercion, and quasi-liberal rhetoric around solidarity with great and small powers alike. From the latter has flowed a new Chinese diplomatic lexicon: of "a new type of great power relations," "win-win pragmatic cooperation," and, most recently, "major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics". This rhetoric has sought to couch China's geopolitical ambitions in benign and acceptable terms. A unifying feature of Chinese diplomatese under Xi has been an emphasis on sovereignty and equity even when Chinese foreign-policy practice has ignored these precepts.

Enter BRICS. Even though the grouping predates Xi's ascendance to power, he has promoted it as a template for cooperation between emerging powers. As such, BRICS has been a key proof-of-concept that China is willing to play a greater role in global governance—and that it will not remain a perennial shirker in the international system. China's membership in BRICS has concretely promoted its interests in multiple ways. The BRICS push to reform international financial institutions has led to greater accommodation of China in the International Monetary Fund, for example. BRICS' nascent norm-making around Westphalian sovereignty and equitability in the international order has been a useful instrument for Beijing to fight the agenda-setting monopoly of Atlantic powers. Above all, BRICS has furthered the cause of a multipolar world—the leading trope in recent Chinese foreign policy—more than any other institution that China has had stakes in.

Western analysts—when not dismissive of the grouping as a glorified talk shop with very little internal coherence—have harboured a nagging suspicion that BRICS seeks to promote an illiberal world order. A saving grace for the grouping in countering this perception has been India's membership. Euro-Atlantic powers realize that as a de-facto member of the political West, India's deep-seated preference for the status quo, its close relationship with the US, and commitment to a liberal global order is what prevents BRICS from becoming an anti-Western coalition led by Russian muscle and Chinese money.

Was Modi to boycott the Xiamen summit, it would have been the end of BRICS as we know it and reduced the grouping to a motley of expansionist powers (Russia and China) and perennial basket cases (Brazil and South Africa). As Xi seeks to fashion himself as the champion of globalization in the era of Donald Trump—witness his Davos speech this January—this would have been terrible press. Beyond the issue of optics: the Chinese have aggressively pushed for expanding BRICS to include other upcoming economies in the run-up to the Xiamen summit, perhaps as a way to interface a "BRICS Plus" grouping with Xi's signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Was Modi to skip the summit, this proposition would have been dead on arrival.

If several news reports are to be trusted, New Delhi shrewdly calculated this and accordingly played the boycott card. What added potence to this threat was its credibility: witness how India sat out the Belt and Road Initiative mega-forum earlier this year—the only major country to do so. Beijing would have also been cognizant of how Saarc essentially collapsed when New Delhi refused to participate in the annual summit in Islamabad last year.

At the end of the day, the surprising thing is not that Delhi played this card. It is that Beijing could not foresee this as a distinct possibility when it embarked on a prolonged standoff with India aided by its shrill state-controlled media. Despite China's braggadocio, through the standoff in Doklam, it has come across as a parvenu in the international system. It has failed to absorb an elementary insight that the very institutions that have facilitated its prominence can be potentially used to constrain its behaviour and shape its choices.
Why the BRICS meeting is significant for India & China against the backdrop of Doklam issue (Почему встреча БРИКС важна для Индии и Китая на фоне проблемы Доклама) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, India_China, China_BRICS
Author: Sreeram Chaulia

The ninth summit meeting of the BRICS group of nations in Xiamen, China, on September 3-5 is an occasion to reflect on how far this unique institution of emerging economies has come, what its key contributions are, and where it is headed.

The Chinese hosts have highlighted this year's summit as marking the completion of one "golden decade" of cooperation among member states who are showing the path to other developing countries via determined multilateralism. In the contemporary era, apart from the G-20, there is no other notable multilateral body except BRICS which has delivered tangible benefits to large masses of people.

The New Development Bank (NDB) of BRICS, headed by an Indian and headquartered in China, has been making rapid strides. It issued its first tranche of loans for seven projects worth $1.5 billion with a focus on solar, wind and hydroelectric power generation. A second cluster of projects amounting to $1.4 billion has just been approved by the NDB in areas such as flood control and rural water management.

Compared to Western-dominated funding mechanisms like the World Bank, which on average take two years to approve loans, NDB is doing so in just six months and that too by disbursing in local currencies. As NDB expands and goes up to a capacity of fifty projects involving tens of billions in loans by 2021, the prospect of a new multilateral financing option available to the whole developing world and driven by leading developing countries will become an operational reality.

Political Undertone
Besides spurring South-South economic development, trade and investment, BRICS has political benefits. It helps to soften worst-case scenarios stemming from bilateral bad blood. For example, the military face-off between India and China over the Doklam plateau was resolved partly owing to Beijing's concern that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi might boycott the BRICS summit in Xiamen, an unprecedented possibility that would have poured cold water on China's desire to celebrate BRICS as a microcosm of a peaceful world order where developing countries eschew narrow nationalistic animosities and treat each other respectfully.

Modi understood China's vulnerability and sensitivity as the host and kept his participation in the Xiamen summit in abeyance until the Doklam deal was hashed out. The 'BRICS card' came in handy for India to moderate China's initially adamant and belligerent stance that threatened "annihilation" of the Indian Army. This is an illustration of the potential of multilateralism, which has been defined by John Ruggie as based on "generalised principles of conduct" for the whole group "without regard to particularistic interests of the parties or strategic exigencies".

China prefers bilateral instruments to tackle territorial rows and contests because it enjoys a huge conventional military superiority over any single rival, be it India, Vietnam, the Philippines or Japan. But by investing its prestige in BRICS as a collective medium through which China can shape the emerging world order, Beijing has also been forced to constrain its worst jingoistic and bullying characteristics.

The gap between China's rhetoric of "peaceful coexistence" with the community of fellow developing countries and its one-on-one aggression towards them is thus somewhat mitigated by the sustained multilateral progress of BRICS. If upholding multilateralism at a time when Western powers are abandoning it is a concrete accomplishment of BRICS, transitioning to what China is labelling as a "new kind of globalisation" is no less a monumental task.

All BRICS countries oppose Western economic sanctions, restrictions on international trade and migration of skilled personnel that would deprive them of export markets and revenues. At the Xiamen summit, they will be taking aim at protectionist policies and values being instituted by US President Donald Trump and his European counterparts. BRICS aspires to declare the dawn of a new era where the baton for upholding liberal principles has passed from a fractious West to a resurgent East which is now making rules for global governance.

Interestingly, China's clarion call for "globalisation 2.0" under the aegis of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has invited scepticism due to its undemocratic Communist credentials and the unilateral and hegemonic nature of its Silk Road revival blueprint. But a revised globalisation chaperoned by BRICS, which includes democracies like India, South Africa and Brazil, is relatively credible.

This does not imply that China is masking its imperialistic tendencies and using BRICS as a handmaiden for its individual aggrandisement. The history of BRICS proves that all five members have independent minds which prevent a single country from hijacking and monopolising the agenda.

Beijing has been selling the "Chinese model" of rapid economic ascent with heavy state controls as the ideal template for the entire Global South. But BRICS has enough variety and diffusion of power to check China's ambitions of painting the world in monochrome red. The second "golden decade" of BRICS, when we could see new member countries getting admitted, will further demonstrate how China cannot impose its will on a pluralistic and multipolar world.
BRICS Summit: India appears to be a misfit in the China-led axis after Doka La crisis (Саммит БРИКС: Индия оказалась неудачником на оси Китая после кризиса Доклама) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, India_BRICS, India_China

Let's say if B, R and S side with C on BRI, then I will be left isolated. Similarly, I may also be sidelined if C, R, B and S refuse to endorse its line on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.

Without putting the readers through any more confusion, let's be clear. The upcoming Xiamen edition of the annual BRICS Summit could be a defining moment for the emerging-economy grouping as India and China, two key members, seek to reconcile post-Doka La blues and strike some sort of an understanding amid increasingly divergent geopolitical trajectories.

The scenario mentioned above are just two examples of irreconcilable differences that might crop up. China, which seeks the emergence of a Sino-centric global order, won't have difficulty in getting Russia and South Africa to endorse its grandiose Belt and Road Initiative. China has grand plans for Africa within the BRI framework while Russia, which recently struck a $11 billion deal with Beijing for cross-border projects, has made it a fulcrum of bilateral ties.

As far as Brazil is concerned, China is its single-largest investor. A Xinhua report says that in the first four and a half months of 2017, Chinese firms have pumped in "$5.67 billion through mergers and acquisitions in Brazil, representing 37.5 percent of the country's total investment."

Even the most optimistic of Indian negotiators won't take Brazil's support for India's reticence on BRI for granted, leaving India isolated if China plans to use BRICS as yet another platform for BRI hype. India's position on BRI violating its sovereignty (a core concern) is well known. New Delhi was the only major nation to sit out the recently held BRI jamboree.

Similarly, India may find itself sidelined again if it seeks to deliver a strong message against Pakistan's role as the 'mother ship of terrorism', as it did during last year's edition in Goa.

On Thursday, China stopped just short of warning India against raising the issue of terrorism, specifically Pakistan's role in it. "China is willing to work with Pakistan and other countries to enhance cooperation on counter-terrorism and protect regional security and stability. We have taken note of the concerns of the Indian side on counter-terrorism issues of Pakistan, but I don't believe that it should feature prominently during the Xiamen Summit," China's foreign ministry said at a media briefing in Beijing.

The subtext is interesting and points to the deep chasm that exists between India and China even on a topic of global concern such as terrorism — one of the core issues on which BRICS members are expected to reach a consensus. China cannot possibly hope that Pakistan-sponsored terror will stop being a part of India's discourse. Yet in its warning to India and steadfast defence of Pakistan, China is trying to push through that agenda.

For India, more worrying signs emerged on Friday when Russian president Vladimir Putin, writing for The Times of India newspaper, touched on a range of issues to be discussed during BRICS Summit including terrorism but made no mention of Pakistan. In calling for a "broad counterterrorism front" on terrorism, Putin's words were suitably vague, indicating the growing distance between the two nations. It is quite clear that bilateral trade is failing to bridge the geopolitical gap. Putin invoked Syria, tension on Korean Peninsula but had nothing to say about India's long struggle with cross-border terror.

"…The fight against terrorists in Syria and other countries and regions must continue. Russia calls for going over from debates to the practical creation of a broad counterterrorism front based on international law and led by the UN. Naturally, we highly appreciate the support and assistance of our BRICS partners in this respect."

These fault lines aren't new but Doka La is sure to make these starker. And as it moves away from the Sino-Pakistan-Russian axis, India will find BRICS progressively less useful because the grouping has now become almost an exclusively Chinese preserve.

As Ananth Krishnan writes in Daily O, "BRICS has assumed even greater importance in recent months as China crafts a more prominent global leadership role for itself, with Beijing viewing it as one of the several key vehicles to push its view of a different world order."

China, though, must find a way to keep India within the BRICS fold, failing which the alliance runs the risk of becoming what ORF fellow Abhijnan Rej terms as "motley of expansionist powers (Russia and China) and perennial basket cases (Brazil and South Africa".)

India, a key proponent of the western liberal world order, lends credence to the coalition. China's recent conciliatory noises may be traced to this factor.

In a recent media briefing, China's foreign minister Wang Yi said: "There is huge potential and space for cooperation between India and China. Such co-operation serves the interest of our two countries and peoples. We hope China and India will join hands and work together for the rejuvenation of Asia and for the development of our region and contribute our share to greater development."

The correlation (if any) between Doka La resolution and BRICS Summit has been well explored. India should have no beef with Chinese position. It certainly doesn't stand to gain by walking out of BRICS. But it must equally consider how best to align BRICS with its core interests. And there needs to be at least a working relationship between New Delhi and Beijing. Short of these conditions, BRICS may rapidly dwindle into a propaganda platform for a China-led global order where India will appear a misfit.
When Modi meets Xi: What's in store for India-China ties at the BRICS summit in Xiamen? (Когда Моди встречает Си: Что ждет индийско-китайские связи на саммите БРИКС в Сямэне?) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, India_China
Author: Mohan Guruswamy

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in Xiamen, China, which starts on Sunday and ends on Tuesday, comes in the immediate aftermath of a confrontation between its two largest economies and nations. Till the stand-off between India and China in the disputed Doklam plateau was resolved with a withdrawal of troops on Monday, after a 74-day staring contest, it was not even sure if Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would travel to beautiful Xiamen, from where one can see the lights of Taiwan on clear nights. Many observers in New Delhi believed that if Modi did not attend the BRICS summit, that too after not participating in the One Road One Belt meeting of 28 countries in Beijing in May, it would mean an irreparable rupture between India and China. But if the Doklam stand-off had continued, it would have been difficult for the prime minister to visit Xiamen.

The last meeting between Modi and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg in July, did not exactly exude good vibes. While the Indian side was at pains to explain that the two met and spoke some about important matters of mutual interest, the Chinese side quite happily administered a snub, saying nothing more than a handshake and courteous smiles were exchanged. It now remains to be seen if India-China relations can go back to where they were before the One Belt One Road summit? It is a widely held opinion in India that the Doklam crisis was deliberately precipitated by China as payback for India's absence at a triumphant moment for China. India, for its part, does not see any economic value for it in One Belt One Road – a project that aims to improve connectivity and cooperation between Asia, Africa and Europe through land and maritime routes. It sees it mostly as a Chinese play to generate business for its industrial overcapacity and to put its zero-yield investments in US securities to work by transferring the debt to countries like Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is good business from the Chinese perspective but, clearly, India is not amused.

From economics to politics

When Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill coined the acronym BRIC in 2001 (South Africa was inducted in 2010), he had in mind a list of the big and fast-growing economies who would be generating the greater part of world economic growth for the first half of the new century. In the order of size then (and potential), these were China, Russia, India and Brazil, which should have suggested the rather inappropriate acronym CRIB. Instead, he preferred the more evocative BRIC, suggesting a new building block in the world economy.

Till then the world economy was driven by the G-7, an informal bloc of seven industrialised economies – the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, France, Italy and Canada. These seven accounted for 46% of world gross domestic product in 2001 with just 10% of the world's population. The BRIC group accounted for 40% of the world's population with 18% of global GDP. But economists agreed that by 2030, BRICS would account for 40% of global GDP. BRICS have so far been ahead of the curve. China and India are first and third in the world GDP (PPP, or purchasing power parity) pecking order. But despite this, the global financial architecture remains as before with the control in the hands of the West.

The first BRIC summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in June 2009. South Africa joined the bloc in 2010. (Credit: / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 4.0) Since the G-7 was as much a political and military alliance network, BRICS too has begun to shape up as an alternative political forum. The first BRIC meeting took place in 2009 and it became a formal organisation the following year. However, instead of seeking to reform the world's economic and financial management system, BRICS started looking at itself as a political counterweight to the western system. The addition of South Africa, a country that ranks 35 by GDP, to give the group a full transcontinental spread was a clear indication of this. Clearly, economic weight was no longer a criterion for membership. If that were so, Nigeria, which is several places higher than South Africa, would have made a more eligible candidate.

Unlike the G-7, which is a group of industrialised democracies, BRICS is a disparate group. China is totalitarian. Russia is more authoritarian than democratic, and the other three are practising albeit institutionally somewhat challenged democracies at varying stages of industrial development. Russia is a technology superpower while China is an industrial powerhouse and the world's leading trader. Despite being a political competitor, China is economically integrated with the United States, with whom it has a symbiotic relationship as it depends on the US trade deficit to accrue wealth. If the United States ever becomes a responsible economic power, then its trade deficit (the amount by which the cost of a country's imports exceeds the value of its exports) should compress to well below the $502 billion it was last year. Its trade deficit with China alone is about $300 billion. Clearly, China is hugely invested in America's profligacy and holds its US gains mostly in US banks, which finance the next cycle of US profligacy. American economists jocularly refer to China's relationship with the United States as that of a drug peddler to a drug addict. Since the peddler needs the addict as much, what happens to reform of the world system?

Clearly, China needs to find new ways of generating new markets and spaces for investment. India and Brazil are the newest fast-growing economies and offer cash-rich China just this opportunity. There is much room for intra-BRICS cooperation. The civilian aviation sector, where China and India will provide most of the world expansion, is one. Russia and Brazil have the capabilities and experience in this sector and India hopes that incipient Russia-China cooperation will expand into a BRICS development.

Show-off summit

With global economic reform no longer its focus, BRICS has become more of an annual political fest. It is now more of a platform for the BRICS summit hosts to showcase their political influence. Last year, India sprang a surprise by inviting member nations of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation – which includes Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal apart from India itself – for an outreach programme on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Goa. This regional organisation is often seen as India's play to integrate South Asia with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The group had been dormant for almost two decades before Modi decided to invite it to Goa, more to showcase his own emergence than anything else. He was doing what Brazil and Russia had done in previous years when they invited heads of immediate neighbours and regional groups such as the Union of South American Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the Eurasian Union, a Russia-dominated group of former Soviet republics.

China is now taking this one big step further by inviting Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand. It is clearly casting the net far and wide as if to signal its global stature. China has also been semaphoring its intent to seek the expansion of the BRICS, clearly to give itself a larger global group to dominate. From immediate neighbours, it is reaching out across the oceans to invite Egypt, Kenya and Mexico. Of these only Mexico (16 in GDP) is a somewhat significant economic player.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BRICS and BIMSTEC leaders on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Goa in 2016. (Credit: Shahbaz Khan / PTI) Intra-BRICS cooperation

The early BRICS promise of trading in each other's currency and thus balancing bilateral trade has not happened. China clearly prefers to hold dollars rather than roubles or rupees. The BRICS Development Bank, which was the brainchild of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2012, came to life as the New Development Bank during the Fortaleeza summit in 2014 with an authorised capital of $100 billion and is now headquartered in Shanghai with the stated task of developing a strong pipeline of projects and responding in a fast and flexible manner to the aspirations and interests of its members.

India would like to see a quicker expansion of the New Development Bank and its greater investment in the development of member countries. Since subscription of capital might pose some problems, as apart from China, the others are not exactly flush with cash. India would like to see the enhancement of the bank's operations by Chinese investment in its bonds. This will vastly enhance the bank's reach without altering its shareholding structure.

The first set of loans worth $811 million, to be disbursed in tranches, supporting 2,370 mega watts of renewable energy capacity was announced last year at a Board of Directors meeting in Washington, ironically enough on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank group spring meetings. The bank is to provide $300 million to Brazil, $81 million to China, $250 million to India and $180 million to South Africa. It is a beginning but still a far cry from what was envisaged with only $1 billion subscribed as share capital and 99 to go.

BRICS Summit: Why India can't leave the big stage entirely to host China (Саммит БРИКС: Почему Индия не может полностью покинуть большую сцену для Китая, как ведущей стороны) / Germany, September, 2017
Keywords: Xiamen_summit, India_China, expert_opinion
Author: Alexander Freund

The BRICS summit in Xiamen this month is a welcome occasion for the host China to demonstrate once again its significance and grandeur – both to the domestic constituents as well as to the outside world – ahead of the all important 19th Congress of the Communist Party.

Delicate issues have been excluded from the agenda of the gathering, as Beijing can ill-afford to have any nuisance ahead of the crucial reorganisation of its political leadership. Instead, the members will probably focus on consensual topics such as free trade, climate change and cybersecurity. Last but not the least, the challenges of a digitised economy, the central theme of India's BRICS presidency last year, are still on the agenda.

However, the big stage and the displayed unity cannot conceal the fact that China has long moved away from the basic idea of the BRICS grouping, and, among other things, is pursuing its own plans with its "Belt and Road Initiative" (BRI) and intends to further expand its pre-eminence.

From hope-bearers to troubled kids

To make matters worse, the original hopes about BRICS have all but evaporated; the times of their unbridled economic growth are long gone.

The five member countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – were once seen as emerging economic superpowers. It seemed only a matter of time before they would overtake their Western peers, which have struggled to reform their economies. But the euphoria about BRICS has now vanished.

The boom in China's economy, which accounts for two-thirds of the entire bloc's GDP, has run out of steam, with double-digit growth rates now a thing of the past. In 2016, China's GDP growth rate was a far modest 6.7 percent. For 2018, the Chinese economy is forecast to expand by 6 percent.

With this "controlled slowdown" Beijing wants to reconfigure its economy – to transform it into one driven by domestic demand and services rather than exports and the manufacture of cheap products.

This has so far proven to be a risky maneuver, however. In addition to the well-known excess capacities in the heavy industry, the highly speculative real estate boom and the widespread high corporate indebtedness, China's foreign exchange reserves are shrinking at a rapid pace.

File photo Russia appears to be in a more dismal state: The decline in oil prices and the sanctions imposed by the West due to Moscow's annexation of Crimea have hurt the economy, dragged down the value of the Rouble and boosted inflationary pressures. The situation has already prompted President Vladimir Putin to start selling and privatising state property in an attempt to funnel money into the government's empty coffers.

The situation in Brazil is even more dramatic. Politically and economically, the Latin American bearer of hope finds itself in a state of crisis. The low oil price has also led to an economic downturn, with Brazilians consuming less and unemployment rising. Regardless of its current political crisis, the Brazilian government has faced financial difficulties for a while now, as the whole world could witness during the last World Cup football tournament in 2014.

The African member of BRICS, South Africa, too, is struggling economically. Growth has slowed down considerably over the past five years, trade imbalance has been stubbornly high and government debt has reached a critical level. Compounding the poor economic conditions are political uncertainties and bad governance that are frightening foreign investors, whom the country needs so badly.

A source of hope

In this context, India remains a source of hope within the BRICS club. The nation's economy is clearly on a better trajectory than that of other members, although growth appears to be losing steam in recent quarters.

In the quarter to June, GDP grew 5.7 percent, its slowest pace since the January-March quarter 2014, government data showed. Still, strong growth in the services sector and capital investment point to a quick potential rebound in economic activity in Asia's third-biggest economy.

Even the often double-digit inflation rate is now under control. India is becoming more and more interesting for foreign investors, especially as the previously closed sectors are increasingly being opened up for foreign direct investment.

At the same time, the growth-stymying bureaucratic hurdles are expected to be reduced further along with the harmonisation of numerous regulations among the nation's 29 states.

All of these raise great hopes. However, India is still faced with major challenges – at least two-thirds of the population remains excluded from the newly generated prosperity. And compared to the 1970s, the 800 million Indians living in the rural parts of the country now have much less food available. This is an untenable condition, especially for a member of the BRICS group.

Not a one-way street

In the BRICS club, India plays quite rightly an important role. But if this group really wants to be more than just a acronym, it needs a strong common theme that brings together every member. This would also be a good way to reduce the recent tensions between India and China.

India should therefore give a greater impulse to the bloc and not leave the big stage entirely to China, which wants to expand its clout with its BRI project and other initiatives. Wherever China's claim to power conflicts with the interests of other BRICS partners and where the BRI becomes a one-way street for expanding Chinese influence, India should also be alarmed.

Written by Alexander Freund

Alexander Freund is Head of Asia Programs at Deutsche Welle. This article comes in special collaboration with Deutsche Welle, Germany's public international broadcaster

BRICS Built on Shaky Foundations: Tensions, Corruption and Inequality (БРИКС, построенный на шатких основаниях: напряженность, коррупция и неравенство) / Australia, August, 2017
Keywords: Expert_opinion
Author: Professor Mark Beeson

Ahead of the BRICS Summit in China, it's time to assess whether the organisation of emerging powers has lived up to the hype.

How times change; only a few years ago it seemed that the BRICS—originally Brazil, Russia, India and China—were emblematic of seemingly inexorable structural changes in the global economy. Even the addition of the rather less consequential South Africa did little to dispel the hype and air of self-satisfaction amongst a group of countries that hitherto had felt overlooked and undervalued.

Now, however, things look rather different. The BRICS have rapidly become synonymous with economic problems and pervasive corruption. Even more tellingly, perhaps, there is precious little to show for all the summits, reports and conferences that have been held since the BRICS first gathered as a new international grouping in 2009.

This is less surprising than it may seem at first blush. After all, the BRICS literally began life as a figment of the imagination: Jim O'Neil's imagination to be precise. When the Goldman Sachs analyst coined the term in 2001, there was no such entity. It is remarkable that the original BRICs decided to put someone else's idea into practice. It is less remarkable that the grouping has had difficulty finding common causes upon which to act.

Other than the New Development Bank (NDB)—formerly known as the BRICS bank—concrete achievements have been rather thin on the ground. Even the NDB only has an initial working capital of US$50 billion (AUD$63.2 billion) and is generally eclipsed by the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, which not only has more money but more members, too.

Indeed, China is paradoxically both the BRICS' biggest asset and arguably its biggest problem. China is not only the BRICS' largest economy and source of funding by far, but it is also its only unambiguously great power. No doubt Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi would disagree with this assessment, but the reality is that China matters to the international system in ways that Russia and India simply do not. More to the point, Xi Jinping and China's increasingly nationalist ruling elite are acutely conscious of this reality.

The lack of solidarity and common causes among the BRICS are all too visible. China and India have recently been teetering on the brink of conflict over a border dispute. India looks to have backed-off—itself a telling indicator of where the power lies in the BRICS—but it is a revealing reminder of the unresolved tensions that exist within the entirely arbitrary grouping.

China's relationship with Russia is also a rather unlikely marriage of convenience. Putin no doubt finds it rather galling that the Soviet Union's former protégé has now become the second most important capitalist economy on the planet. Russia's need for economic partners outside Europe means that it has to accept growing Chinese influence in its 'near abroad'.

Indeed, China's other big initiative, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which includes the major 'stans as well as Russia, Pakistan and even India as of 2017, is another reminder of where the power lies in Central Asia. It also demonstrates that China has the diplomatic capacity—in addition to its obvious geoeconomic influence—to win friends and influence people in a way that even the US, let alone Russia or India, finds difficult these days.

The less said about Brazil and South Africa the better, perhaps. The old joke about Brazil being 'the country of the future, and it always will be', looks as pointed as ever. Like South Africa under the erratic leadership of Jacob Zuma, Brazil remains mired in widespread, seemingly intractable corruption scandals. These scandals are undermining both countries' reputations and their attractiveness as investment locations.

Luckily for them, authoritarian friends like China may be prepared to overlook such shortcomings in the interest of group solidarity. China sees South Africa as a testing ground for its larger investment push into Africa; and even being well and truly off the new Silk Road hasn't stopped China pouring money into Brazil, either.

The rather uncomfortable reality for China's fellow BRICS countries is one that many of the PRC's other neighbours—including Australia, of course—can identify with: China is so economically powerful it is impossible to ignore, but the economic benefits it brings come at a cost. The original impetus for the BRICS—a demand for recognition of their collective significance on the part of the rest of the international community—is starting to wear a little thin. If the BRICS grouping didn't already exist, would anyone bother to invent it?

China clearly has bigger geopolitical fish to fry. The main game for China is its bilateral relationship with the United States and the impact this has on its ambition to re-establish itself as East Asia's principal power. The BRICS are in danger of becoming a second order issue as far as China is concerned, and one of limited instrumental value. Ironically enough, Chinese hegemony may be just as challenging for the other BRICS as it seems to be for everyone else.

Mark Beeson is Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Western Australia and the AIIA National Research Chair, appointed in February 2017.

This article is published under a Creative Commons Licence and may be republished with attribution.

How China plans to use BRICS to become a global leader (Как Китай планирует использовать БРИКС, чтобы стать мировым лидером) / India, August, 2017
Keywords: China_BRICS, expert_opinion
Author: Ananth Krishnan

BRICS may sound like an increasingly tired acronym for some observers in India, but across the border in China, it is hard to overstate its importance. China has always taken BRICS more seriously than the grouping's other members — Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.

In China, there are dedicated BRICS think-tanks and institutes that churn out dozens of policy papers every year. India may have proposed the idea for the BRICS New Development Bank, but China has in some sense taken ownership of the Shanghai-based institution.

In fact, some in Beijing believe that it was an eye on the upcoming BRICS summit that prompted China to seek a quick end to the two-and-a-half-month-long standoff at Doklam that was resolved on Monday.

Beijing had publicly insisted on a unilateral withdrawal by India as a precondition for any talks. But quietly, both sides in Delhi and Beijing kept the channels open and negotiated a disengagement, which was made possible on Monday with India withdrawing troops and China removing its bulldozers and road construction equipment.

BRICS has assumed even greater importance in recent months as China crafts a more prominent global leadership role for itself, with Beijing viewing it as one of the several key vehicles to push its view of a different world order. This effort has taken on urgency since the election of Donald Trump, with the view that an inward-turning United States will yield new opportunities for China. Hence Xi Jinping's visit to Davos and his striking speech in defence of globalisation. His pet One Belt, One Road initiative is another part of this push.

Xi is expected to deliver a similar message to the developing world when he flags off the BRICS Summit with a keynote speech on September 4 in the picturesque coastal city of Xiamen. Foreign minister Wang Yi outlined the crux of China's BRICS agenda on August 30. "Unilateralism is on the rise. We have spoken in a united voice on upholding multilateralism and in one voice on major issues on a timely basis, which has increased our voice in international affairs," he said.

Wang pointed out Xi would also chair in Xiamen "the biggest ever" BRICS business forum and that China had this past year, as BRICS chair, held 84 meetings in finance, trade, technology, science and other areas, including 22 ministerial-level meetings, underlining the importance it was according to the summit.

Xi will also chair a "dialogue of emerging markets and developing countries" in Xiamen with five invited non-BRICS countries. China is now floating the idea of what it calls "BRICS Plus" — a loose framework to expand the grouping by associating it informally with other countries to more forcefully push certain global issues. In the past, it was customary for BRICS countries as part of regular regional outreach to invite countries from their neighbourhood to their summits, as India did with South Asian countries in Goa last year and Brazil did with Latin American nations.

Wang, however, said China was following a slightly different and broader approach. It has invited a broader group to Xiamen, including Mexico, Egypt, Guinea, Tajikistan, and Thailand. "BRICS cooperation has gone far beyond our five countries," he argued, "and taken on global significance. So we have put forward BRICS Plus for broader partnerships."

It remains to be seen if other BRICS countries will share China's aspiration to widen the grouping — not necessarily in terms of membership but by association — and whether they can agree on criteria to do. China, however, is set to push that message in Xiamen.
BRICS to contribute more to global governance (БРИКС будет вносить больший вклад в глобальное управление) / Thailand, August, 2017
Keywords: global_governance, review, BRICS_world

Changes in the global landscape call for a solidified, stronger BRICS with better contribution to the global governance as the bloc of five emerging economies enters its second decade.

The 9th BRICS annual summit to be held in September in Xiamen, China is thus attracting worldwide attention to how Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will shape the bloc's future course amid challenges and uncertainties stemming from global economic sluggishness, increased anti-globalization sentiments in Western countries, regional security and geopolitical blackswans, among others.

The bloc representing some 44 percent of the world population and 23 percent of the world economic volume is striving towards a stronger identity, a leading platform for South-South cooperation and a larger role in global governance.


Former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O'Neill, who coined the acronym BRIC (made BRICS by South Africa's participation later), said the bloc's economic performance has exceeded his expectations.

"Sixteen years later the BRICS share of the global GDP (gross domestic product) is bigger than every scenario I projected," he noted.

Currently, the bloc's five economies together contribute more than half to global growth, serving as a major economic powerhouse.

"BRICS is at the center of solutions needed for international financial system reform," said Sergey Karatayev, deputy head of the Center for Economic Research at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, citing the increased voting rights of China and India in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

"With the BRICS demands, many global governance structures are undergoing a gradual reform," commented Srikanth Kondapalli, professor at the Center of East Asia Studies under the New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University.

"In the last eight summits, BRICS has acquired certain momentum in international relations," he added, highlighting the bloc's increasingly more unified voice in international affairs. "It has advocated dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes, in addition to lifting any curbs on trade and investments," he said.

"It tries to protect the interests of developing countries," he added.

A BRICS credit rating agency to end the Western monopoly, with its establishment still under discussion, is expected to enable the bloc to contribute more to global economic governance.


The two-year operation of the Shanghai-based BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), which focuses on infrastructure and sustainable development projects, is hailed as a success story, handing out 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in loans last year alone.

The Aug. 17 launch of its first regional office, in Johannesburg, signals a greater role it will assume in boosting growth in developing countries and promoting South-South cooperation.

The regional office will act as a "face to Africa," and the bank intends to open others, said NDB President K.V. Kamath.

Experts also highlight the "BRICS Plus" model as important in the bloc's efforts to expand partnerships, particularly with developing countries.

Chief economist of the Eurasian Development Bank Yaroslav Lissovolik calls "BRICS Plus" an important initiative aimed "at increasing its openness and accessibility to integration for the states of the developing world."

Karatayev said, "The 'BRICS Plus' model will help make the intra-BRICS cooperation as well as the bilateral and multilateral cooperation between bloc members and their partners more effective."

"Comprehensive and complementary development strategies will enable BRICS members and participants of 'BRICS Plus' to conduct fruitful cooperation," he further explained.


Karatayev thinks "it is necessary for the BRICS bloc to strengthen internal cooperation in order to tackle challenges from a rise in protectionism in rich countries and uncertainties from their economic policies."

Moreover, the Russian expert said, the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative complements efforts by the bloc to facilitate trade and capital flows.

At the same time, he said, the Initiative, which aims to build infrastructure and trade networks along ancient Silk Road trade routes, is "a showcase for economic collaboration."

Professor Kondapalli from Jawaharlal Nehru University believes there is plenty of potential to tap in intra-BRICS cooperation. "The total trade between the five BRICS countries accounted for only 4.9 percent of the total foreign trade of these countries," and "much of the trade is of low-end products," he said.

In addition to deepening economic and trade cooperation, increased cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges are deemed necessary for building a more stable and solid BRICS bloc.

"People-to-people exchanges are the pillar of all the bilateral and multilateral exchanges. It is the cultural capital of a country that has attraction and lays foundations of understanding between the peoples," said B.R. Deepak, sinologist and professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Deepak added that it is needed to institutionalize such mechanisms as cultural festivals, media and film exchanges, and BRICS scholarship programs.

There are also calls for the bloc's foreign ministers to meet regularly as part of its mechanism building efforts, as well as for the bloc to speak with one, loud and strong voice on global political, security and economic issues.
Face It, China Totally Owns The BRICS (Посмотрите правде в глаза: Китай полностью владеет БРИКС) / USA, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, China_BRICS
Author: Kenneth Rapoza

Is it at all humiliating to the Russians, at least a little bit, that the Chinese are far and away the biggest, baddest BRICS nation? Russia used to be a world superpower. It's a world oil power. A world nuclear power. But beyond that, China is more relevant to the world economy than the Russians.

Brazil. What about them? For years, the commodity bubble made it seem Brazil was on its way to becoming the runaway leader of Latin America, surpassing Mexico, which is basically a U.S. import market. Brazil was, and is, a more diverse economy than Mexico. They weren't dependent on any one nation, really. Then the commodity bubble burst and Brazil's purchasing power has dropped, putting it on par with China's. GDP per capita is also similar. China's Happy Meal toy making economy has grown up and is home to more new billionaires than anywhere else. And as leaders from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa meet in Xiamen on Sept. 3, it is clear to everyone watching that China is the leader.

Russia needs China because it is in a never-ending feud with the West. They have two things in common, generally: commodities supply and demand, and a desire for a multi-polar world, though this is probably more Vladimir Putin's thing than Xi Jinping's. China is at least as dependent on the U.S. as Russia is dependent on Europe.

Brazil needs China because that's where all of its soybeans and iron ore goes. Brazil's agribusiness is vital to the economic recovery now just two quarters young. In May, China and Brazil launched a joint investment fund to increase productive capacity. The fund has an initial sum of $20 billion and will reportedly go to finance investment projects in Brazil (not in China) that are of interest to both countries. Brazil's president, Michel Temer, is already in China. He wants to convince them to buy airports and participate in other privatization bids as Brazil tries to trim more fat from its federal government.

Following the recent border skirmish, India can probably do without China. India's main trading partners are the U.S. and United Arab Emirates. But if you include Hong Kong with China, then China is No. 2. More importantly, India's imports are heavily dependent on the Chinese. Some $59 billion worth of Chinese imports moved into India in 2015, more than the No. 2 Sweden and No. 3 U.S. combined. Bilateral trade volume between China and India also rose by 21.5% year-on-year to $47.52 billion between January and July 2017, Indian customs data show.

South Africa needs China investment and Chinese buyers for its raw materials. China is its biggest export market, accounting for around $12 billion. That beats South Africa's No. 2 partner, the U.S., with around $7 billion in exports, both based on 2015 figures.

China is a total beast. South Africa, Russia and Brazil are particularly at its mercy.
BRICS 2017 summit: Agenda for action (Саммит БРИКС-2017: Повестка дня для действий) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, Xiamen_summit
Author: Jayshree Sengupta

BRICS started out with a lot of promise when it came into existence in 2009 and all the members were the world's top emerging economies. There was hope that their demands would be heard and by the international financial institutions.
There was a chance of BRICS falling apart this year at the forthcoming in Xiamen in China (3 to 5 September), but fortunately that disaster has been averted. The BRICS meeting will hopefully begin in a less tense atmosphere without the faceoff at Doklam and it will be good for both China and India to realise how important it is for them to be together in the five member forum. It will be watched with great interest by the rest of the world. They are the two most populous countries in the world and together they have much clout in all international negotiations already evident at the WTO where the two took a joint stand against agricultural subsidies of the US and EU recently.

Together the BRICS can achieve a lot because they contribute 23 per cent to the global economy yet in the last meeting in Goa where India was the host, it produced a lacklustre communique/declaration which did not display any strength of conviction in taking drastic steps towards reforming global governance or the international financial architecture. This time in China, BRICS should realise how close they were to disintegrating which has been the sadistic prediction of the western countries in the past. They still remain a very powerful combine that can take decisions on behalf of all developing countries regarding their infrastructure, indebtedness and development financing.

BRICS started out with a lot of promise when it came into existence in 2009 and all the members were the world's top emerging economies. There was hope that their demands would be heard and by the international financial institutions which would usher a change in the global financial architecture. Their collective pressure did bring about a change in the IMF quota regime for India and China in 2016. Both managed to get higher quotas. The dominance of G7 countries has been slightly eroded with two Asian giants getting their rightful voice in the IMF. Even now more reforms are needed in IMF's governance that would ensure higher quotas and voting rights to the Emerging Market Economies.

The BRICS Summit 2017 should discuss the significance of the Renminbi becoming a reserve currency in IMF's Special Drawing Rights along with the Japanese Yen, British pound sterling, US dollar and Euro. There should be more discussion on currency swaps between BRICS members so that the need for huge dollar reserves is reduced in the future. Russia and China already have a big currency swap arrangement of $24 billion which is a kind of mutual credit line between the central banks of the two countries. The BRICS have not yet set up their own credit rating agency—an item that should figure in the summit agenda this year. Also a Payments system like the SWIFT was contemplated but never established. It would enable international settlements in national currencies and would be an alternative to SWIFT.

The BRICS Summit 2017 should discuss the significance of the Renminbi becoming a reserve currency in IMF's Special Drawing Rights along with the Japanese Yen, British pound sterling, US dollar and Euro.

The establishment of New Development Bank, CRA (Contingency Reserve Arrangement) and AIIB ( Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) established in Shanghai and Beijing with a capital of $250 billion should offer a challenge to the World Bank which has a capital base of $252.8 billion. Moreover unlike the IMF, NDB has equal voting rights for all its members and is democratically structured. The AIIB has started functioning already and is offering loans for green infrastructure and India's Canara Bank has secured a loan of $250 million from it last year. There are no conditionalities involved and it will help developing countries access loans for their sustainable development projects without much problem.

Together the BRICS can fight terrorism and the spread of international terror organisations as well as agree on climate change. They can act together on the important issue of cybersecurity and cooperate on e-commerce, intellectual property rights, single window clearance for investment and removal of nontariff barriers which hinder smooth trade. It would also be another opportunity for India to reconsider joining Belt and Road initiative of China for building infrastructure in the South Asian region.

All the BRICS members are in need of economic revival and the avenues of trade have been narrowed by the protectionist wave coming from the US and several western countries.

It is time to rethink alternative trade and investment avenues to boost the member countries' growth. China is the biggest trading partner of all the other BRICS members. Safeguarding the multilateral trade system will most likely be on the agenda.

The last communique in Goa had few distinctive features and looked like another G20 document. Indeed all the five members are also members of G20. Cultural exchanges and people to people contact have figured in the Goa declaration and were a welcome addition which should be further explored. China hopes that the Xiamen summit will usher in the global decade of BRICS and has issued a special postal stamp to commemorate the 9th BRICS summit.

Except for Russia all the members of BRICS are developing countries and hence they should focus on health, nutrition, education, urbanisation, drug regulation and agricultural research. All have small, medium and micro enterprises. Hence cooperation in tackling similar technical quality control and financial problems that BRICS members are experiencing in MSMEs would bring much value addition to the deliberations. Their efforts should focus on integrating the MSMEs production into the regional and global value chains which will enable members to raise their workers' incomes. Reducing inequality of incomes should also be a focus of the meeting.

The idea of BRICS plus could have come up but fears that others may vehemently discourage induction of others at this juncture, China has decided against it. Russia may play the role of an important mediator in the Meeting between members especially India and China. Leaders of Guinea, Mexico, Thailand, Egypt and Tajikistan will attend the BRICS summit this year as China's special guests just like India invited the members of BIMSTEC (which included Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka) at the Goa meeting.

BRICS may crumble or remain intact. It may get strengthened due to a new bonding between India and China and BRICS may enter into the global decade!
For China, BRICS Is a Means to an End (Для Китая БРИКС - это средство для достижения цели) / USA, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, China_BRICS

It can be difficult to separate the important from unimportant on any given day. Reflections mean to do exactly that — by thinking about what happened today, we can consider what might happen tomorrow.

Over the years, the group of countries known as BRICS has seen its members' relationships develop and mutate with the shifting geopolitical climate. When a Goldman Sachs analyst came up with the premise of BRICS in 2001, he saw the group — made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and later South Africa — as a gang of the world's up-and-comers. These were countries, he reckoned, that it would be smart to invest in. After receiving the BRICS title, representatives from these nations went to town, organizing annual meetings and developing their own institutions. From the perspective of BRICS members, the best way to force themselves into the global governance conversation was by presenting a united front.

But today, the BRICS group is being driven increasingly by China, now the world's second largest economy. When the country's thriving east coast city of Xiamen hosts the annual BRICS summit on Sept. 3, the event will not only be of personal significance to Chinese president Xi Jinping, who was once Xiamen's mayor, but also an opportunity for China to expand its global influence. And while Beijing's economic heft will give it plenty of power to direct the course of this year's meeting, there is another major BRICS player that is not so keen to let China have its way entirely.

Looking Out For Number One

The economic links between the BRICS members are not of equal strength: Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa are all much more closely tied to China than they are to one another. And the way that each member will engage with this year's annual meeting can be traced to what it hopes to get out of China.

In this regard, Brazil and South Africa share similar ambitions. Both are struggling with economic slowdowns and see the meeting as an opportunity to garner investment from China as well as from the BRICS' New Development Bank (NDB), which was designed as a counterpart to the World Bank. Indeed, Brazilian President Michel Temer arrived in China several days before this year's summit in order to grease some wheels ahead of negotiations. He brought a new privatization plan to present to prospective Chinese investors, as well as a desire to strengthen the NDB to get more money flowing from it. Meanwhile, South Africa has also maintained strong support for the BRICS bank, as part of its larger goal of diversifying so it can rely less on Western-backed organizations.

For its part, Russia has become an increasingly enthusiastic partner to China across multiple fronts, as relations with Western nations sour and as Moscow's global economic growth potential increasingly shifts toward Asia. Russia is currently building infrastructure to divert energy exports east. Meanwhile, trade with China is up 30 percent so far this year. Beijing and Moscow are further cooperating in areas such as security, intelligence and cyber-security, and in October they are expected to sign a joint space exploration agreement. Finally, the two are conveniently in lock-step on many foreign policy fronts, including dealings with North Korea and the United States. Ultimately, Russia sees China, and BRICS as a whole, as a way to show the developed world that it is not isolated.

Clashing Powers

If BRICS was a four-member group consisting of China, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, it would likely have little in the way of disagreement. But India, which has also seen major economic growth in recent years, is increasingly disrupting the party, at least as China sees it. After last year's meeting, India emerged frustrated with Russia and China's refusal to endorse its anti-terrorist message, largely aimed at Indian rival Pakistan.

And during the past year these tensions have grown, particularly with China, which has further strengthened its ties to Pakistan.

In May, India skipped the summit for China's Belt and Road Initiative, which plans to build economic infrastructure in Pakistan. Then, India and Japan began working on a competing project, known as the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor. Issues between Beijing and New Delhi came to a head in June, when Indian and Chinese troops began a military standoff on a remote Himalayan plateau. After almost three months, the conflict came to an end on Aug. 28. But the last twelve months have certainly been the rockiest for Sino-Indian relations in at least five decades.

China's Big Plans

When considering China's wider global strategy, tension with India presents a complication. No longer just an up-and-comer, Beijing is now trying to establish itself on the world stage as a worthy rival to Washington and as a potential leader of a new global order. With this goal in its sights, China has launched several major initiatives, including its flagship Belt and Road project. For President Xi, China's own international development bank, known as the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, is a much higher priority than the NDB; it boasts a whopping 56 members, including global heavyweights such as the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

Meanwhile, China is also trying to present itself as a supporter of free trade following the United States' withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade deal it crafted in part to contain Chinese influence. Beijing views the U.S. departure as an opportunity to expedite the launch of its own mega-bloc, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which it aims to finalize by end of the year. But the RCEP in its current form also includes India, and while there are other reasons for delayed trade negotiations — such as different priorities among the ASEAN countries and Japan, Australia and South Korea — India's stubbornness has played a major role in the group's dysfunction.

As it strives to enact its ambitious plans for BRICS, China faces additional headwinds from India. In March, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi proposed a "BRICS Plus" model, which would open up membership to other interested developing countries. But India, sensing a Chinese plot to dilute its influence, demurred. And though China has invited Tajikistan, Egypt, Thailand, Mexico and Guinea to attend this year's summit, it is on the understanding that it will be for one year only.

Fifteen years ago, both India and China were small enough that their differences could be overlooked. But now, the two have both reached sizes that cause them to clash, and as China looks to increase its global influence, India is in the way. But any Chinese attempt to remove India from BRICS would be difficult: The country is firmly enmeshed in the group's institutions — the NDB's president is, for example, Indian. And then Russia, which still has warm ties with India, would likely resist any efforts to remove New Delhi.

The BRICS countries were originally brought together by their potential for growth, but now the reality of that growth is causing problems among its members. As China strives to make BRICS a cog in its larger global strategy, the time is quickly arriving when the Beijing will have to assess how to manage India's continued (and increasingly disruptive) presence in so many of its multilateral groups.
A brief explainer on the BRICS summit in China's Xiamen (Краткое объяснение, что такое саммит БРИКС в китайском Сямэне) / South Africa, September, 2017
Keywords: Xiamen_summit
South Africa
Author: Louise Watt

BEIJING — As China prepares to host next week's summit of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, some are questioning whether the club of fast-developing nations is viable anymore given economic woes and sharp rivalries.

With no unifying political philosophy, the BRICS group has never been as cohesive as other global alliances like NATO. And with the global economy slowing, some BRICS members have been hit harder than others.

In recent weeks, the competition between China and India has also come into focus with a tense military standoff across disputed borders in the high Himalayas.

The summit Monday and Tuesday in the city of Xiamen gives Chinese President Xi Jinping an opportunity to showcase his leadership and promote his country as a central pillar of 21st century global governance.

Here is a guide to BRICS, its future prospects and what to expect from the summit.



A Goldman Sachs economist came up with the acronym BRICs for Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2001 to describe emerging economies that might challenge the West. The four held their first summit in 2009, and were joined by South Africa in 2011.

Together, the five countries now account for 40 percent of the world's population, and have accounted for 45 percent of the increase in world growth since 2009, driven mainly by China and India.

The BRICS also account for 23 percent of its gross domestic product — a figure that is expected to steadily increase.



The summit's agenda — under the theme "Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future" — includes discussions on economic collaboration, political and security cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, and probably also issues of particular concern for China and India like renewable energy and coping with climate change.

Officials are also expected to discuss setting up a BRICS credit rating agency as an alternative to the big three Western agencies that some nations accuse of favoring Western economies. China's own credit rating was downgraded by Moody's in May.

They may also discuss expanding BRICS to include new members, something analysts say may be crucial in energizing the grouping. China has employed a "BRICS Plus" approach this year by inviting leaders from Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand to attend the summit. The goal was for "a more broadly based partnership," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday.

The BRICS nations will likely position themselves as advocates of globalization, even if protectionist elements persist in their economies, especially in China, where key sectors are still closed to foreign investors.

Their final statement is expected to underline their commitment to globalization — in contrast to the West's more inward-looking trend following the election of U.S. President Donald Trump and the British vote to leave the European Union.

Typically, final statements are "bland" and intended to project an image of consensus, said Steve Tsang of the China Institute at SOAS University of London.

"You can always draft them. You don't have to agree with each other," he said.

More interesting will be the discussions happening on the side. Bilateral meetings between Xi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be closely watched following the seeming conclusion this week of China and India's most serious confrontation in decades — a 10-week border standoff over disputed land.



Observers say one of the group's top achievements is somewhat intangible — shifting the global power balance toward the developing world, and winning a bigger say in global economic discussions at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

The group is also lauded for establishing the alternative New Development Bank in 2014. This week, the bank announced $1.4 billion in new loans for sustainable development projects in China, India and Russia.

BRICS nations "have a demographic advantage" over Western nations, said analyst Sreeram Chaulia, dean of Jindal School of International Affairs near New Delhi. "We have high economic growth, and in some cases also rising military power."

BRICS also promotes ties between countries that had limited links before. Brazil's politically embattled president is eager to court potential investors to help his country's ailing economy, and the opportunity to meet face-to-face with other leaders makes this his "most important weekend on the foreign policy front of the year," said Oliver Stuenkel, professor of international relations at Getulio Vargas Foundation in Sao Paulo.

The China-India dialogues could help reduce tensions between the world's two most populous nations.



Almost a decade after the first summit, relations between China and India are hampered over their wide-ranging political rivalry.

Brazil, Russia and South Africa, meanwhile, are in economic recession or in the early stages of recovery.

Some see too many divisions and disagreements between the members for BRICS to provide leadership for the developing world.

"Russia, India and China all care deeply about security issues in Asia, but have different preferences, and in some ways are strategic rivals," said Scott Kennedy of the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington DC.

In terms of governance, he said, "India, Brazil and South Africa are democracies, whereas China and Russia are not, and hence, have conflicting views about individual liberty and issues such as Internet privacy."
If China Stays on Track, the BRICS Countries Will Overtake the G7 by 2035 (Если Китай будет придерживаться своего курса, страны БРИКС опередят G7 к 2035 году) / UK, August, 2017
Keywords: Jim_ONeill, expert_opinion, G7, forecast
Author: Jim O'Neill

As the latest BRICS summit approaches, the group's economic future looks bright.

LONDON ― With another summit of the BRICS nations around the corner, my email inbox is inundated with the usual questions about the status quo of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. (I coined the acronym "BRIC" in 2001 when I was with Goldman Sachs.) This year, the curiosity about the fate of this five-country association of emerging economies seems to be more frequent than before.

To answer the question of the relevance of BRICS objectively, you have to separate the economics from the politics. If you keep them together — as the fact that the BRICS leaders are meeting every year and and have their own ministries meeting throughout the year tells you — of course the group lives on. It even thrives.

I should note that I never believed it was sensible for the group to include South Africa, the capital "S" in "BRICS" that was later added. It is a country of less than 60 million, it doesn't have great demographics and there at least five other countries, maybe as many as a dozen, that might have a stronger claim from an economic perspective. As I have often said, China creates another South African economy close to every four months. Despite these reservations, South Africa does play a useful role in the BRICS group due to its well-trained civil servants.

Of course the BRICS group lives on. It even thrives. Of all the criticism of the BRICS group I often read, the most valid argument is that it is dominated by China. China is the only one of the four that has truly lived up to my expectations over the past nearly 16 years. In fact, China's economic success happened sooner than I expected. So far this decade, it has grown slightly more than I assumed it would, despite a slowing growth rate. It is worth emphasizing that back when the group first came about, I predicted that, together, Brazil, Russia, India and China would become bigger economically than the G7 by around 2035, with China bigger than the United States by 2027. I assumed China would grow by 7.5 percent this decade, and then slow further in the decade that followed. So far this decade, China has grown by just over 7.5 percent.

Of course, China has done so well that its economy is now bigger than Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa combined, and in the not too distant future, it could become twice as big. So there are no two ways about it: China economically dominates the BRICS.

But China is starting to dominate a lot of things economically. One of the most fascinating things I observed last year is that by the end of 2016, China had become Germany's largest trade partner if you combine total exports and imports. And according to the International Monetary Fund, China is already the leading source of imports for at least 70 countries, more than one-third of the world.

China's economy is now bigger than Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa combined, and in the not too distant future, it could become twice as big. Interestingly, despite disappointments with the other BRICS, especially Brazil and Russia, I still predict the BRICS will overtake the G7 by around 2035 — simply because of China's sheer size and likely ongoing performance. Whether the BRICS become bigger than the G7 will depend on whether China stays on course, rather than anything Brazil, Russia or South Africa does.

India is a different story. Its economy is nearly five times smaller than China's, but in recent years, it is showing signs of growing more strongly than its northern neighbor. Indeed, it is poised to grow by a faster rate than China going forward for a few decades, including the rest of this one. India has not disappointed me, nor my BRIC path for the future. Of course, it is true that India could do a lot better, but who couldn't? Because of India's exceptional demographic profile, it could quite easily grow by more than 10 percent if it could undertake more structural reforms and boost productivity.

Brazil and Russia have more significant problems. They need to reduce the dominance of commodities and commodity income in their economies and lives, a problem usually known as "Dutch disease." Otherwise, they are likely to remain vulnerable to the boom and bust cycles that seem to characterize both economies. In this sense, each has disappointed economically over the past 16 years. But don't forget that the first decade of BRIC life was very kind to them both, and each became a lot bigger sooner than I had expected; their share of global GDP rose quite notably. What has happened since 2011 has essentially removed a lot of that success, and their share is back close to where it was 15 years ago.

There is one area that could be an opportunity for the BRICS countries to collaborate: health. Economics aside, I would like to see the BRICS leaders take more genuine policy action and move beyond the symbolism of essentially being a group that doesn't include the U.S., which certainly appeals to most of them, especially Brazil and Russia. They need to find areas of common interest and pursue mutually beneficial policy.

At the moment, I struggle to identify any specific policy the BRICS leaders have announced or adopted that has favored any or all of them economically or really otherwise. China would still be an economy close to $12 trillion if the BRICS group didn't exist. But there are obvious areas where these nations could and should do things together.

There is one area in particular that would be an opportunity for the BRICS countries to collaborate: health. More specifically, infectious disease prevention, and with it, the pursuit of funding for new tuberculosis drugs. From late 2014 through to late 2016, I chaired a global review into antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, and we showed that if we don't find new, effective drugs and curb our overuse of existing antibiotics, by 2050 there could be 10 million people dying of AMR-related illnesses each year. Approximately one-third of these would be TB-related, and all five BRICS countries have a significant TB challenge. What better policy initiative could there be to finance the search for new TB drugs? Perhaps this could be a point of discussion as BRICS nations gather in the coming days.
Zuma in China for Brics summit (Зума в Китае на Саммите БРИКС) / South Africa, September, 2017
Keywords: Jacob_Zuma, official_visit, Xiamen_summit
South Africa

President Jacob Zuma has arrived in Xiamen City in China to attend the 9th Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (Brics) summit to be hosted by China from September 3 to 5, the presidency said on Saturday.

The 9th Brics summit would be held under the theme "Brics: Stronger partnership for a brighter future", the presidency said in a statement.

"There has been substantive progress achieved since South Africa joined Brics in 2011. The formation has strengthened its co-operative mechanism for institutional development, most notably witnessed in the creation of the New Development Bank and the recently launched Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg," it said.

The summit "will build on the past achievements of Brics, by deepening Brics co-operation for common development, strengthening global governance to jointly meet challenges, carry out people-to-people exchanges to support Brics co-operation and make institutional improvements, and build broader partnerships".

"In addition to the issuing of the Xiamen declaration and action plan, new proposals will be explored to further deepen co-operation and to expand the Brics institution-building agenda."

Brics leaders would also engage in a dialogue with emerging markets and developing countries; the invited countries being Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan. and Thailand. The dialogue would be "reflective of trans-continentalism and bring together nations with a focus on the needs of the global south in the context of globalisation and future development".

In 2015, total intra-Brics trade amounted to R3.06 trillion. South Africa's exports to Brics countries marginally increased from R123 billion in 2011 to R138.2 billion in 2016 while in the same period imports from Brics countries increased from R115 billion to R230 billion. Total Intra-Brics foreign direct investment (FDI) was R554 trillion at the end of February 2016, the presidency said.

BRICS China summit must mark "second golden decade" (Cаммит БРИКС в Китае должен ознаменовать «второе золотое десятилетие») / South Africa, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion
South Africa
Author: Abbey Makoe

In the coming week, in the month that marks Spring season in South Africa and elsewhere, the BRICS summit scheduled to take place at the beginning of September need to inspire confidence into future.

Leaders of Brasil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will from September 3-5 be meeting in Xiamen in the Fujian province in China to take stock of a decade that has been and thrashing out a road map into a shared, common future.

Since it was founded a decade ago BRICS has proved that it is possible to set one's agenda and stay true to the push for that agenda.

As Zhu Jiejin, a specialist in Chinese multilateral diplomacy at Fudan university in China puts it: "BRICS has been a major platform for developing economies to explore their own ways of development and to bring reform to the existing global order."

After ten years of going through stormy times and there's been many – methinks that the fact that BRICS still stands on solid ground is testimony to the collective desire by members of the bloc to reconfigure a world order developing economies are unhappy with.

In my book, some of the key challenges for the coming summit include, among others: South-South economic development
*Forge a much stronger political cooperation among members
*Speed up the BRICS Bank funding models and operations
*Combined ways to counter terrorism and
*Focused cooperation at all global forums, eg, UN, World Bank, G20, etc.

If these objectives are pursuit, and achieved, surely they will bring-about what the Chinese refer to as the "Second Golden Decade" of BRICS.

Yet the truth is, the emergence of BRICS as a global power player was also going to be arduous. For starters, to challenge solid brick and mortar status quo with both economic and political subjectivities isn't a walk in the park.

It requires brains and guts, fore-sight and insight. As BRICS stumble from one crisis to the other, members of the bloc ought to be reminded that no one ever said it was going to be easy.

What complicate a tricky association is the bilateral challenges with the members of the bloc themselves. For example, the on-going tiff between Beijing and New Delhi over a border has cast a shadow over the on-coming summit.

The border dispute between the two Asian economic giants is over Doklan region in the Himalayas.

Yet in every challenge there emerge an opportunity to resolve the dispute and strengthen the bond.

It is highly anticipated that the Xiamen summit will provide an opportunity for both Chinese president Xi Jinping and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to hold a low-key meeting on the sidelines.

The beauty of it all is that Russia, which has close ties to India and China alike, is trusted by both parties to play the role of a mediator.

The following was reported in the Times of India: "India had looked at Moscow in the past six months to convince Beijing to shed its antagonistic approach towards India." To this end, India has held talks with Russia in the lead up to the summit and in anticipation of the mediation efforts by the Russians.

This is the beauty of a united BRICS which shares a common value system and a shared vision. Members need not look any further for dispute resolution. They capacity is from within.

In a rapidly changing world order, the role and importance of BRICS in international affairs is growing by the day. As other emerging markets become attracted to BRICS, and exhibit desire to join, the world may indeed witness what the Chinese delightfully refer to as "BRICS Plus".
China invites five countries as guests for BRICS summit (Китай приглашает пять стран в качестве гостей на саммит БРИКС) / India, August, 2017
Keywords: Xiamen_summit, Wang_Yi, BRICS+

BEIJING: China has invited Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand as guest countries for the upcoming BRICS summit but clarified that the invitation is not an attempt to expand the group under its 'BRICS Plus' approach.

China will host the BRICS summit in Xiamen city from September 3 to 5 in which leaders of the five countries will participate, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "We need to have some further explanation about the BRICS Plus to help people better understand the rationale of this idea," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here, addressing the media about BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit.

Wang has been floating the 'BRICS Plus' approach from March this year sparking speculation that Beijing is mooting the expansion of the emerging economies bloc.

Explaining the 'BRICS Plus' approach, Wang said the member countries have been inviting different countries during the annual summits of the group and referred to India's decision to invite leaders of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic) for last year's Goa summit in which Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal are members. Referring to the Goa summit, Wang said Chinese President Xi Jinping also attended the dialogue with BIMSTEC leaders and respected and supported the initiative of Prime Minister Modi.

"That dialogue was very effective," he said, replying to a question seeking explanation about China's 'BRICS Plus' concept whether it has support of all other members as the group takes decisions on consensus. Wang also referred to Russia, Brazil and South Africa inviting their neighbouring countries when they hosted the BRICS summits. "So actually this has been a practice that we have for number of years and this time, inspired by the experiences of previous BRICS leaders meeting, we have invited some countries for dialogue," he said, referring to the invitation to the five countries.

"Our practice is little bit different, we are not just inviting countries in our neighbourhood, but also countries from all around the world that are interested in BRICS mechanism, altogether five countries have been invited," he said. "I want to stress that this is the arrangement for this year, doesn't mean that these five countries will always will be invited to BRICS meetings in future," he said.

China's invitation to the five countries has been supported by the leaders of the four other countries including India, Wang said.

"We have given a name to this practice of inviting non- BRICS countries, that is BRICS Plus, but as to how many countries that are going to be invited as Plus countries, it is not a fixed number," he said.

The guest countries will be decided by the host country, he said adding that BRICS Plus acts with the aim and purpose of the dialogue which is consistent.

"We want to broaden the discussion to non-BRICS countries as well. I am confident that the dialogue this year will also be a success and also help expand BRICS influence. This is not only consistent with the interests of BRICS members but also meets the common aspirations of emerging markets and developing countries," Wang said.

He also sought to allay concerns that only India and China have been registering faster growth in the BRICS bloc while the economies of Russia, Brazil and South Africa remained sluggish.

"The five BRICS countries have maintained economic growth to different degrees. You mentioned that China and India are growing relatively faster than the rest three countries. They actually have recovered growth and enjoy a bright prospect," Wang said.

Their recovery is no easy achievement as the world economic recovery is sluggish, the impact of the international financial crisis is still lingering.

"The five BRICS countries enjoy bright prospects of development," he said.
BRICS off the wall (Нешаблонный БРИКС) / India, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion
Author: Suhasini Haidar

How India and China repair ties at the Xiamen summit will determine the future of BRICS itself

At Copenhagen in 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders of the newly formed BASIC group (with Brazil and South Africa) were sitting in a conference room, negotiating a statement on the failure of the climate change summit. The group of emerging economies had been bolstered by the formation of the BRIC group (Brazil, Russia, India and China, South Africa joined in 2010) with a declared objective of battling "Western hegemony". The BASIC group had decided they would walk away from Copenhagen without a deal, unless the demands of emerging economies, which couldn't afford the same emission cuts, were reflected. The scene, as described by Shyam Saran (then India's chief climate negotiator) in a new book on Indian foreign policy, turned dramatic: with a knock on the conference room door, the U.S. team, led by then President Barack Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, barged into the meeting. After much back and forth, Mr. Wen and Dr. Singh accepted an American compromise on the wording of the drafts, and the Copenhagen accord went ahead.

The power of five

The event didn't just change the course of international negotiations on global warming at the time, it heralded the arrival of emerging economies as a political force, and particularly the potential of the combined political clout of India and China. BRICS (BASIC was later disbanded) went from a modest 16-paragraph joint statement at Yekaterinburg in June 2009 to the more substantive 110 paragraphs that the five countries agreed upon in the Goa Declaration of October 2016, developing common positions not just on climate change but also on terrorism, energy, and world politics.

Over time, it no longer met with sneers and references, like being called the "Bloody Ridiculous Investment Concept" by one investment banker, or the group of "paper tigers", a reference to the fact that the term BRIC was coined in a paper by Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O'Neill in 2001. The valuation of the BRICS grouping, that represents 40% of the world's population and a quarter of its growth at $17 trillion, also did well, with more and more investment being driven into the five economies, mainly led by India and China. Not only did the BRICS countries better their positions in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, they also struck a small blow against Bretton Woods institutions, and the BRICS New Development Bank set up in 2015 has already given out about $6 billion in loans for 23 projects across BRICS countries. This is no mean feat given the vast differences in size and political systems, and internal turmoil in BRICS countries.

From Doklam to Xiamen

Despite all of these gains, the truth is that BRICS now faces its most challenging summit, not because of the West or the developed world, but because of growing differences between its two biggest members, India and China. And as Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to travel to Xiamen for the September 3-5 summit, it is important to see how the bilateral relationship and several other changes in geopolitics are now going to change the course of the BRICS engagement as well.

The Xiamen summit follows a gruelling two and a half months during which the rhetoric between India and China — especially the latter's — has been quite sharp. While diplomats smoothed out a victory over more hawkish elements by disengaging the troops at Doklam and obtaining a Chinese assurance that it would not continue its road construction at the tri-junction area, more heavy lifting will have to be done to restore the situation to pre-June terms. The bilateral tensions will no doubt spill over to the multilateral negotiations at Xiamen, especially given the negative atmosphere built up by state-run Chinese media these past few weeks.

Beyond the bilateral issues over the boundary, Nuclear Suppliers Group membership for India, terrorism, the Dalai Lama and others, the rift over China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is also likely to dominate discussions at BRICS, as it now underpins all of China's other policies. India's refusal to be a part of the BRI over sovereignty issues, coupled with its broader objections to the transparency and agenda of the project, was a cause for tensions before the Doklam stand-off, with some commentators even arguing that it precipitated the crisis. There is little doubt that China will aim to bring the BRI on the table for negotiations at BRICS, to win a statement of endorsement as it did at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation last year. India will have to use considerable leverage with other members to ensure that its concerns prevail. However, it must be remembered that Russia and South Africa are important parts of BRI, and while Brazil is not, it is no less a recipient of Chinese investment, with a $20 billion Brazil-China infrastructure fund inaugurated this May.

Multiple challenges

Another challenge for India is likely to arise from China's plan for a "BRICS-Plus" or "Friends of BRICS" grouping, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi's plan to include Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Mexico to an expanded version of BRICS. The suggestion of including Pakistan is something India has baulked at and won't pass quite yet, but it wouldn't want to be seen to be opposing China's rationale of promoting "south-south cooperation" further.

Meanwhile Russia, which was the prime mover for the grouping, has moved closer to China and away from India; this could affect the language of the joint statement, especially on issues like Afghanistan, on which BRICS members had previously been on the same page. Russia's estrangement from the U.S. and Europe post-2014 and the Ukraine crisis in particular have increased its dependence on its east and south, mainly in the direction of the $300 billion Russia-China oil pipeline that China is funding. Russia's shift on dealing with the Taliban is a strong signal of which way it is headed.

The U.S.'s new Afghanistan-Pakistan-India policy, that builds India's economic assistance into its own strategy for Afghanistan, will crystallise battle lines in the latest round of this age-old battle, with Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan ranged on one side, and India, the U.S. and NATO allies now on the other. In keeping with this, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called the U.S.'s Afghanistan policy a "futile course", while President Vladimir Putin's Afghanistan envoy Zamir Kabulov has warned against "putting too much pressure" on Pakistan. At both the BRICS conference in Goa last October, as well as the Heart of Asia summit in December, Russian officials cavilled at backing India's strong language on terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

The road ahead

Nevertheless, it is an indicator of the importance of BRICS that both Mr. Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping appeared to have exerted enough pressure on officials to bring about the disengagement in Doklam a week before the summit at Xiamen. The Modi government must be credited for ensuring that it won peace at Doklam without building the outcome up as a defeat of China, which would have made their rivalry at BRICS that much more intense. In this, BRICS has fared better than two other groupings, SAARC and the Non-Aligned Movement, whose last summits India skipped, and appears to have abandoned. It remains to be seen how the two leaders use next week's bilateral encounter to chart a road map to repair ties. This could provide a realistic understanding of where the road ahead leads for BRICS as well, and whether post-Xiamen it can still bear out the potential that was promised a decade ago in Yekaterinburg and Copenhagen.
BRICS: Towards New Horizons of Strategic Partnership (БРИКС: На пути к новым горизонтам стратегического партнерства) / Russia, September, 2017
Keywords: Vladimir_Putin, Xiamen_Summit

Vladimir Putin's article BRICS: Towards New Horizons of Strategic Partnership was published ahead of the BRICS Summit, which will be held in Xiamen, China, on September 4 and 5.

The 9th BRICS Summit will be held in Xiamen, China, on September 4 and 5. I consider it important in this regard to present Russia's approaches to cooperation within the framework of this large and respected association and to share my views on the future of our further cooperation.

I would like to begin by expressing our appreciation of China's significant contribution as this year's chair of the organisation, which has allowed the BRICS countries as a group to move forward in all the key areas of our partnership, including politics, the economy and culture. Moreover, the group of five has greatly strengthened its global standing.

It is important that our group's activities are based on the principles of equality, respect for one another's opinions and consensus. Within BRICS, nothing is ever forced on anyone. When the approaches of its members do not coincide, we work patiently and carefully to coordinate them. This open and trust-based atmosphere is conducive to the successful implementation of our tasks.

Russia highly values the multifaceted cooperation that has developed within BRICS. Our countries' constructive cooperation on the international arena is aimed at creating a fair multipolar world and equal development conditions for all.

Russia stands for closer coordination of the BRICS countries' foreign policies, primarily at the UN and G20, as well as other international organisations. It is clear that only the combined efforts of all countries can help bring about global stability and find solutions to many acute conflicts, including those in the Middle East. I would like to say that it was largely thanks to the efforts of Russia and other concerned countries that conditions have been created to improve the situation in Syria. We have delivered a powerful blow to the terrorists and laid the groundwork for launching the movement towards a political settlement and the return of the Syrian people to peace.

However, the fight against terrorists in Syria and other countries and regions must continue. Russia calls for going over from debates to the practical creation of a broad counterterrorism front based on international law and led by the UN. Naturally, we highly appreciate the support and assistance of our BRICS partners in this respect.

I have to say a few words about the situation on the Korean Peninsula, where tensions have grown recently and the situation is balancing on the brink of a large-scale conflict. Russia believes that the policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile programme is misguided and futile. The region's problems should only be settled through a direct dialogue of all the parties concerned without any preconditions. Provocations, pressure and militarist and insulting rhetoric are a dead-end road.

Russia and China have created a roadmap for a settlement on the Korean Peninsula that is designed to promote the gradual easing of tensions and the creation of a mechanism for lasting peace and security.

Russia also calls for promoting the interaction of the BRICS countries in the area of global information security. We propose joining our efforts to create a legal basis for cooperation and subsequently to draft and adopt universal rules of responsible behaviour of states in this sphere. A major step towards this goal would be the signing of an intergovernmental BRICS agreement on international information security.

I would like to point out that on Russia's initiative a BRICS Strategy for Economic Partnership was adopted at the Ufa Summit in 2015 and is being successfully implemented. We hope to be able to discuss new large-scale cooperation tasks in trade and investment and industrial cooperation at the Xiamen Summit.

Russia is interested in promoting economic cooperation within the BRICS format. Considerable practical achievements have been recently reported in this area, primarily the launch of the New Development Bank (NDB). It has approved seven investment projects in the BRICS countries worth around $1.5 billion. This year, the NDB is to approve a second package of investment projects worth $2.5-$3 billion in total. I am convinced that their implementation will not only be a boost to our economies but will also promote integration between our countries.

Russia shares the BRICS countries' concerns over the unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture, which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies. We are ready to work together with our partners to promote international financial regulation reforms and to overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies. We will also work towards a more balanced distribution of quotas and voting shares within the IMF and the World Bank.

I am confident that the BRICS countries will continue to act in a consolidated manner against protectionism and new barriers in global trade. We value the BRICS countries' consensus on this issue, which allows us to more consistently advocate the foundations of an open, equal and mutually beneficial multilateral trade system and to strengthen the role of the WTO as the key regulator in international trade.

Russia's initiative on the development of cooperation among the BRICS countries' antimonopoly agencies is aimed at creating effective mechanisms to encourage healthy competition. The goal is to create a package of cooperation measures to work against the restrictive business practices of large multinational corporations and trans-border violations of competition rules.

I would like to draw your attention to Russia's initiative on the establishment of a BRICS Energy Research Platform. We believe that this would enable us to coordinate our information, analysis and research activities in the interests of the five BRICS countries and would ultimately facilitate the implementation of joint energy investment projects.

Another priority is to build up our cooperation in the area of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). We believe that we should integrate the national SMEs' online resources for placing crosslinks and other commercial information and for exchanging data on reliable partners.

Russia is advocating the Women and the Economy public-private dialogue. This initiative provides for holding regular debates by members of the BRICS countries' business and expert communities, women's associations and government agencies. The first such meeting was held in Novosibirsk on July 4, 2017, on the sidelines of the First International Women's Congress of the SCO and BRICS Member States. Another related idea is to create a BRICS Women's Business Club as a network of professional interaction between women in business through a specialised online information resource.

Our other priorities include cooperation in science, technology, innovations and cutting edge medicine. Our countries have a big potential in this respect that comprises a solid and mutually complementary research base, unique technical achievements, skilled personnel and huge markets for science-intensive products. We propose discussing at the upcoming summit a package of measures to reduce the threat of infectious diseases and to create new medicines to prevent and fight epidemics.

I believe our cooperation in the humanitarian sphere has excellent prospects. While working to implement the BRICS Intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Culture, we hope that our partners will take part in the New Wave and New Wave Junior international contests of young pop singers. We have also advanced the initiative to create a joint television network of the BRICS countries.

Russia stands for strengthening the BRICS countries' partnership in politics, the economy, culture and other areas. We are ready to continue working jointly with our colleagues to promote democracy and to strengthen the healthy elements of international relations based firmly on international law. I am convinced that the Xiamen Summit will help invigorate our countries' efforts towards finding solutions to the challenges of the 21st century and will propel cooperation within BRICS to a higher level.

I wholeheartedly wish health and success to your readers and to all people in the BRICS countries.
After Doklam, India and China to Meet at BRICS Summit (После Доклама Индия и Китай встретятся на саммите БРИКС) / India, August, 2017
Keywords: India_China, India_BRICS, Xiamen_summit, expert_opinion
Author: Tridivesh Singh Maini

On many fronts, India has grown more distant from the other members of BRICS.

India and China did manage to resolve their more than two-month standoff near the tri-junction with Bhutan just days before the BRICS Summit in Xiamen (schedule for September 3-5). A statement from India's Ministry of External Affairs said, "Expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the faceoff site at Doklam has been agreed to and is ongoing."

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying commented on the issue, saying, "At 1430 or so on August 28, India withdrew its personnel and equipment to the Indian side of the border line." She also said China would make "necessary adjustments and deployments according to the changes."

Both sides claimed victory. The Indian side withdrew its troops to their pre-June positions and the Chinese reportedly agreed to stop road construction.

While both sides seem to have found a solution that allowed them to back down, ties between New Delhi and Beijing are likely to remain circumspect for some time.

The Doklam tensions cast a significant shadow over economic ties between both countries. Economic ties have been one of the main drivers of bilateral relations between China and India.

While New Delhi did not go to the extent of boycotting Chinese goods, as suggested by some groups, India did send a clear message to China by imposing significant anti-dumping duties on a number of goods, including tempered glass used in cellphones. Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in response to questions in the Rajya Sabha, "anti-dumping duty is in force on 93 products concerning imports from China." China, in return, laid off Indian employees working in other countries. One Chinese mobile company (Huawei) for instance, fired a large number of Indian employees working in their offices in Tehran, Iran, only to reinstate them later.

In fact, some believe that it is the economic aspect which ultimately forced Beijing to take a less assertive stand, in addition to the upcoming BRICS Summit in China.

For the past decade, in spite of tensions, the India-China economic relationship has not been threatened to this degree. While political disputes remained, on the economic front India-China relations have progressed.

What About the BRICS?

The broader question, given the recent tensions, is how will the two Asian powers find common ground on key issues? Both India and China are key players in BRICS, and the New Development Bank (which is headquartered in China) is led by an Indian, KV Kamath. Significantly, while the initial capital was $50 billion and all members contributed $10 billion, China has contributed over 40 percent of the Contingency Reserve Arrangement ($100 billion). Geopolitical issues have come up during BRICS before, but the grouping avoids controversy among the members. At the Goa summit in 2016, China managed to keep not just the South China Sea dispute out of the group's declaration, but ensured that there was no reference to terror groups operating from Pakistani soil.

India has strategic differences not only with China, but Russia as well. Recently, Russia sold Mi-35M helicopters to Pakistan, much to the discomfort of India. One core reason behind Moscow's warming up to Islamabad is New Delhi's increasing proximity to Washington. New Delhi and Moscow, despite some differences, generally recognize and respect each other's economic and geopolitical relevance. Nonetheless, Moscow's cosying up to Islamabad has caused significant discomfort in New Delhi.

Moving beyond the Asian members, for a moment, there are other significant issues that further hamstring the group's ability to achieve anything significant. South Africa and Brazil are going through their own serious economic difficulties. South Africa is estimated to grow at 1 percent in 2017 and 1.5 percent in 2018 according to World Bank estimates. Brazil was expected to stage a recovery given President Michel Temer's pro-reform instinct. He had, for instance, initiated a massive $14 billion privatization program. The country's credibility suffered a severe jolt, however, after Temer became embroiled in a corruption scandal in June 2017. Temer faces historic low approval ratings and very well could end up being removed, like his predecessor, by impeachment.

India's changing foreign policy — re-orienting away from its previously anti-West bent — could impact its interactions among the other members, like China and Russia, which hold closer to this position. In Brazil, Temer has sought to distance himself from the policy of his predecessors as well, especially their emphasis on strong ties with left-leaning countries such as Venezuela and Bolivia.

Given these geopolitical complications and the overall narrative witnessing such a significant shift, forums like BRICS may ultimately give India, Russia and China an opportunity to engage and resolve some of their bilateral issues. But to expect the grouping to make significant strides is a bit farfetched.

New Delhi would be well advised to not expect much from BRICS, but focus on other organizations which strengthen its outreach to South Asia and Southeast Asia, such as BIMSTEC. India should work closer with ASEAN and focus on strengthening cooperation with Japan. The argument that BRICS lacks significant gravitas and a clear narrative has been scoffed at by members and supporters, but is not far from the truth given the changing geopolitical equations, and economic priorities of member states — especially India.

Tridivesh Singh Maini is a New Delhi based Policy Analyst associated with The Jindal School of International Affairs, OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat.
Five things to watch out for at the BRICS nations summit in China (Пять вещей, на которые следует обратить внимание на саммите стран БРИКС в Китае) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: Xiamen_summit

China and India's leaders will meet this weekend at a BRICS nation summit days after the two nations ended a military standoff in a border area high in the Himalayas.

The BRICS countries – Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa – are a grouping of the some of the world's major emerging economies, which account for about 23 per cent of the world's economy and 43 per cent of its population.

Leaders of the nations will converge on the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen for the bloc's ninth summit between Sunday and Tuesday. Here are some of the big issues to look out for.

1. Will the border row affect Sino-Indian relations?

In the aftermath of near three-month stand-off between Chinese and Indian troops on the Doklam plateau, all eyes will be on President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to see if the dispute has impaired their ability to work together and forge new agreements.

Indian Prime Minister Modi will visit China to attend BRICS summit, following end of tense border stand-off

Before troops from both sides withdrew from the disputed area of the border, there was even talk that Modi would skip the BRICS summit. He is coming and the event will allow the two leaders' first face-to-face discussions since the border dispute broke out in June.

2. Can the summit help revitalise economic growth among its members?

The BRICS nations have experienced economic slowdowns in recent years. Brazil is dealing with economic depression and political divisions amid corruptions scandals, South Africa faces a recession and bids to oust its prime mister and Russia has suffered under sanctions and weak oil prices. China, meanwhile is managing an economic slowdown while preparing for a major reshuffle among its leadership.

The BRICS grouping's primary aim is to ensure that more nations have a say in the institutions that govern global trade and the economy, according to Luiz Pinto, joint fellow at the Brookings Doha Centre and Qatar University.

Even with Modi back on board, China will find it hard to keep emerging markets club together

The summit may showcase new financial cooperation agreements and economic projects. It may also bolster BRICS' proposals intended to counter the influence of Western-dominated institutions, such as the World Bank.

3. Will China and BRICS nations take on a greater role as world leaders?

The group may partly fill the vacuum left by the United States as President Donald Trump pursues policies leaning towards economic isolationism. Moves to increase BRICS nations' leadership role will probably be largely driven by China, according to analysts. This is partly because its economy is massively larger than some other members, such as South Africa and Russia.

BRICS could be placed "in a more formidable position to bolster their collective leadership position", political economist Simon Freemantle wrote in a Standard Bank report.

4. Will BRICS nations continue to pursue sustainable development projects and goals?

The group's New Development Bank approved US$1.4 billion in loans for four sustainable development projects in China, India, and Russia ahead of the summit. The bank has so far approved US$4 billion in loans for infrastructure and similar development projects and is expected to approve billions more in the following few years, according to analysts.

Are the BRICS cracking?

With the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change, BRICS may also demonstrate its climate commitments at the summit, Freemantle wrote in his report .

5. Are more countries likely to join the group?

The leaders of five other developing nations will attend the summit – Tajikistan, Egypt, Mexico, Guinea and Thailand. China has for months advocated a "BRICS Plus" approach to potentially expand the bloc's influence with more member countries.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said Beijing wants to broaden the discussion to include non-BRICS countries, to meet "the common aspirations of emerging markets and developing countries".

More countries taking part in the summit could signal the inclusion of additional BRICS members, which would "inestimably bolster the importance, representativeness and clout of the grouping", according to Freemantle.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
The second golden decade of BRICS: Back to the origins (Второе золотое десятилетие БРИКС: Возвращение к истокам) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion
Author: Aleksei Zakharov

Since its inception in 2006, BRICS has been in the observers' spotlight, gaining endorsements as well as receiving criticisms. Along with its members — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — this year, the summit will see representations by Thailand, Egypt, Tajikistan, Mexico and Guinea.

While inviting emerging economies is a practice in fostering interactions, Beijing's initiative to add new permanent members and introduce the BRICS Plus construction doesn't seem relevant in light of the recent India-China dispute.

Over the years, BRICS has managed to turn into the stable platform for developing nations' collaborative. To a large extent, implementation of a shared agenda gives reasons for an optimistic view.

  • There is a huge potential for BRICS to develop new financial institutions. The New Development Bank and Credit Rating Agency can help achieve the aim by creating a real alternative to the Western-led world order, making it far more inclusive.
  • Over the years, BRICS has emerged as a solely economy-oriented association, engaging in multiple levels of discussion. The range of cooperation spheres is impressive — it includes areas as trade and finance, global development, terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and Internet governance. The club raises actual issues as the crises in Syria and Afghanistan. In the upcoming summit, member states are likely to adopt a mutual position toward the ongoing situation in the Korean Peninsula.
  • The BRICS agenda encourages multifaceted interaction since it unites the states' heads, ministers, national security advisors, parliamentarians, entrepreneurs, academicians, media representatives and young leaders. The dialogue at many levels brings the five states together to create a platform for discussing sensitive issues.
BRICS has a uniting format wherein developing nations can articulate mutual approaches in global affairs.

There has always been a shared world view. However, every member state has its own set of priorities, strategic and tactical vision on several matters. When it comes to the resolution of the Syria and Afghanistan crises, Russia, India and China traditionally had higher stakes compared to Brazil and South Africa. It can also be argued that India, Brazil and South Africa are more interested in the reform of the global institutions than Russia and China.

What's ahead for RIC

Since its inception in 2002, the Russia-India-China trilateral forum (RIC) has managed to overcome divergences, including border incidents between India and China. RIC has helped establish regular dialogue between different foreign affairs ministers. The RIC mechanism broke down in April 2017 when China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi refused to take part in the meeting, possibly because of the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of Tibet. It is, in fact the initial point of the India-China discord, following Beijing's decision to rename six places in Arunachal Pradesh and New Delhi's boycott of the One Belt One Road summit, and later, the standoff in Doklam.

It is crucial to see if the current row in the Sino-Indian relationship affects the RIC — and in turn — the BRICS.

Being a leading nation in financial and military capabilities, China views itself as a hegemon. China seems to dismiss the golden rule of leadership: "With greater power comes greater responsibility." Beijing is trying to use its economic and political strength to set its rules and promote its interests. However, territorial disputes in South China Sea and at the Doklam plateau can hardly strengthen global perceptions about China. Neither Russia nor India will come to terms with a China-dominated Asia.

New Delhi is wary of China's moves in the South China Sea, in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean region. It is more concerned about China's activities in South Asia in context to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. China hasn't supported India's bid at the UN Security Council and the NSG membership. However, despite negative trends in Sino-Indian relations, the two countries have managed to maintain close economic ties.

Russia finds itself in a complicated position within this continuing distrust. It is forced to balance between 'two friends'. Moscow has not spoken officially regarding the dispute between the two sides, but its foreign ministry expressed hope. It said: "[A]s responsible members of the international community, New Delhi and Beijing will be able to find mutually acceptable ways to quickly defuse the tensions that have arisen between them."

The important factor, however, is that all the three leaders — of India, China and Russia — are likely to remain in power for the next couple of years. Even as contradictions inside the group are looming, the three countries will need to maintain their partnership, adapting their foreign policy patterns to emerging realities.

Moscow can play the apparent role of being the connecting link in the RIC mechanism. For one, India and China trust Russia as their strategic partner. Additionally, Russia is arguably the only country in the world who can have an influence on Beijing's stance. The two states have had good relations.

Objectives of IBSA

IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa tripartite grouping) is balanced in its purview: to strengthen the South-South cooperation. While the group comprises three multi-ethnic, multicultural, multireligious democracies whose strategic interests do not contradict, India, Brazil and South Africa share common goals in the global governance system.

Since the first trilateral meeting in 2003, IBSA has failed to become an institutionalised platform. The meetings of the countries' representatives are irregular and often coincide with BRICS and UNGA events. The last summit of the three nations' leaders took place in South Africa in 2011, and since then, the summit, planned to be held in India in 2013, was cancelled due to 'scheduling issues'. It is still not clear whether the meeting, announced to take place in mid-2017, will go ahead.

The three nations established joint naval exercises — the IBSAMAR. At the same time, developments in military understanding and interoperability between IBSA members indicate immense potential. Being a member of both distinct platforms, India holds a preferable position, having the scope to pursue interests in BRICS, RIC and IBSA. Even if BRICS faces problems of consensus in the future, New Delhi will be able to concentrate on its efforts promoting the Indian agenda.

Being a member of both distinct platforms, India holds a preferable position, having the scope to pursue interests in BRICS, RIC and IBSA.

It is evident that BRICS has hardly represented a united political force so far and the strategic interests of its members are increasingly falling apart. The group should concentrate on fostering geo-economic cooperation, primarily on developing competitive financial institutions, increasing market integration and implementing infrastructure projects. It will be difficult to avoid the issues of finding mutually beneficial solutions; for instance, on the Chinese Belt Road Initiative (BRI). However, the commitment to the idea of the multipolar world with strong and independent governance institutions that created the group, can help mitigate diverging views.

To move to the second golden decade, BRICS indeed needs to build on the achievements of the past, but also retain the legacy of the format and return to its origins.

New Development Bank Signs 3 Loan Agreements for Projects in China (НБР подписывает 3 соглашения о займе для проектов в Китае) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: NDB, concluded_agreements

The New Development Bank signed today three loan agreements for projects in Fujian, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces of China. The signing ceremonies for the three projects were held in the city of Xiamen, China on the sidelines of the 9th BRICS Summit and were witnessed by Mr. Shi Yaobin, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Finance of the People's Republic of China.

"The New Development Bank was established by the five BRICS countries to finance infrastructure and sustainable development activities in its member countries. We were also established to pursue the green commitment of our founders. Since inception, our activities have been aligned towards this commitment. To date, the Board of Directors of NDB has approved 11 projects with loans aggregating over USD 3.0 billion," said the NDB President Mr. K.V.Kamath. "We hope that the projects supported by the Bank will act as catalysts for development and benefit the lives of people in our member states," he added.

"According to the Bank's Strategy, sustainable infrastructure development will be the primary emphasis of the NDB's operations in the next five years," highlighted Mr. K.V.Kamath.

Under the framework of Fujian Putian Pinghai Bay Offshore Wind Power Project, a sovereign project loan of RMB 2 billion will be provided to the People's Republic of China for an offshore wind power project proposed to be implemented in the Fujian Province.

The project is situated in Pinghai Bay, city of Putian, Fujian Province; it is about 12 km from Pinghai Town.

The project, with 3,490 effective generation hours per year, would on average generate 873,000 kWh of electricity every year which would be sold to the provincial grid. The total installed capacity of the project will reach 250 MW.

By generating electricity using a renewable energy source, the project would avoid 869,900 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
The project also expected to enhance confidence in China's large-scale adoption of offshore wind power generation under various technical challenges.

Ecological Development Project in the Green Heart Center of the Hunan Chang-Zhu-Tan City Cluster

Under the framework of Ecological Development Project in the Green Heart Center of the Hunan Chang-Zhu-Tan City Cluster, the NDB will provide a CNY (RMB) 2 billion loan to the People's Republic of China to enhance flood control, and improve water quality in Hunan province's Xiang River watershed.

Three municipalities (Changsha, Zhuzhou and Xiangtan) are coordinating to implement the project.

The Project addresses problems along multiple tributaries of the Xiang River to provide a comprehensive improvement in flood control and water quality, benefiting almost 50 million residents.

The Project will increase the flood control capacity of four large Xiang River tributaries to minimize flood damage. At the same time, improvements in wastewater disposal and drainage, non-point source pollution control and ecological restoration will also bring health benefits and reduced water-related infections and diseases.

In June 2017, Hunan was severely affected by heavy rainstorms and floods. By taking advantage of the Bank's rapid project preparation, important infrastructure will be strengthened to resolve immediate issues.

Jiangxi Industrial Low-Carbon Restructuring and Green Development Pilot Project

Under the framework of Jiangxi Industrial Low-Carbon Restructuring and Green Development Pilot Project, the NDB will provide a USD 200 million Loan to the People's Republic of China.

The objectives of the project are to promote energy conservation, resources recycling and pollutants reduction through technology upgrade.

The project will contribute to achieving a set of targets set through a number of sub-projects focusing on investments in energy conservation and environmental protection. Notably, the cumulative energy consumption per industry value added from medium and large enterprises needs to decrease by 18% and the comprehensive utilization ratio of industrial solid waste needs to increase to over 65% from 57% in 2016.

The project had been regarded as a model for sustainable industrial development and energy conservation in China. It will strongly support the PRC strategy to improve the energy efficiency of the energy-intensive industry.

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.

China: BRICS and stones may break our loans (Китай: кирпичики БРИКС и камни могут разорвать наши займы) / USA, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion
Author: John Moody

As President Trump gropes with the devastation of Harvey, he should also pay attention to China's bold bid to become the leader of the global economy. This weekend, it will build the foundation of that takeover strategy with BRICS.

BRICS stands for the charter members – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – of an economic alliance formed by China that hopes to challenge America's traditional dominance in world economic affairs.

China's gross domestic product (GDP) is already the world's second largest. By allying itself with another major American nemesis – Russia – and the rapidly growing economies of Brazil and India, China hopes to bypass the U.S. in world influence, especially in developing countries.

Ensuring that the BRICS summit is a success is vitally important to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will preside over the three-day session. Chinese TV has been running a nightly hagiography of Xi, painting him as a leader who can bring the world together and ensure widespread prosperity. The contrast with Trump, who was elected on his Make America Great Again rhetoric, could not be more glaring.

It's no accident that China picked partners from South America, Asia and Africa, along with Europe's largest country, Russia, to make its challenge. And the summit beginning Sunday in the Chinese city of Xiamen will include prospective new members including Egypt, Mexico, Guinea and Thailand – all of them from regions around the world where the U.S. is seeing its influence in decline.

"China has already started thinking about a BRICS-plus," says Sourabh Gupta, a senior policy analyst at the Institute for China-America Studies. "This is essentially about China focusing beyond its neighbors, big emerging economies and embracing and integrating other developing countries, so that China can leverage its influence and take leadership roles at the global level."

China's inroads into U.S. leadership have grown increasingly assertive, even as Trump promises to reset the dial on American relations with Beijing. The ongoing North Korea nuclear situation, where Trump correctly thinks China could be more helpful, has stalled development of an overall trade policy.

Even as the U.S. struggles to identify and shape its goals, Trump is repeating his campaign threats to enact tariffs and protectionist measures against Chinese imports that could start a trade war. He's also considering how to answer China's ongoing island-building in the South China Sea – which Beijing regards as sovereign territory.

China is not without weapons, aside from its military. It holds $1.2 trillion dollars of U.S. government securities – in other words, loans -- that could be called in at any time. China also controls 95 percent of the world's production of rare earth elements, minerals and metals that are crucial to almost electronic and digital product from GPS systems to the F-35 fighter jet. China cut off exports of rare earths in 2010, and sent world markets into a frenzy.

With the misery in Texas dominating TV screens, it's difficult for Trump to pay heed to a summit in provincial China. He should.

His top priority as president is America's safety and welfare. China's leader has the same priorities for his country – and a plan built with BRICS to make sure things go his way.

Building power ties, brick by brick (Строительство энергетических связей по кирпичику) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: energy, expert_opinion

Robust energy industry-related relations among BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — complement producers and exporters on one side and importers and suppliers on the other, creating a perfect atmosphere for win-win deals that could bridge the demand-supply gap among the bloc members, analysts said.

For example, Russia and Brazil are oil exporters and producers, while India, China and South Africa are net importers.

Russia is looking to export its oil to importers outside the European Union. Emerging economies like China are seeking to import oil for energy security. China is willing to seize opportunities arising from Russia's needs, they said.

So, energy deals between such countries could help make BRICS stronger, said Li Li, energy research director at ICIS China, a consulting company that provides analysis of China's energy market.

China and Russia have already forged a variety of oil and gas ventures and undertaken investments in recent years.

These include the Yamal LNG project located in the Arctic region of Russia, the world's first integrated project for polar natural gas exploration, development, liquefaction and transportation.

In many ways, Yamal signifies future possibilities in the key energy industry for BRICS countries.

The project is expected to begin operations this year and much of Yamal's output will be supplied to China and other Asian countries, according to Novatek, the natural gas producer in Russia responsible for the Yamal project.

China is already the world's largest energy consumer, producer and net importer. Its total oil imports in the first six months of this year reached 212 million tons, according to the General Administration of Customs.

China has always regarded Russia a priority partner for cooperation in investments, Li said.

"China has been a top buyer and strategic partner of Russia's abundant oil and gas resources, and the country's financial support from institutions, including the China Development Bank, also helped deepen bilateral cooperation."

Yamal is not the only bright spot.

Gazprom, Russia's largest natural gas producer, has a 30-year deal with China National Petroleum Co under which Russia will start supplying gas to China through Siberia at the end of 2019.

Dubbed the "Power of Siberia", the new pipeline, part of a China-Russia supplementary purchase and sale contract, has a planned annual capacity of 38 billion cubic meters, Gazprom said.

According to Wang Jun, general manager of the Russian unit of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, the world's largest refiner, Russia has abundant energy resources, and Chinese oil and gas companies' are providing necessary technology for exploration and development, which makes the two countries a perfect match for energy cooperation.

Russia, with its political stability and low risk to resources, should be taken as a key strategic region for Chinese companies, he said.

According to Li, in addition to Russia, China has been actively nailing various energy cooperation agreements with other BRICS members, providing support in infrastructure construction, technology and export of capital goods.

In South Africa, for example, Sinopec announced in March that it will pay some $1 billion for a 75 percent stake in Chevron Corp's South African assets, like its subsidiary in Botswana, in an attempt to secure its first major refinery on the African continent.

The acquisition is believed to take further advantage of the energy behemoth's downstream experiences to turn the site on the African continent into a more profitable storage terminal.

Demand for refined petroleum in South Africa has been increasing at an average annual rate of nearly 5 percent over the past five years, thanks to a growing middle class. Such demand is currently estimated to be around 27 million metric tons, Sinopec said.

"Sinopec used to focus mostly on the domestic market, but now it has been expanding abroad, with its ample expertise and experience, interfacing more with the global market," Li said.

"China's oil and gas companies have been more active in chasing refinery assets worldwide in recent years, in an attempt to further reshape their asset portfolios while exporting their technologies."

This is also consistent with the country's Belt and Road Initiative, taking China's new refinery technology and management experience abroad and better strengthening the country's connectivity with the world, she said.

State Grid Corp of China, with its abundant expertise and experience, also has big plans to play a key role in the clean energy industry in South America.

The company, which runs the majority of the nation's electricity distribution networks, had landed ultra high-voltage electricity transmission projects in Brazil.

According to Li Lequan, deputy director of State Grid International Development Co Ltd, SGCC's subsidiary for global operations, the ultra high-voltage electricity transmission projects in Brazil mark a major breakthrough in China's "going global" strategy in the field of UHV technology.

Han Xiaoping, an analyst at Beijing-based, said the technology makes it possible to transmit large amounts of power over long distances.

Given Brazil's vast and varied geography, this is exactly what the country needs, he said.

Han said the UHV line will signify Brazil's, as well as South America's, first "electricity superhighway".

"State Grid's UHV technology will also make the company a global leader in the power plant, as well as the distribution grid construction market," he said.

Zhou Dadi, a senior researcher at the China Energy Research Society, said China's advanced technology in power transmission, power transformation, nuclear energy and renewable energy can help countries, including India, to develop low-carbon energy alternatives.

Zhou said there is immense potential for energy cooperation among the five BRICS countries. They should maximize such potential, he said.

He also cautioned that thorough research of other countries' economic situation, foreign investment policy and state of the domestic energy industry is needed to ensure win-win cooperation.

BRICS nations are regional pacesetters for innovation (Страны БРИКС являются региональными лидерами в инновациях) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: research, statistics, innovations

BRICS countries are pacesetters in the regions where they are located and are leading scientific and technological innovation among neighboring countries, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The report, compiled by the China Science and Technology Exchange Center, shows that the research and development expenditure of the BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — now accounts for approximately 17 percent of the world's total.

Their exports of high-tech products are worth nearly $6 trillion, accounting for 28 percent of the global total. Meanwhile, the total number of scientific papers published by BRICS members has reached 590,000, accounting for 27 percent of the total worldwide, which indicates that the five countries are making increasingly greater contributions to and having a greater effect on global science and technology innovation.

Based on the latest data available, the report offers a comprehensive analysis and rating of the innovative competitiveness of the BRICS countries, with China ranking top, followed by Russia, South Africa, Brazil and India.

The report also found that from 2001 to 2016, the BRICS nations as a whole showed a rising trend in national innovative competitiveness, with China and Russia developing at a fast speed, India in the middle, and Brazil and South Africa developing at a comparatively slower pace.

The report predicts that the coming five years will see the BRICS members continue to improve in terms of national innovative competitiveness, with China and Russia maintaining strong growth momentum, India growing at a moderate rate, and Brazil and South Africa picking up speed gradually.

It also estimates that the five countries' national innovative competitiveness will maintain steady growth till 2030.

China's trade with BRICS countries up 26% (Торговля Китая с странами БРИКС выросла на 26%) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: China_BRICS, trade_relations, trade_volume, statistics

BEIJING - China's trade with BRICS countries experienced fast growth in the first seven months, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Thursday.

Trade volume between China and BRICS countries increased 26 percent year on year to hit $167.07 billion during the January-July period, MOC spokesperson Gao Feng said at a press briefing.

As of the end of July, China's non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI) to BRICS countries had reached $870 million, Gao said. China's non-financial ODI dropped 44.3 percent year on year to $57.2 billion in the first seven months of 2017, official data showed.

"There is huge investment potential among BRICS countries," said Gao.

According to Gao, BRICS members are expected to reach agreements on trade promotion, investment facilitation, economic and technological cooperation as well as the multilateral trading system during the upcoming summit, which will be held in China's southeastern coastal city of Xiamen from Sept 3 to 5.

Since 2009, BRICS summits have been held annually. The foreign, finance and security ministers of the nations also meet regularly.

In past years, the five BRICS members have doubled their combined percentage of the world's GDP to 23 percent of the total.
Trade in services key to BRICS ties (Торговля услугами, ключевыми для связей БРИКС) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: trade_relations, Zhang_Shaogang, Hu_Yingzhi
Author: Zhong Nan

Trade in services and related investments will receive priority and help in cementing business relations among BRICS countries, senior commerce ministry officials said.

Their comments followed calls by the trade ministers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in Shanghai early last month to enhance trade in services and intra-BRICS investment.

With trade and investment in services becoming new drivers for global economic growth, BRICS countries will intensify cooperation in information exchange, manufacturing capacity building and coordination within the group, as well as undertake practical measures in priority fields, such as tourism, education and healthcare services, said Zhang Shaogang, director-general of the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Commerce.

BRICS countries accounted for 23 percent of global GDP in 2016, 16 percent of global trade, 16 percent of total foreign investment and 12 percent of outbound investment, while trade among them was worth $300 billion, data from the Ministry of Commerce show.

Outbound direct investment, or ODI, from BRICS countries totaled $197 billion in 2016, but intra-BRICS investment accounted for only 6 percent of the world's total, Zhang said, implying there is great potential yet to be tapped.

"Services trade can offer BRICS countries opportunities to balance their trade structure and investment options. It will also push forward the development of China's services sector and ongoing supply-side structural reform," Zhang said.

Eager to restore their earning ability, China and Brazil signed a memorandum of understanding in August to diversify services trade to upgrade their commerce structure from commodity and goods exchanges.

The MoU, or a two-year action plan, is designed to encourage the two countries to improve services trade in eight areas, including engineering, architecture, e-commerce, banking automation and tourism, to enrich bilateral trade ties over the next two years.

Hu Yingzhi, deputy negotiation commissioner at the Department of World Trade Organization in the Ministry of Commerce, said China also will further open up its market to other BRICS countries and stimulate goods imports, as they are highly complementary in trade.

"For instance, agricultural commodities from Brazil, medical products from India, energy products from Russia and wine from South Africa enjoy high demand in China," said Hu.

China imported $70 billion worth of goods from other BRICS members in the first half of this year, up 33 percent year-on-year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

"However, there are challenges confronting BRICS countries, such as weak external demand as the world economy remains in a period of recovery and deep adjustment," said Wang Lei, director of the Research Institute for BRICS Economies at Beijing Normal University.

The business environment in BRICS countries needs to be improved, given policy restrictions in areas such as market access, taxation and visa issuance, according to the 2017 BRICS Sustainable Development Report published by the China Development Bank's Financial Research and Development Center.

Zuma: BRICS bank will finance projects in other developing countries (Зума: БРИКС банк будет финансировать проекты в других развивающихся странах) / Brazil, September, 2017
Keywords: NDB, Jacob_Zuma

For the South African President, cooperation between governments and the private initiative, such as what has been done in Brazil by Michel Temer, is essential for growth

Funding infrastructure projects in developing countries, especially in Africa, should be the focus of the BRICS' New Development Bank (NDB). Such was the assessment by South African President Jacob Zuma, made during a speech at the special session of the BRICS Business Forum.

"The bank has to help other developing countries, especially African countries," said Zuma. For him, financing should occur mainly in areas such as infrastructure and energy. Since 2015, the NDB has already awarded funding for 11 projects, with a total value of US$ 3 billion.

Zuma believes that the success of the BRICS countries requires multilateral cooperation and partnership with private enterprise. In his view, in order to achieve a "bright future", the BRICS must join forces with the business sector. The South African president highlighted, for example, the measures taken by President Michel Temer in Brazil.

"Government does not survive independently of private initiative. Like President Michel Temer in Latin America, we are contributing to countries in Africa," he said. "We will continue with great spirit for common development. In this context of economic recession, we need to have innovation and a spirit to recover the economy," he said.
New Development Bank to expand to private sector next year (В следующем году НБР расширится до частного сектора) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: NDB

SHANGHAI - The New Development Bank (NDB), a multilateral financial institution set up by BRICS, will expand its loan operations to the private sector next year, its president said Friday.

Loans to the private sector are expected to account for 30 percent of the bank's business, NDB President K.V. Kamath said at the second NDB-BRICS Business Council (BBC) Dialogue in Shanghai, held during the BBC annual meeting, in the run-up to the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province in East China.

The NDB was set up with an initial authorized capital of $100 billion after leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa agreed on its establishment during the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, in 2014. It officially opened in Shanghai in 2015.

Currently, the bank only offers loans to governments or public programs.

Kamath said the bank has operated smoothly over the last two years, and will need support from both public and private sectors to achieve success.

The NDB approved loans totaling $1.55 billion last year to seven programs on sustainable development and is expected to offer loans of $2.5 billion this year, according to Zhou Qiangwu, director of the International Economics and Finance Institute, a Ministry of Finance think tank.
BRICS See Cooperation Potential in Trade and Investment: Brazilian Official (БРИКС видит потенциал сотрудничества в торговле и инвестициях: официальный представитель Бразилии) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, trade_relations

Brazil's ambassador to China says he's expecting closer ties between BRICS countries and the sustainable growth of the bloc, which brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in trade and development co-operation.

The official spoke ahead of the 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen, China.

2016 marked the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the BRICS mechanism. In the first decade, the bloc contributed over 50 percent of the global economic growth.

There are high hopes for the next ten years, being kicked off in the Chinese seaside resort of Xiamen.

Brazilian Ambassador, Marcos Caramuru de Paiva, says the city is an important business hub helping to connects more countries and regions together.

"I think the BRICS meeting which will be held in Xiamen sends out a signal that the "Belt and Road " initiative proposed by Chinese president Xi Jinping refers to not only the land route or just the rejuvenation of the ancient silk road, but a larger picture. The maritime route will connect more countries with each other."

The ambassador points out that the countries within the bloc have worked together well to get over difficulties during the economic crisis and become a major force for global recovery.

"Ten years has passed since the cooperation of bloc started, as well as the global economic crisis which occurred in 2008, directly affecting many mature economies in the world. Among the members of the bloc China has been playing a critical role in global economy. Though China has seen slower economic growth, it still keeps a growth rate of around 6.5, a critical contribution to the global growth. Brazil and South Africa were worst hit by the crisis. Brazil has gradually recovered from the crisis by working with other countries especially China. Or in other words, we have found a broader platform for cooperation amid difficult times."

The ambassador adds that the two countries have achieved fruitful cooperation in trade and investment in the past few years.

And that cooperation has expanded into financial sector.

Marcos notes that many Chinese banks have established branches in Brazil including the Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, as well as China Development bank.

China's ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing and State Grid Corporation of China, an electric power giant, have also set up businesses in Brazil.

Marcos suggests that with the mechanism becoming increasingly mature, multilateral cooperation among member countries will be expanded into more areas.

The ambassador says a major task for the BRICS countries in the near future is the implementation of agreements on the BRICS New Development Bank, the establishment of an Academic league and the exploration of new cooperation areas.

"The main task for BRICS countries for the moment is the implementation of necessary agreements relating to the BRICS New Development Bank. With the efforts of the five countries, the bank has been operating smoothly. Secondly, I'm very concerned about the establishment of a university network among BRICS countries. The project has attracted huge attend among teachers in universities from the member countries. We will invite some students to study here. Finally, we have started to promote projects in some new areas like the cooperation between ports. "

The ambassador also notes that the major challenging facing BRICS countries is the implementation of necessary policies to boost sustainable growth, suggesting the potential for economic and trade cooperation remains tremendous.

Stronger Macro Policy Coordination to Boost BRICS Cooperation (Более сильная координация макроэкономической политики для активизации сотрудничества БРИКС) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: Macro_policy, expert_opinion, trade_relations, NDB

Strengthening macro policy coordination among Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) will provide a "booster" to deepen ties among the bloc, a senior Chinese academic has said.

Reviewing the first decade of the bloc's existence, its rise from a concept to a multilateral force with a certain say in the world is largely attributed to strong desire and pragmatic spirit of its member countries for cooperation, Wu Baiyi, director of the Institute of Latin American Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

When the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States spilled across the world in 2007, hitting developed countries in Europe and other regions hard, the members of the bloc have increasingly realized the importance of their macro policy coordination and joint efforts to resist outside risks, Wu said.

The establishments of the BRICS New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement to address global financial pressures and risks, among others, all have testified to the constant improvement of macro policy coordination among the BRICS countries, he said.

BRICS, as a grouping, trace their first meeting among their foreign ministers on the sidelines of UN General Assembly in New York in 2006. South Africa was admitted by the other BRIC leaders in 2010, adding the "S" to the acronym of the original grouping. It now has brought together five major emerging economies, comprising 43 percent of the world's population, and contributed at least 23 percent to global GDP and at least 16 percent to world trade.

The West once believed that it was difficult for the BRICS countries to really walk together due to the differences in their economic and political systems, he added. "However, facts have proven that the BRICS countries form a cohesive force, instead of a discrete one, over the past 10 years of exploration," Wu said.

This year marks the beginning of the next "golden decade" for the BRICS. The bloc has a common orientation for cooperation as well as a stronger desire to dock its development strategies through coordinating the macro economic policy of each country, Wu said.

Because the level of trade and investment between the BRICS countries is still low, the potential for economic and trade cooperation remains tremendous, Wu noted. This calls for the countries to further improve macro policy coordination and jointly participate in international regulation-making processes regarding trade, services, investment and e-commerce, Wu said.

To that end, Wu suggested the BRICS countries begin negotiations on free trade agreements to better open up their markets to each other.

BRICS and China's relations with Latin America together make up South-South Cooperation, and China's bilateral ties with Brazil play a weighty role in both multilateral frameworks, Wu said. The expert added that there's plenty to learn from the China-Brazil relationship.

Brazil, as the core country in China-Latin America cooperation, may share its experiences with China with other Latin American countries, while working together with China to advance the regional relationship.

Wu expects that the upcoming BRICS summit, scheduled for Sept. 3-5 in Xiamen, a coastal city in southeast China's Fujian Province, will further strengthen the cohesion of the BRICS bloc and strengthen South-South development.

As the BRICS New Development Bank Turns Two, What Has It Achieved? (К тому моменту, как НБР исполняется два года, чего он достиг?) / South Africa, September, 2017
Keywords: NDB, expert_opinion, Leslie_Maasdorp
South Africa
Author: Leslie Maasdorp

The task was to set up a new multilateral development bank (MDB) from ground zero.

Armed with little more than a mandate and modest budget, New Development Bank (NDB) President KV Kamath and four vice presidents from BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) arrived in Shanghai during July 2015.

The task was to set up a new multilateral development bank (MDB) from ground zero.

I remember how daunting and intimidating it all seemed then. Outside the office window from our location in the financial district of Lujiazui, we could see a remarkable skyline of skyscrapers hosting hundreds of financial institutions symbolising the modern flavour of the fast growing metropolis of Shanghai.

Better resourced than most start-ups for sure, but a start-up in all respects, we opened our doors with no staff, technology or systems on day one.

On the eve of the BRICS Heads of State summit to be held on 3-5 September 2017 in Xiamen, China, it is both timely and appropriate to ask what the NDB has achieved so far and what is next? Has - as some critics suggest - the BRICS star faded?

Two years on, the Bank has firmly graduated out of its start-up phase. The original group of five will reach 150 professionals by the end of 2017. Its main headquarters in Shanghai will now be bolstered by its first regional office, the Africa Regional Center, which opened recently in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In this short period, we managed to issue our first green bond raising RMB 3 billion in the Chinese bond market, enabled by the achievement of a AAA domestic credit rating in China.

The core purpose of the NDB is to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development in BRICS countries. The Bank has committed USD$1.5 billion in loans to member countries so far, with a strong emphasis on renewable energy. Furthermore, plans are on track to reach the target $2.5 billion of loan commitments by end of 2017. This will pave the way to reach between $10 billion and 15 billion of loans by 2021.

The next key milestones for the Bank will be to obtain an international credit rating and expand its membership beyond BRICS countries.

The creation of the NDB happened in the context of a real and continuing power shift in the international system from the developed industrialised world towards emerging market economies.

While some are skeptical about the BRICS formation, there is no doubt that this group of countries along with a number of others at similar levels of development is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy. The contribution of BRICS countries to global GDP has increased from 8% in 2000 to 24% today. Being home to 43% of the world's population, three of the BRICS economies are ranked in the top 10 by GDP size, namely China (2nd), India (7th) and Brazil (9th).

Why was a BRICS multilateral development bank needed?

It is well known that developing countries and emerging markets grew impatient with the slow pace of reform at international financial institutions to obtain a bigger voice. In this respect, the creation of the NDB and several other institutions epitomises the desire of major developing countries to play a bigger role in global governance.

Despite the efforts by existing multilateral development banks, there remains a major infrastructure-financing gap in BRICS countries. The increased productivity, improved access to markets, higher employment and other economic benefits which result from increased investment in infrastructure continue to lift large numbers of people out of poverty in developing countries.

With a subscribed capital base of $50 billion, the NDB will provide a substantial additional pool of capital to the BRICS nations to fund their own infrastructure plans. Multilateral development banks are able to leverage and raise large amounts of additional resources from the global capital markets. They are able to do so with a modest contribution in shareholder capital from member governments, making it a very efficient financing model.

The NDB's emerging business model has three distinctive features. It is symbolically significant that in the day-to-day management and governance of the bank, the five member states have an equal share. No single country has a veto in any form. The Bank is fully controlled by its members who all represent the borrowing countries.

Secondly the NDB is committed to develop and deepen local capital markets in its member states by providing loans denominated in local currency in addition to US dollar loans. This will assist borrowing countries and clients to manage and avoid the foreign exchange risks inherent in MDB loans. Thirdly the bank aims to be fast, agile and responsive to the rapid pace of change in technology and the needs of its clients.

Since its establishment, the NDB faced a number of critical challenges in the external environment. Several of the BRICS countries, notably Brazil, South Africa and Russia experienced an almost synchronised economic downturn compounded by some political woes. China, the economic powerhouse of the BRICS bloc, on the other hand, grew at its slowest pace since the global financial crisis.

The deteriorating economic climate was further exacerbated when several of the BRICS countries lost their investment grade status in recent years. Only India managed to accelerate its economic growth rate to record levels. Despite these adverse developments, all BRICS member countries contributed their paid-in capital to the NDB, in some instances ahead of schedule, signaling their strong commitment to the institution.

In 2015 we saw the creation of the Asia Infrastructure Investment bank (AIIB) alongside the NDB. It is not often that global institutions of this kind are created. The successive launch of two new multilateral development banks, both headquartered in China led to a renewed interest in the role, scope and ambition of these institutions. This was reflected in the agenda of the G20 in 2016 in Hangzhou where the enhanced role of MDB's and their role in promoting green finance were given special prominence.

These early achievements point to the successful launch of NDB as a freshly minted multilateral development bank. However it remains a new kid on the block with a long road ahead.

Written by Leslie Maasdorp, vice president, New Development Bank.
Even with Modi back on board, China will find it hard to keep emerging markets club together (Даже когда Моди вернулся на борт, Китаю будет сложно объединить клуб развивающихся рынков) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: BRICS_World, expert_opinion
Author: Wendy Wu

The end of the border dispute with India will be welcomed ahead of next week's summit with other emerging markets, but strains between the widely divergent member countries are likely to continue

The confirmation that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will show up in the coastal city of Xiamen next week has cleared a major obstacle to a "successful" BRICS leader summit – an event that China has been preparing for months to showcase its global influence.

However, a ceremonial summit may not heal deep cracks in the club of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The member countries' economic and social differences as well as their varying diplomatic priorities will continue to test whether the group can stand as a new bloc to challenge the dominance of rich democracies, led by US, Germany and UK, in the global order, analysts said.

While China, with an economy bigger than the rest of the four combined, is trying to paint the bloc as an engine for global growth or even globalisation, the group's fragility was laid bare in a tense border stand-off between China and India in the Himalayas, which was only resolved days before the summit.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a press conference on Wednesday that Beijing hopes New Delhi can "learn lessons" from the recent Doklam stand-off, a sign that rivalry between China and India still flare up again inside the small group. The original term of BRIC was coined by Jim O'Neill in 2001 when he was the head of global economic research for Goldman Sachs.

Like other catchy phrases used by Wall Street to woo investors and the public – such as MINT, which refers to Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey, and PIGS, a term referring to the troubled countries of Portugal, Italy (or sometimes Ireland), Greece, and Spain during the European sovereign debt crisis – it contains little geopolitical or institutional meaning.

Then the global financial crisis, starting from 2007, hit developed economies hard and the emerging countries of China, Brazil and India felt they need a bigger voice in global governance.

At the G8 summit Hokkaido, Japan, in early 2008, China was invited as a guest but felt it was being sidelined or even insulted at the event, forcing Beijing to seek a new platform to exert its influence, diplomatic sources later told the South China Morning Post.

The solution it came up with was G20 and the BRIC club.

Unlike other international blocs such as the Commonwealth, ASEAN or European Union, BRICS members shared no common historical or cultural backgrounds, no common vision and little economic integration.

What the members shared was a resentment towards Western dominance over global affairs. South Africa was invited to join in 2010 so that Africa would have a voice in the club, which represented emerging markets.

China – which is the largest trading partner for 120 other countries – is the single most important member. It is a major trading partner for the other four BRICS.

Buts its combined trade turnover with India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa was less than half of China's trade with the United States in 2016, according to data complied by UN Comtrade.

If China is taken out, the trade flows between the rest four are much less significant. For instance, Brazil accounted for less than 1 per cent of India's trade, and less than 2 per cent of Russia's exports went to India and only 0.6 per cent to Brazil.

"BRICS is a limited framework that is showing more cracks over time. Coined to describe a group of emerging economies, the concept has been stretched well beyond its original meaning," said Jonathan Hillman, a fellow at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Hillman said there was"more competition than cooperation" among some of the BRICS members and the economic component to the bloc has been proved less impressive than previously thought.

To beef up the cooperation, a New Development Bank has been created in Shanghai modelled on the World Bank.

The five countries have also agreed to set up a US$100 billion foreign exchange reserve pool with US$41 billion provided by China, a mechanism that could potentially take over some of the market support functions performed by the International Monetary Fund.

The BRICS concept fell out of favour among the investment community after Goldman Sachs quietly shut its BRICS-themed fund in 2015. By then it had lost nearly 90 per cent of its value compared with its peak five years earlier.

However, Beijing is trying to keep the idea alive on the geopolitical stage by holding ministerial meetings, signing papers promoting cooperation and making one speech after another that the BRICS are entering a golden decade.

The zenith will be the leaders' summit in Xiamen. It will be the first time Chinese President Xi Jinping has hosted the BRICS summit since he became the country's leader.

Xi spent three years in the city as a vice mayor in late 1980s as he started his ascent to the highest office.

Xi will welcome Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, South African President Jacob Zuma and Brazilian President Michel Temer to the event.

In addition, China has also invited the leaders of Thailand, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Guinea and Mexico to Xiamen, a gesture that China is open to the idea of expanding the club.

At the sidelines of the summit, Xi is scheduled to meet Putin, their fourth meeting this year.

They will discuss a wide range of issues such as bilateral ties, China's Belt and Road Initiative and Russia's Eurasia Economic Union, according to Moscow's ambassador to Beijing, Andrey Denisov.

He said Russia is interested in taking part in transport infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative, while he also admitted that Russia has not fully met China's expectations in terms of economic cooperation.

"Russia is just at the start of reindustrialisation and has a long way to go to adjust its economic structure. We'd better be objective towards China-Russia economic cooperation and not put too much hope in it," said Cheng Yijun, a Russia expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Beijing's pursuit of a flawless event is a key reason behind the decision to end the border row with India in the Himalayas – at least for now, analysts said.

Harsh Pant, a professor of international relations at King's College London, said the resolution to the stand-off was "absolutely" in response to the upcoming BRICS summit. "If any country was under pressure, it was China, not India," said Pant.

He Wenping, an Africa and Asia researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think-tank in Beijing, said China has a bigger picture to pursue under the BRICS framework.

"We can't call off the meetings just because we have conflicts. We need to find common interests and be forward-looking," the researcher said.

She added that there was still a major opportunity for China to seek support from the other BRICS on issues such as fighting pollution and climate change.

Lin Minwang, an expert on South Asia with Fudan University in Shanghai, said China should be cautious about potential competition with India in the future and should carefully select cooperation projects.

There is an overlap between the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which was founded by China, Russia and four former Soviet republics and which India subsequently joined.

The Shanghai organisation has been expanding areas from regional security to economic cooperation, Lin said.

China, the world's second biggest economy, still defines itself a developing and emerging market and is not willing to sit at a table reserved for rich industrialised countries, forcing itself to stick to a club that looks increasingly wobbly.

"But institutions rarely die. More often, they fade away, losing influence even as meetings continue out of habit. A decade from now, I expect we'll be talking less about BRICS and more about regional economic arrangement," Hillman with CSIS said.
Economic and financial cooperation to highlight BRICS Summit (Экономическое и финансовое сотрудничество для освещения саммита БРИКС) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, NDB
Author: Wang Junling

A slew of economic and financial achievements are expected to be yielded from the upcoming 9th BRICS Summit, experts from China's top economic planning agency and finance authority said at a briefing, adding that it not only indicates the increasing maturity of the cooperation mechanism, but means more benefits for the world economy.

They made the statement at a briefing hosted by China's State Council Information Office on BRICS economic and financial cooperation on Thursday.

The meeting highlights are expected to include the important outcomes from coordination in fiscal and monetary policies, structural reforms, development of the New Development Bank (NDB), international taxation, audit supervision and anti-money laundering, said Zhou Qiangwu, director general of the International Economics and Finance Institute with China's Ministry of Finance.

BRICS members, all developing countries in a similar developmental stage and sharing similar economic aggregate and growth dynamics, are highly complementary to each other in terms of economic development, He Ping, deputy dean of the School of Finance, Renmin University of China, told the People's Daily.

BRICS countries and the region where they are located have a great potential in infrastructure development, he added, suggesting that developing economies represented by them provide funding to each other.

China, with apparent advantages in these aspects, can be an important impetus for broader economic and financial cooperation among the BRICS countries, the deputy dean noted.

The BRICS countries are now needed to eliminate various explicit and hidden barriers existing in their cooperation as they face the twin pressures of stabilizing growth and restructuring their economy, said Ye Fujing, director general of the Institute for International Economic Research of China's National Development and Reform Commission.

Their development is also constrained by unsettled outside challenges brought about by a complicated and severe international political and economic environment, the scholar added, citing the deep-seated difficulties constraining the world economy, insufficient impetus for growth as well as the stubborn determination of some developed countries to maintain their vested interests.

Ye said that the BRICS countries, in the next stage, are expected to address the challenges in their own development and global growth by strengthening cooperation in innovation, opening wider to each other, launching landmark cooperation projects and striving for unimpeded trade, financial integration, facilities connectivity and intensified people-to-people bonds.

They should also seize the cooperation opportunities in emerging industries, and stretch their cooperation to more beneficiaries, the expert added.

A prior way for effective cooperation among developing countries was to launch more concrete projects, He said, but added that the process involved government and financial support in the early stage.

The developing nations, therefore, need to enhance political mutual trust and policy coordination through high-level meetings and on the basis of mutual benefit and a win-win result, so that they could better deepen economic and financial cooperation and promote the implementation of the projects, he noted.

The NDB, undoubtedly a highlight of the BRICS economic and financial cooperation, is expected to make further progress in the upcoming summit, according to Zhou, saying the bank's total loans are projected to reach $2.5 billion in 2017.

Citing the example of the dam that South Africa hopes to build on the Inga River to ease its power shortage, Shen Yi, director at the Center for BRICS Studies of Fudan University, said that such a project not only meets interests of the BRICS members but the region as well.

If the NDB could take the lead to support such projects that others can benefit from, it would be a model set by the BRICS members for the whole world, Shen noted.
5 banks of BRICS nations sign pact for credit lines: Report (5 банков стран БРИКС подписали пакт об обязательстве по предоставлению кредитов и займов: отчет) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: concluded_agreements, credit_rating, NDB

The agreement on credit ratings reportedly enables them to share information about internal credit ratings and rating assessment

Beijing: Five banks of the BRICS Bank Cooperation Mechanism have agreed to establish credit lines in the national currencies and cooperate on credit ratings.

The agreement was signed ahead of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in China's Xiamen city tomorrow in which leaders of the five countries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi are scheduled to take part.

"Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), Vnesheconombank, Export-Import Bank of India, China Development Bank and Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) have signed an agreement to establish credit lines in the national currencies, as well as a memorandum of cooperation on credit ratings," Russian news agency TASS Reported.

There was no word from Export-Import Bank of India in this regard.

The Chinese official said "the decision was taken in order to bolster further cooperation."

The agreement on credit ratings reportedly enables them to share information about internal credit ratings and rating assessment.

Ahead of the BRICS summit, the New Development Bank (NDB) of the BRICS countries has approved USD 1.4 billion loans for sustainable development projects in China, India and Russia.

The Board of Directors of the bank have approved four infrastructure and sustainable development projects in the three countries, the NDB had said.

For India, the Bank has approved USD 470 million loan for Madhya Pradesh?s Multi-Village Rural Drinking Water Supply Scheme Project.
The Mixed Fortunes of the BRICS Countries, in 5 Facts (Смешанная судьба стран БРИКС в 5 фактах) / USA, September, 2017
Keywords: risk_report, expert_opinion
Author: Ian Bremmer

This weekend, the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—will convene in the Chinese city of Xiamen for their annual summit. It wasn't long ago that the BRICS were heralded as the future of the globalized economy. Then, for a variety of reasons, the group lost a bit of its luster. Now's the time to check back in with them.

1. BRICS straddle one quarter of the world The story of the BRICS—or technically, BRIC countries (South Africa joined in 2010)—begins with Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O'Neill, who wrote a paper in 2001 arguing that these were the emerging superstars most likely to dominate the 21st century globalized economy. Taken together, these five countries cover 40 percent of the world's population and more than 25 percent of the world's land. The sky seemed the limit.

They delivered on some of that promise—between 1990 to 2014, these countries went from accounting for 11 percent of the world's GDP to almost 30 percent. Yet, the global financial crisis inflicted lasting damage, and Goldman Sachs shut down its BRIC investment fund in late 2015 after its assets plunged in value by 88 percent from their 2010 highpoint. But the group continues to meet and to talk up an ambitious common agenda.

Roughly speaking, the BRICS can be broken into two groups—those that took advantage of globalization's march to integrate themselves into global supply chains (primarily China and India) and those that took advantage of globalization to sell their abundant natural resources (primarily Brazil, Russia and South Africa).

2. China and India's middle classes are surging

Let's start with global supply chains, and their biggest success story: China is now the second-largest economy in the world by GDP and poised to overtake the US for #1 over the next few years. In 1990, China produced less than 3 percent of the world's manufacturing output when measured by value; by 2015, it produced roughly 25 percent. And as went China's manufacturing prowess, so went China's middle class. In 1990, China made up zero percent of the global middle class; by 2015 it comprised 16 percent, and another 350 million Chinese people are expected to join by 2030.

India is a similar story, but instead of focusing on manufacturing, it went the services route instead. Today, services account for roughly 61 percent of its GDP, with a particular emphasis on IT—at $108 billion, India is one of the world's leading IT services exporters. And the rise of India's middle class resembles that of China's; Indians went from 1 percent of the global middle class in 1990 to 8 percent in 2015, with another 380 million Indians expected to join by 2030.

The collapse in commodity prices has threatened the other BRICS nations The picture is decidely mixed, meanwhile, with the other BRICS countries, who rose mainly on the back of their vast natural wealth. Brazil sells commodities like soybeans, iron ore, and crude oil on global markets. Combining that financial windfall with innovative social programs helped lift 29 million Brazilians from poverty between 2003 and 2014. As a group, Brazil's poor are arguably the largest beneficiaries of globalization in the Western hemisphere.

South Africa also used its natural wealth—in this case rare gems and metals like gold, diamonds and platinum—to help get its economy on track following apartheid. In 1990, the country exported $27 billion worth of goods; by 2011, that number had increased nearly five-fold. And then there's Russia, which spent the 1990s rebuilding itself from the rubble of the Soviet Union. Thankfully, the country is blessed with abundant energy sources—crude oil, natural gas, metals and minerals—that helped it find its footing. In 2000, 29 percent of Russians lived below the poverty line; by 2012, just 11 percent did.

But the fall in commodity prices of recent years has done significant damage in all three countries— where Brazil's 3-year average GDP growth between 2005-2007 was 4.41 percent, the last three years have seen an average growth of -2.29 percent. Over the same time periods, South Africa's growth rate has fallen from 5.41 percent to 1.09 percent; Russia's from 7.69 percent to -0.77 percent.

4. Corruption is still endemic within the BRICS All of these five countries have been held back by corruption, in varying ways, but their rising importance to the global economic system ensures the spotlight now shines brighter than ever. Yet some of the BRICS countries have handled it better than others.

Brazil's spiraling corruption investigations have already felled former president Dilma Rousseff and threaten the current administration of President Michel Temer. On the bright side, these same corruption investigations have made Brazil the gold standard of judicial independence and rule-of-law in Latin America. In South Africa, corruption allegations continue to pile up against the ruling ANC party and the country's president Jacob Zuma, who is awaiting a supreme court hearing in September to see if 783 criminal charges against him will be reinstated. Thanks in part to a campaign by opposition activist Alexei Navalny, 47 percent of Russians now believe "corruption has significantly taken hold in the Russian government." Don't expect much change there, however, even after the 2018 presidential election.

India and China have made bolder attempts to combat corruption. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India's government decided to do away with 500 and 1000 rupee notes (86 percent of the currency in circulation at the time) in a bid to clamp down on tax evasion and the black market. And while early returns haven't been great, Modi has gotten even more ambitious with the introduction of a biometric ID system, intended to bypass corruption and fraud by distributing public subsidies and unemployment benefits directly. Despite privacy concerns, more than a billion people have signed up.

China's President Xi Jinping, meanwhile, is using a massive multiyear anti-corruption drive (nearly 300,000 Communist Party officials were punished for corruption offenses in 2015) both to consolidate power ahead of a major leadership transition around Xi this fall and to restore the ruling party's image as defender of the Chinese people.

5. The "winners" remain at risk It would be easy to label India and China as the clear winners among the BRICS, but it's not that simple. Yes, India and China have the fastest growth rates of any major economies in the world, and citizens of these countries remain optimistic about the future. But nearly 50 percent of Indians remain vulnerable to a slide back into poverty, and China's economy has slowed as higher wages make manufacturing more expensive. Both countries are especially vulnerable to technological changes that bring automation into the workplace on a larger scale. The World Bank estimates that 68 percent of all existing jobs in India are "at risk" from automation. In China, the figure is 77 percent.

Even the sturdiest of BRICS isn't as strong as it used to be.
A Brighter Future for BRICS (Более яркое будущее для БРИКС) / Russia, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, Georgy_Toloraya
Author: Georgy Toloraya

The 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen, China is not a routine meeting because it comes at a time when the bloc is entering a new stage of intensive development.

Moreover, it is the place for China to demonstrate its new role in international relations and the global economy.

The summit also comes at a time of increased political tensions in different areas, both close to the venue itself – that is, the Korean peninsula – and faraway Syria and the Middle East.

At the same time, US policy seems to be in disarray and there is no clear understanding of how US President Donald Trump's inward looking economic policy would be coordinated with the aggressive interference in other countries, which still remains the trademark of his administration's activities despite his intention to withdraw from many regions.

The Alternative

BRICS, therefore, should demonstrate its role as an alternative source of power, derived from the combination of global rising powers that can contribute to the stability of the world order and introduce new rules of behavior, and new rules of cooperation on an international scale.

Regional security issues are acute. The BRICS mechanism has already proved its efficiency in becoming a channel for finding solutions in the bilateral and intra-BRICS political arena.

It was during a BRICS High Representatives meeting in China when Chinese and Indian officials found compromise to the Doklam territorial issue.

For most of this summer, Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a tense military standoff in the Doklam area on the Sikkim sector of the India-China border.

Their compromise to disengage on August 28 was implemented just in time so as to not aggravate the BRICS summit.

BRICS will also be united on issues like the Korean peninsula and the need for a diplomatic solution to this problem, and on the fight against terrorism as well as other hot issues of today's world.

BRICS is in fact presenting a clear-cut strategy of creating a just world order which facilitates an increasing role for developing nations, including the bloc.

In fact, BRICS is becoming the meeting place for developing countries and the platform for South-South cooperation.

The "BRICS-plus" concept introduced by China (to invite five other nations to attend the Summit) is the innovation that brings to the BRICS process other regional powers on a permanent basis, and not on a case-by-case basis which it was before.

We hope that it is not a one time event and in the future a sort of "BRICS friends club" will emerge that will help these countries to cooperate with BRICS on various economic and political bases.

Financial Redesign

BRICS is particularly interested in the financial architecture of the world, and the Xiamen Summit will help develop the new approaches to increasing the influential role of BRICS and other developing countries in structures like the IMF and World Bank.

A demonstration of this financial vigor is nowhere more evident than in the increasing activity of the New Development Bank.

It has adopted its long-term strategy; it just opened its branch office in Johannesburg (South Africa) and is scheduled to open such branch offices in other BRICS countries.

The Bank has already disbursed $1.5 billion in the first seven credit lines for all BRICS countries and now is planning to disburse another $2.5 to 3 billion this year for projects as different as Russian judicial system informatisation and Chinese ecological projects.

The BRICS summit will surely defend the bloc's position on the observation of WTO rules, will strongly stand against protectionism and economic discrimination, sanctions and attempts to downgrade the ratings of BRICS countries.

It is also vital that BRICS brings new ideas into the information security sphere, suggesting to sign a new intra-BRICS agreement on international information security.

This is a very logical sphere of BRICS's interest because the five nations comprise the greatest number of internet users in the world and access should not be a national regulated enterprise but the sphere of necessity for all mankind.

This is part of where BRICS can demonstrate a new level of cooperation in humanitarian and people exchange in the science and technology, civil sector, youth, women etc.

China's hosting of the summit, in line with the Beijing leadership's commitment to increase multilateralism and globalization, will help BRICS move further intensively and extensively by pushing from the project inception stage to discussions, from discussions to signing the agreements and the real "on the ground" implementation.

That will help consolidate BRICS's role as a vital player in global governance.
Groundbreaking Ceremony for the New Development Bank's Permanent Headquarters Building Held in Shanghai (Церемония открытия постоянной штаб-квартиры НБР в Шанхае) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: NDB, NDB_HQ

On 2 September 2017, the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the NDB Permanent Headquarters Building was held in Shanghai. Mr. Xiao Jie, the Minister of Finance of China, Mr. Ying Yong, the Mayor of Shanghai, members of the BRICS Business Council and other distinguished guests participated in the Ceremony. The Headquarters of the Bank will be located in Shanghai Expo Park and is expected to become a landmark building along Huangpu River.

"We are extremely grateful to Shanghai, and the NDB is proud to call Shanghai its home. We have been received with great warmth and enjoyed enormous support from the Shanghai Government at each our step," said Mr. K.V.Kamath, the NDB President.

"Shanghai is a 21st-century modern smart city that has a firm resolution of going green," highlighted Mr. K.V.Kamath. The NDB President noted that the Bank's activities are firmly guided by the founders' vision and a commitment to finance green and environmentally friendly projects. "Since inception, our activities have been aligned towards this commitment, and a significant share of projects approved by the NDB Board of Directors is in the area of renewable energy space," said Mr. K.V.Kamath.

NDB Permanent HQ Building

The Permanent Headquarters of the New Development Bank will be situated in Plot A11-01 of Shanghai Expo, which is within so-called "Ecological Function Zone". Occupying an area of 12,000 m2, it will have a total floor space of 126,000 m2. With a height of 150 m, the building will have 30 floors above ground and 4 floors underground.

The architectural design of the Bank's Headquarters is aimed to be environmentally friendly, human- and function-oriented, and at the same time ensure low maintenance costs.

The design of the building aims at the highest rating — "Three Star Green Building" of China and "LEED Platinum" of US, for creating a quality and low-energy consumption super high-rise green building as well as "Three Star Score" on China Health Building Rating System.

Green concepts were integrated into modeling of the building to improve the indoor and outdoor eco-environment quality while satisfying the design needs.

A significant part of the buildings' roofs will be used for greening to reduce the influence of the building on the environment, not only returning an ecological green space to nature but also improving thermal insulation performance.

The building will be equipped with a modern rainwater recycling system to collect rainwater and use treated rainwater for outdoor plant irrigation, road washing and parking washing as well as other uses without outdoor tap water consumption.
Investment facilitation at BRICS 'cannot' be model for WTO pact: India (Упрощение инвестиций в БРИКС «не может быть моделью для пакта ВТО: Индия) / India, August, 2017
Keywords: WTO, investment_facilitation

India's willingness to participate in discussions on investment facilitation with BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa — comes with an important caveat that the negotiations cannot be used to push a similar agreement at the World Trade Organisation, a senior government official has said.

"Early this month, trade ministers from the five BRICS nations agreed to discuss guidelines on transparency in investment facilitation on a voluntary basis. However, a clause is being added to it explicitly stating that the arrangement cannot be used to replicate a similar pact at the multilateral forum," the official told BusinessLine.

India wary Although the proposed investment facilitation talks at BRICS is limited to identifying some good practices that enhance the transparency of investment policies, New Delhi has insisted on the clause of non-replication as Brazil, Russia and China have been making a case for starting negotiations on investment facilitation at the WTO.

Total outbound investments of BRICS countries is about $200 million but investments within the member countries accounts for only 6 per cent of the amount. It is expected that with more transparency in the area among members, investment flows would go up.

A formal decision on investment facilitation is likely to be taken at the BRICS Summit in China early next week.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will represent India at the meet.

The heads of states from the five nations are also expected to give their approval to to set up a BRICS pilot e-port Network at the Shanghai port which is an electronic platform to serve as a 'single window' system for faster clearances.

Although India has decided to back the proposed discussions on investment facilitation at the BRICS Summit, it is in no mood to do so at the WTO.

While the investment facilitation pact to be discussed at BRICS is aimed at identifying some good practices that enhance the transparency of investment policies, if it were allowed to form the basis of negotiations at the WTO, it could take any shape that the negotiators desired and controversial areas like investor-state dispute mechanism and pre-investment protection may get included, the official added.

"Apart from Brazil, Russia and China, there are a large number of other traditional supporters of investment facilitation at the WTO such as Japan, Switzerland, the EU, Canada and New Zealand.

If one is not careful, these members would try to launch negotiations at the WTO Ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires. India cannot allow that to happen," the official said.
BRICS NDB bank loans to reach $2.5 bln in 2017 – official (Кредиты НБР БРИКС достигнут $2,5 млрд в 2017 году - официальное сообщение) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: NDB, loans

The BRICS New Development Bank is hoping to increase the size of its loans in 2017, a Chinese Ministry of Finance official said on Thursday.

The statements by Zhou Qiangwu reiterate remarks made last year by the NDB Vice-President Zhu Xian.

While the bank gave the go-ahead for loans to seven projects reaching $1.5 billion in 2016, the amount of approved loans is expected to reach $2.5 in 2017.

"We want to fund projects that are creative and bring benefits to the local people and environment," Zhu said earlier.

BRICS officials are also expecting that the three-day ninth BRICS summit to kick off in Xiamen, China on September 3 will significantly boost the bank's reach and scope of funded projects.

Two weeks ago, the African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) was launched by South African President Jacob Zuma in Johannesburg.

The African Regional Center will allow countries in the continent to have access to the $100 billion NDB.

The BRICS Bank has 23 projects at various stages of preparation for 2017 to 2018, with a total lending amount of $6 billion, NDB President K.V. Kamath said at a press conference last month in Shanghai.

Some of the bank's biggest loans in 2016 targeted green and sustainable development such asr an offshore wind power energy generation project in China's Fujian Province, and a transportation and roads project in the Madhya Pradesh state in central India.

The Madhya Pradesh project focuses on weather-proofing and improved road maintenance and asset management.

Financing sustainable development and infrastructure projects and local currency financing remain the focus of the New Development Bank launched by the BRICS countries, according to a new policy document for the next five years.

The new lender has said it plans to expand membership gradually.

"NDB signifies developing countries' coming of age and reflects their aspirations to stand on their own feet," according to the 2017-2021 strategy document.

BRICS members, China, India and Russia are also the three largest shareholders in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Both the BRICS Bank and the AIIB will extend China's financial reach and compete not only with the World Bank, but also with the Asian Development Bank, which is heavily dominated by Japan.

BRICS account for 47% of global online retail sales (На долю БРИКС приходится 47% глобальных розничных продаж в Интернете) / India, August, 2017
Keywords: research, e-commerce

BRICS countries account for 47 percent of the global online retail sales surpassing $876 billion in 2016, a new study revealed on Thursday.

Beijing: BRICS countries account for 47 percent of the global online retail sales surpassing $876 billion in 2016, a new study revealed on Thursday.

According to the study released by the Ali Research Institute affiliated with China`s e-commerce giant Alibaba, the figure is expected to climb to 59 per cent by 2022 as the five countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa -- have great potential in e-commerce cooperation, reports Xinhua news agency.

Last year, BRICS countries had 1.46 billion internet users and 720 million online shoppers, the study showed.

Russian candy and cookies; Indian handicrafts and spices; Brazilian nuts and propolis; and South African grapefruit and wine were the best sellers, the study added.

According to AliExpress, an e-commerce site for cross-border exports run by Alibaba, made-in-China goods like clothes, accessories, mobile phones and electronic products were most favoured by BRICS customers.

"Increasing disposable income, wide use of the internet and improved payment and logistics services have driven the sustained and rapid development of e-commerce in the five countries," said Ouyang Cheng from the Ali Research Institute.

China, which holds the BRICS presidency this year, will host the bloc`s ninth summit in September in Xiamen, Fujian province.
NDB Board of Directors Approves 4 Projects in China, Russia and India with Loans Aggregating over USD 1.4 Bln (Совет директоров НБР одобрил 4 проекта в Китае, России и Индии с кредитом на сумму $1.4 млрд) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: NDB, concluded_agreements

On 30 August 2017, the Board of Directors (BoD) of the New Development Bank approved four infrastructure and sustainable development projects in China, India and Russia with loans aggregating over USD 1.4 bln.

"The four projects approved today are fully in line both with national development agenda in our member countries and the New Development Bank's mandate of mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries," said Mr. K.V.Kamath, the President of the NDB.

"The NDB is committed to further strengthening our partnership with all member countries and developing a robust and dynamic pipeline of projects that benefit people's lives," highlighted Mr. K.V.Kamath.

"Experiences learned while preparing and implementing the projects will serve as a model for implementing similar projects in the future," he added.

Under the framework of Hunan Green Area Watershed Environmental Development Project, the NDB will provide a CNY (RMB) 2 bln sovereign project finance facility to the People's Republic of China to enhance flood control, and improve water quality in Hunan province's Xiang River watershed.

Under the framework of Jiangxi Industrial Low-Carbon Restructuring and Green Development Pilot Project, the NDB will provide a USD 200 mln sovereign project finance facility to the People's Republic of China to promote energy conservation, resources recycling and pollutants reduction through technology upgrade.

Under the framework of Madhya Pradesh Multi-Village Rural Drinking Water Supply Scheme Project, the NDB will provide a sovereign project loan of up to USD 470 mln to the Government of India, which will be on-lend to the Government of Madhya Pradesh for developing the rural drinking water supply scheme in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

Under the framework of Judicial System Support Project, the NDB will provide a USD 460 mln sovereign project loan to the Russian Federation for the development of infrastructure and implementation of information technology systems of the judicial system in Russia, contributing to the Federal Targeted Program "Development of the Judiciary System in Russia in 2013-2020".
The modalities of the loans are different based on project specific features and borrower preferences.

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: 2017 – 2021, sustainable infrastructure development will be the primary emphasis of the Bank's operations in the next five years.
China Exclusive: Xiamen summit to help build stronger BRICS ties: NDB president (Эксклюзив из Китая: Саммит в Сямэне поможет наладить более тесные связи между странами БРИКС: президент НБР) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: NDB, Xiamen_summit, K_V_Kamath

China Exclusive: Xiamen summit to help build stronger BRICS ties: NDB president

SHANGHAI, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming BRICS summit in Xiamen will help the five member countries build a stronger economic partnership and a brighter future, said BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) President K.V. Kamath.

It has been over a decade since Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa came together to form BRICS. The NDB itself is an "outcome of the economic togetherness" of the emerging economies group, Kamath said during an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Wednesday.

At the ninth BRICS summit to be held in the Chinese city of Xiamen in early September, Kamath will present the bank's progress over the last two years as well as the direction it is heading in the coming two to three years.

Founded by BRICS member states in 2014, the NDB opened in Shanghai in July 2015 and became fully operational in early 2016.

The first NDB-funded loan, a solar power project in Shanghai, is expected to start operation in August.

The bank is expected to approve five new projects with a total value of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in September, with two of them in China, said Kamath.

Altogether, the bank has 23 projects at various stages of preparation for 2017-2018, with a total lending amount of 6 billion dollars. The bank granted loans to seven projects in 2016.

According to its general strategy for 2017-2021, the bank will put about two-thirds of its loans into sustainable infrastructure development.

"The growth of emerging countries, particularly the growth that we have seen in China, has clearly underlined the importance for growth to be sustainable," Kamath told Xinhua.

"I would say that we have learned from China's experience to push sustainability as a core of the lending process," he added.

The NDB is looking into more local currency financing opportunities in member countries.

After the bank's first green bond issuing in China was welcomed by the market last year, Kamath said the bank is planning another bond issuing between 3 to 5 billion yuan (450 to 750 million U.S. dollars) in the second half of this year.

Meanwhile, it plans to issue bonds in local currencies in other member countries. "India will likely be one of the first, and our dialogue with bankers in Russia and other member countries indicate that there is good scope to raise local currency bonds in these countries," said Kamath.

He also told Xinhua that the bank will open its first regional office in Johannesburg of South Africa on Aug. 17.

This regional office will act as a "face to Africa," as it will initially focus on preparing projects in the pipeline, Kamath said.

The bank intends to open other regional offices, but the timing of this is unclear, said Kamath.
Key issues likely to dominate the 2017 BRICS Summit (Ключевые вопросы, которые могут доминировать на саммите БРИКС в 2017 году) / South Africa, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion
South Africa

The ninth annual BRICS summit gets underway in Xiamen from 3 – 5 September under China's chairmanship. This year's theme is "BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future". President Xi Jinping has outlined four priorities for the summit: 1) deepen BRICS cooperation for common development; 2) enhance global governance to jointly meet challenges; 3) carry out people-to-people exchanges to support BRICS cooperation; and 4) make institutional improvements and build broader partnerships.

What are the key issues that member states should prioritise? Five experts on Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa share their views.

South Africa: Economic growth

South Africa is currently experiencing low economic growth. In 2016, gross domestic product grew at a mere 0.3%, with predictions for 2017 showing slow recovery at 0.8%. Latest employment figures (June 2017) also point towards challenges within the economy, with the unemployment rate at 27.7% – the highest since 2003. It will be pertinent to see how South Africa can leverage the BRICS relationship to assist in addressing its domestic economic constraints.

The New Development Bank (NDB) could potentially have a significant impact by providing additional finance to South Africa, which can be leveraged to spur infrastructure investment which in turn creates demand for goods and services and creates jobs. The NDB recently pledged $1.5 billion over the next 18 months to develop infrastructure projects in South Africa.

Other areas of cooperation, such as facilitating greater intra-BRICS investment, will be important. South Africa's recently established investment one-stop-shop should assist in this regard. Actively advertising this mechanism will be important.

South Africa, along with the other BRICS, has signed the World Trade Organisation's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The TFA aims to improve trade flows between countries by minimising bureaucracy. All the BRICS members except South Africa have also ratified the agreement. The country should expedite this process (that is already underway) to take full advantage of the TFA within the BRICS.

For South Africa, challenges facing other African countries will also be high on the agenda – issues such as financing development efforts to meet the SDGs, infrastructure development and peace and security will be pertinent.

Cyril Prinsloo, researcher with the Economic Diplomacy Programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).

Russia: Institutional improvements, economic benefits

If we look at Russia's involvement in the BRICS and its stake in the institution's future, there are two major aspects to take note of.

The first is Russia's interest in promoting further institutional development of the BRICS. Perceived by some analysts and policymakers as a bulwark against western influence, the BRICS has over the years managed to strengthen its cooperation frameworks across a significant number of policy areas and has begun reaching out to other major developing economies. One of China's announced priorities – "making institutional improvements and building broader partnerships" – is clearly in line with what Russia has in mind for the BRICS.

The second aspect deals with more pragmatic considerations of drawing tangible economic benefits from participation in the group. In this regard, Russia needs to steer the BRICS agenda towards more effective and concrete cooperation on issues which represent structural bottlenecks for the country's economy. For example, advancements on trade and investment policy coordination within the BRICS could complement and boost Russia's export diversification efforts through fostering small and medium-sized enterprises' access to foreign markets and their participation in global value chains.

The priorities set by China for the 2017 BRICS are conducive to achieving both goals outlined above. The host wants to focus on boosting cooperation on core economic issues by building upon and furthering the implementation of plans such as the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership (adopted in 2015 under the Russian chairmanship).

Andrei Sakharov, researcher at the Center for International Institutions Research (CIIR) of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) and adviser of the International Relations Department of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

China: Unity

The most important issue for China at this year's BRICS summit is unity. As President Xi Jinping has put it, the BRICS are like five fingers, each with their own strength; when the BRICS come together, they pack a powerful punch. There are three aspects to this:

First, unity in spite of conflicts. Tensions between China and India, the two most populous countries in the world, recently escalated due to the re-emergence of months-long conflict over the Doklam Plateau. On Monday 28 August the two countries reportedly decided on "mutual disengagement" but a permanent solution is still required. At this summit, Beijing and New Delhi need to explore more effective ways of crisis management, since they are the only neighbouring countries within the BRICS with some unsolved historical and geopolitical issues.

Second, unity as one is power. The unity and stability of the BRICS group have been a source of confidence and "positive energy" in China and beyond, and is a kind of rare public good in this chaotic world. In recent years, many big "Black Swan" events have occurred, such as Brexit and Donald Trump's US presidential election victory.

Finally, unity after enlargement. After 10 years of development, the future direction of the BRICS is a hot topic. China's foreign minister Wang Yi stated in March that the country will explore the modality of 'BRICS plus' by holding outreach dialogues with other major developing countries and organisations within them. I believe an expanded BRICS group could surely face more difficult internal integration challenges.

Zhu Ming, research fellow at the Center for West-Asian and African Studies & Institute for Global Governance Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS).

India: Counter terrorism, institutionalised partnerships

In the wake of the recent Doklam Plateau standoff, India must be careful to uphold its international image and be pragmatic in its position during the summit.

International terrorism is a key issue for India. It will seek strong co-operation on counter terrorism, including clamping down on terrorist networks, weapons and financing. In this regard, India will look forward to positive changes in China's position on Masood Azhar and India's bid to have him declared a global terrorist by the United Nations.

Another issue of importance for India is its trade deficit with China. In fact, all of the other BRICS countries have a trade deficit with Beijing and India will want to focus on reducing it through multilateral co-operation. India is also keen to see the BRICS rating agency accepted at the summit as it will reduce developing countries' dependency on western credit ratings.

China has proposed a new 'BRICS plus' model, which will incorporate more countries from the global south and strengthen south-south cooperation. Arriving at a consensus on the viability of this concept, and on which countries will be invited to join, will be difficult. Should China try to bring its ally Pakistan into the grouping, India will protest.

The more co-operation and engagement is institutionalised in the BRICS, the lesser the likelihood of its failure. Indian policymakers are well aware that India needs the BRICS more than the BRICS needs India. Therefore, the country looks forward to a new decade of deepened, institutionalised partnership within the bloc.

Raosaheb Bawaskar, chief executive officer and associate fellow and program director of China's Global Strategy at the Mumbai School of Thoughts (MST), a foreign policy and global studies think tank.

Brazil: Domestic concerns, sustainable development

The political and economic turmoil that has engulfed Brazil shows no signs of fading. The 'fight against corruption' led by the judiciary in coalition with segments of the media has backfired into a defensive posturing from all actors in the political system. Amidst polarised positions and a growing feeling of frustration, street activism has been replaced by apathy and resignation.

To guarantee its very own survival, the current government, perhaps the most unpopular in Brazilian history, trades political support for the advancement of the interests of its most conservative allies.The result is a condescending response to and, in some cases, complicity in, serious human rights violations, from mass killings in prisons to massacres of rural workers and attacks against indigenous peoples. For the third consecutive year, Brazil has topped the list of countries with the highest number of homicides of human rights and environmental activists.

In this scenario of so many internal distractions, the crucial question is how Brazil will influence this summit's agenda. As a democracy (per most of the accounts), Brazil has often been portrayed as a member that would bring to the BRICS bloc a human-centred perspective to sustainable development.

In Xiamen, the BRICS will discuss how a deepened partnership may pave the way for a "brighter future for economic development and social progress of all developing countries". However, with no signs that Brazil is honouring, at home, its own constitutional values and its professed commitments to human rights and environmental protection, the group will be under additional pressure to explain to the international community how they are effectively contributing to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Caio Borges, lawyer and coordinator of the Business and Human Rights Program at Conectas Human Rights in São Paulo.
New Development Bank and BRICS Business Council Strengthen Cooperation (НБР и Бизнес-совет БРИКС укрепляют сотрудничество) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: NDB, Business_council, concluded_agreements

On 1 September 2017, the New Development Bank (NDB) and BRICS Business Council (BBC) held the second NDB – BBC Dialogue in Shanghai, during the BRICS Business Council Annual Meeting 2017, in the run-up to the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen and promote cooperation. Key agenda items were based on the discussions during the first meeting of NDB – BBC Dialogue held in New Delhi on the sidelines of the NDB Second Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors on 1 April 2017.

"We see a great potential for our cooperation that helps the Bank access the markets of the five BRICS countries, particularly as the NDB is planning to expand non-sovereign operations with the private sector as the operational capability of the Bank evolves," said Mr. K.V.Kamath, the President of the New Development Bank.

"The NDB looks forward to further expanding our regular contacts with BRICS Business Council. It is an excellent partnership, where members can learn from each other and build business together," highlighted Mr. K.V.Kamath.

"A lot of progresses have been made since the first meeting between BBC and NDB with the joint efforts of both sides. In the next step, the BBC will identify qualified infrastructure and sustainable projects with the NDB, and the financial institutions of the BBC will also render support for the development of the NDB. The BBC is willing to further enhance communication and collaboration with the NDB at all levels, working together to contribute more to the closer economic, trade and investment ties amongst the BRICS countries," said Capt. Xu Lirong, the Chairman of China Section of BRICS Business Council.

The NDB and BRICS Business Council are partnering to strengthen a robust and dynamic pipeline of bankable projects that are aimed at benefiting people in all member countries of the Bank. There is a special emphasis on the cooperation between NDB and Council members in the financial sector.

The NDB and BBC are planning to formalize their close and successful relationship by signing a Memorandum of Understanding outlining key areas for cooperation during the forthcoming Xiamen Summit in the presence of BRICS Leaders.

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.

According to the NDB's General Strategy: 2017 – 2021, sustainable infrastructure development will be the primary emphasis of the Bank's operations in the next five years.

The BBC is a platform aimed at strengthening and promoting economic, trade, business and investment ties between the business communities of the BRICS countries. The Council is composed of 25 prominent entrepreneurs from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, representing various industries and sectors in the BRICS nations.

BRICS countries become "bellwether" in respective regions: report (Страны БРИКС становятся лидерами в соответствующих регионах: отчет) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: research, analytics_report
Author: Liu Caiyu and Zhang Hui

BRICS countries have become a "bellwether" in their respective regions, leading neighboring countries in many respects, a report released Tuesday shows.

The five BRICS countries - China, Russia, South Africa, Brazil and India - are leading development in science and technology, economy and society in their regions, according to the BRICS Innovative Competitiveness Report 2017 released by the China Science and Technology Exchange Center.

The report said BRICS countries are major representatives of emerging economies, which contribute 18 percent to the global GDP, 17 percent to global research and development (R&D) investment and 27 percent to science papers published in international journals.

China ranks first in terms of national comprehensive innovation competitiveness in 2016, followed by Russia and South Africa, the report said.

BRICS countries' contributions to science, technology and innovation have increased, but much of the contributions were made by China, Chen Fengying, an expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

For example, in terms of hi-tech export volume, China exported much of the mid- and high-technology, while other BRICS countries such as Russia mainly exported energy and military related products, Chen said.

China's leading role in national comprehensive innovation competitiveness among BRICS countries is sustained by huge R&D investments, Chen said.

In 2016, China's gross R&D spending reached 1.55 trillion yuan ($659 billion), or 2.1 percent of its GDP, the report said.

"China's R&D has shifted from government to private investments, which make up 80 percent of R&D investments," Chen said.

The report predicted that "the innovation competitiveness of India would significantly rise together with its growth rate, probably surpassing China from 2025-30."

"Russia's growth rate would fall and India would take over Russia in terms of comprehensive science, technology, and innovation (STI) competitiveness by 2030," it said.

"It's possible the growth rate of India's innovation competitiveness would surpass that of China in 15 years hence considering its low level of industrialization and economic development. But the overall quality of its innovation would not be able to match China's," Chen said, adding that China' technology witnessed comprehensive development in many sectors including aerospace and military.

However, in terms of research, quality of education, modern infrastructure and eco-protection, BRICS still lags behind, the report said.

"Innovation cooperation is important for BRICS countries, especially in terms of agriculture and economy," Lu Jing, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations, told the Global Times, adding that BRICS countries face the challenge of poverty alleviation.
BRICS is being battered by global crises: why this might not be a bad thing (БРИКС избивают глобальные кризисы: почему это может быть и не плохо) / United Kingdom, August, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, trade_relations, economic_challenges
United Kingdom
Author: Patrick Bond

At the BRICS summit in Russia two years ago, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping invoked physics when asking fellow leaders "to boost the centripetal (unifying) force of BRICS nations through cooperation in innovation and production capacity to boost competitiveness."

That was the theory, but the economic reality of the once-feted Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa alliance is contradictory.

Instead of centripetal strengthening, the world is witnessing much more powerful centrifugal dividing forces, including overproduction, over-indebtedness and deglobalisation of capital. These elements have been spinning out of control even before the chaotic era of US President Donald Trump began.

Over production is mostly found in the coal, steel, non-ferrous metals, cement and chemicals industries. It's largely driven from China where over-capacity is more than 30%, according to a new International Monetary Fund report that also raised worries about the country's vast debt.

Over borrowing by companies, states and households represents a global crisis in the making. The Institute of International Finance has just reported that world debt is now USD$217 trillion (327% of world GDP), up from USD$149 billion (276%) in 2007.

Deglobalisation is simply the reversal - mostly since 2008 - of prior rapid growth in cross-border trade, investment and finance. Should that be viewed as a bad thing? Rather than fear globalisation's unravelling, leading scholar-activists including Samir Amin in Africa, the late Ruy Mauro Marini in Latin America, Walden Bello in Asia and the 20th century's most important economist, John Maynard Keynes, have all advocated national economic sovereignty. If pursued cleverly, deglobalisation could be the basis for restoring links between once vibrant sectors subsequently destroyed by imports.

Could BRICS leaders evolve in this direction? Their summit next week

BRICS 2017 China logo.will be distracted by geopolitical tensions. Although a welcome deal on Monday prevents the feared Sino-Indian border war, a much more durable geo-economic battle is unfolding in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which in May left Prime Minister Narendra Modi boycotting China's Belt and Road mega-conference three months ago.

Beijing's BRICS logo designers, perhaps being unconsciously subversive, have illustrated how the once overlapping, interlocking BRICS are now being wedged apart as paper thin subjects of centrifugal forces. For Africa, fewer illusions in these economies would be welcome, given how exploitative the BRICS and their firms have become against societies, democratic movements and environments.

A counter-summit challenges the BRICS

This argument is made by the Hong Kong People's Forum, initiated by the city's progressive labour, intellectual and faith leaders to question the BRICS. Their meeting this weekend follows in the counter summit traditions of the 2013 brics-from-below in Durban, the 2014 Dialogue on Development in Fortaleza, and the 2016 Goa People's Forum on BRICS.

According to the Hong Kong People's Forum:

Instead of offering an alternative, the BRICS actually offer a continuation of neo-liberalism. On top of BRICS there is also China's new mega project, the Belt and Road initiative whose main purpose is to export China's surplus capital.

These surpluses are vast, as witnessed in China's foreign reserves which recently topped USD$4 trillion, though then fell 20% due to bouts of capital flight and two stock market crashes in 2015-16.


Global trade, finance and investment were meant to be the motors for the advancement of BRICS. But according to the World Bank, global trade peaked at 61% of world gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008 but retreated to 58% in 2015.

During the 1990s each BRICS country raised its trade to GDP ratio by at least 10 points. But trade has receded in importance in each of the BRICS. Russia peaked first at a 69% trade/GDP ratio in 1999, and then fell steadily to 45% today. Brazil rose to 30% in 2004 and fell to 25%. China soared to 66% in 2006 and has since plummeted to 36%. South Africa's 2008 ratio was 73% but is now back to 60% and India peaked last, in 2012 with 56%, and is now at 40%.

On top of this, the ratio of world financial assets that are held overseas compared to GDP fell from 58% in 2008 to 38% in 2016, even as overall financial assets increased in line with soaring debt.

Finally, another deglobalisation symptom is the halving of relative global foreign direct investment: from 3.7% of world GDP in 2008 to 1.7% in 2016.

Leading financiers now talk of an imminent world recession, given over priced stock markets and corporate debt. This is not just due to wild New York share speculation, as also occurred before the crashes of 1987, 2000 and 2008. Three BRICS stock markets are also bubbling: South Africa's stock market is 90% higher than in 2010, India's market is up 70% and Russia has risen by 50%.

Centrifugal realities crowd out centripetal fantasies

These dangerous centrifugal forces cannot be easily regulated or reversed. The only recent relief came from the Chinese state's massive urban construction investments (albeit leaving scores of near-empty cities) and the Indian service sector boom. But since 2015 the other three BRICS have suffered recessions as the crash in commodity prices hit home.

As the Hong Kong People's Forum statement explained:

China has now evolved into a global engine promoting a neo-liberal agenda from free trade agreements to corporate led integration across borders.

The BRICS had promised to challenge an unfair global economic system. But in December 2015 their main multilateral reform strategies failed:

Adds the Hong Kong People's Forum: "The 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos was one site where Xi clearly took the lead in promoting world corporate power, as Trump leads the US-UK retreat into crony-capitalist protectionism."

South African President Jacob Zuma pronounced last month at his party's policy congress, "The ANC is part of the global anti-imperialist movement. We are historically connected with the countries of the South and therefore South-South cooperation such as BRICS is primary for our movement."

If centrifugal economic forces now pressuring the bloc overwhelm Xi's desired centripetal capitalism, then we can expect yet more talk-left walk-right politics, as the BRICS sub-imperialists desperately try to pretend they're anti-imperialists.

Editorial: BRICS Summit Offers Chance for Stronger Partnership (Редакция: Саммит БРИКС дает шанс для более сильного партнерства) / China, August, 2017
Keywords: Hu_Shuli, Xiamen_summit, expert_opinion, NDB

The ninth annual summit of BRICS — the association of the five major rising economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — will take place in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, from Sept. 3-5.

The summit theme, "Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future," conveys the reality for some of these member nations, which are facing political and economic challenges.

The inaugural summit took place in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in 2009. Particularly since South Africa joined the club in 2011 to expand BRIC to BRICS, the leaders of the member countries have expressed a willingness to play a bigger role in international affairs.

The new body gathered five economies that have great prospects. When combined and working together, they can become a new force to diversify the global governance that has often been dominated by a single country. The BRICS group is also expected to become another cooperation platform for the rest of the developing countries.

BRICS has been deepening the members' cooperation since its founding. However, more effort is needed to make the cooperation more effective and lively. After all, to tell whether an international cooperation system is successful or not, people need to see major achievements.

People often compare BRICS to the Group of 20 (G-20) and the Group of Seven (G-7). The G-20 played an important stabilizing role at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008. The G-7, though having been dismissed as an all-talk, little-action shop in recent years, contributed to the drafting in the mid-1980s of the Plaza Accord, which balanced trade and economic relations among its member countries. The BRICS is also expected to produce plenty of fruit.

The major achievements so far include the New Development Bank announced in the BRICS summit in 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil; and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement, a $100 billion fund to forestall global liquidity pressures.

The New Development Bank has been operating smoothly since it came into being in July 2015, having issued over $1.5 billion loans to seven projects.

However, the New Development Bank cannot compare to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, as some BRICS member countries' economic performances have not being doing well. Russia, Brazil and South Africa, for example, have been suffering from low economic growth or negative growth, with government debts building up, and risks in bank loans on the increase.

The New Development Bank has to accomplish two tasks right now — get new members and obtain a credit rating.

In the first decade of the 21st century, the BRICS nations were prospering. However, coming into the second decade, some of them have been encountering various difficulties in political and economic realms.

Russia's economic reform progresses slowly. Hit by upgraded international economic sanctions, its economy has been lacking vitality.

The new president of Brazil, Michel Temer, has been showing determination to spearhead economic reforms. But he and his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, are both involved in corruption probes, casting further uncertainties on the country's politics and economy.

South Africa's president has been repeatedly affected by political storms, with the country's economy at the brink of a low ebb.

India's economy has seen a surge in the past two years. But the economic statistics in recent months have not been exciting. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's controversial reforms in land and labor are yet to pan out.

The problematic bilateral relations between some of the BRICS countries are also casting shadows on the deepening of the bloc's cooperation.

After all, BRICS is only 7 years old. There should not be any unrealistic expectations in terms of what it can accomplish in the short term. However, that does not mean the BRICS countries should not try their best to look for new areas for effective cooperation.

According to the World Bank's estimate, four of the BRICS countries — China, India, Russia and Brazil — rank in the top 10 among all economies in the world in terms of their gross domestic product based on purchasing power parity in 2016. Five of the G-7 countries are in the top 10. There are plenty of opportunities for trade among the BRICS countries. However, the differences in resources, industrial levels and per capita income have also brought difficulties in coordination. Their different economic systems and national development strategies also bring different priorities of economic cooperation.

Besides further pushing forward economic and trade cooperation, the BRICS countries may also look for other areas that have great potential for success and will not be greatly affected by the current political and economic situations.

One such area is public health care, which may often be ignored. British economist Jim O'Neill, who coined the term "BRIC" in 2001, chaired a report on superbugs resistant to antibiotics in 2016. The report is followed by the World Health Organization and World Bank, which warned about 10 million premature deaths each year by 2050, with its economic impact worse than the 2008 world financial crisis. China has been consuming nearly half of the world's antibiotic drugs. It will be a major victim of antibiotic overdose, along with India.

If the BRICS countries can join together to find a solution in this field, it will not only benefit their future generations, but the rest of the world.

The other area for easier cooperation is environmental protection to prevent climate change. The BRICS countries have similar stances and needs in this area. The space for cooperation is huge.

Despite various difficulties, the outlook for BRICS development has been positive. Locating and exploring new cooperative areas is urgent for this group. With its sizes in economy and population, China also has to shoulder a significant burden in helping the group find opportunities of cooperation and coordinated action. The incoming summit in Xiamen will add some glimmer to BRICS.

Hu Shuli is the editor-in-chief of Caixin Media.
Comprehensive reports, BRICS research materials
BRICS Jiont Statistical Publication 2017 (Совместная статистическая публикация БРИКС 2017) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: JSP2017, research, statistics
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