Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 39.2017
2017.09.18 — 2017.09.24
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Wang Yi Meets with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia (Ван И встретился с министром иностранных дел России С.В.Лавровым) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: Wang_Yi, high_level_meeting, UNGA72

On September 18, 2017 local time, Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia during his attendance at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Wang Yi expressed that Russia has made positive contributions to complete success of the BRICS Xiamen Summit, fully embodying a high level of China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, for which China appreciates. Both countries still have a series of important high-level exchanges within the year, and both sides should make full preparation for the success of the meetings, so as to promote bilateral relations to achieve more practical results.

Wang Yi stated that the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue has to be solved through peaceful manners. China will continue to strictly implement the UN Security Council resolution and undertake its due international obligation. In the meantime, other parties concerned also need to take their due responsibilities and play their own roles. The current downward vicious circle must be broken. An essential step of recovering dialogue and peace talks is to implement the UN Security Council resolution as well. The roadmap proposed by China and Russia to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is practical and feasible. Both sides should jointly strive for more understanding and support from the international community.

Sergey Lavrov congratulated China on its successful hosting of the BRICS Xiamen Summit, hoping China to further promote the influence of BRICS in international affairs and in the UN. He said that Russia is willing to, together with China, well plan bilateral high-level exchanges in the next period, deepen practical cooperation between both countries, and cement bilateral strategic coordination relations under frameworks including BRICS, the UN and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Both Russia and China share a completely identical position on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, and the two countries need to jointly boost a peaceful settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

Both sides also exchanged views on hotspot issues such as Syria and Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's opening remarks at talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, New York, September 18, 2017 (Вступительное слово Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова в ходе переговоров с Министром иностранных дел КНР Ван И, Нью-Йорк, 18 сентября 2017 года) / Russia, September, 2017
Keywords: high_level_meeting, Sergey_Lavrov, UNGA72

I am happy to see you again. We met only recently at Xiamen. Please, accept once again my compliments on the well organised BRICS summit.

Since we are meeting at the UN Headquarters, I want to say that the five BRICS countries, including Russia and China, will make use of many of the results of the BRICS summit for improving our coordination at the UN. We will talk about this today, as well as about the upcoming contacts between our heads of state and the attendance of President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of China Xi Jinping at the APEC Economic Leaders' Week in Da Nang, Vietnam.

I would like to again point out the implementation of our recent agreements on the publication of a joint collection of materials on key international issues. It is a major step towards strengthening our foreign policy coordination. I propose sending this book, when it is published, to all the diplomatic representations of Russia and China in foreign countries.

Once again, I am happy to meet with you.
With BRICS, India and China grow closer as Pakistan watches (С БРИКС Индия и Китай становятся ближе, пока Пакистан наблюдает) / Pakistan, September, 2017
Keywords: Expert_opinion, India_China, BRICS_Pakistan
Author: Ghulam Ali

The ninth annual BRICS summit – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – a group of five emerging economies, was held in China's Xiamen in Fujian province on September 4 and 5. President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Michel Temer, South African President Jacob Zuma and Russian President Vladimir Putin attended. China also invited Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand as guests. On the sidelines, President Xi addressed the BRICS Business Forum which was attended by 1,200 heads and representatives of about 600 companies, business organizations and financial institutions.

Western dominance

The idea of BRICS came in 2001 when an economist argued that the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC at that time) together could challenge Western economic dominance. By 2009, these four countries got together to form a group based on that idea. In 2011, South Africa joined, changing it to BRICS. Since then, the group has held annual summits and is regarded as an emerging economic order rival to the West.

BRICS is different from its contemporaries. There is no common political and strategic force behind it, as with NATO. Instead, the two big members, China and India, have a deep-rooted geopolitical rivalry spanning decades. BRICS member countries are scattered in three continents. They represent different political systems: India, Brazil and South Africa are capitalist democracies, while China and Russia have one-party rule and follow communism. Member states are at different stages of socio-economic development and represent different cultures.

Some of the collective strengths of members, however, indicate BRICS's promising role in the world economic system. The bloc represents almost 40% of world population (roughly three billion), 25% of the world's land mass, half of the world's workforce and 30% of global GDP. Since its first summit, BRICS's overall economy has doubled. Economists predict that by 2030, its collective economy will equal that of G-7, and in 2050 will double.

On the whole, BRICS is a force to be reckoned with. It is emerging on the world stage when the US is adopting protectionist policies under President Trump's "America first" slogan and is pulling out of several crucial global commitments

Big money

Shanghai-based New Development Bank (NDB), also called BRICS Bank, is the main achievement of the group. NDB was established in 2015 with an initial capital of $50 billion contributed equally by the five members and to be used to address the infrastructure gap among member countries. The bank's annual financing has increased from the first US$1.5 billion to US$4 billion for 2018. Although, these allocations are still marginal compared to the World Bank's over US$59 billion for financing for the current year, many think NDB will compete with the IMF and the WB at some stage in future. The bank is also endeavoring to set up a BRICS local currency bond fund and a credit ratings agency to compete with rivals Standard and Poor's, Moody's and Fitch – all dominated by the West.

China also proposed the idea of a "BRICS Plus" to bring other emerging economies and markets into the bloc. But it may face resistance from India which does not want expansion that can bring pro-China entrants, including Pakistan, into the group. The subject of expansion might be discussed at the next summit.

On the whole, BRICS is a force to be reckoned with. It is emerging on the world stage when the US is adopting protectionist policies under President Trump's "America first" slogan and is pulling out of several crucial global commitments. Parallel to this, the EU has been facing political and economic crises following Britain's exit while the G-7 body of industrialized nations is confronted with towering budget deficits and rising unemployment. At this time, BRICS – coupled with China-led other financial institutes such AIIB, the Silk Road Fund – is seen by many in the world as an alternative.

Relevance to Pakistan

The ninth summit concluded with the signing of a 43-page long BRICS Declaration in which the subject of UN reforms and terrorism are particularly relevant to Pakistanis. Although the former hardly drew attention, it has even deeper implications for Pakistan in the future. The Declaration called for comprehensive UN reform, especially of the Security Council "with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges."

India has long been pressing for UN reforms with an eye on a permanent seat in the UNSC. It justifies this demand on the basis of its large size, population and growing role in world affairs. India's economic performance during the last several years has given a new impetus to this demand for which it has secured the backing of the Western world and big powers, except China. Beijing's opposition was based on its own and of Pakistan's concerns over India's ambitions. China fully realizes India's capacity and the will as a regional challenger – backed by China's other rivals. New Delhi has demonstrated such attitude on a number of occasions. India's refusal to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative Forum, this May, and the 73-day-long Doklam military standoff (June-August) are just two recent examples. Secondly, India has occupied large territory claimed by China and Pakistan. As India has not settled those disputes in decades, receiving a permanent seat in the UNSC will further diminish such chances.

In recent years, however, China's stance on UN reforms has moved closer to India's position. Lately, China has been stating that it "understands and supports India's aspiration to play a greater role in the United Nations, including in the Security Council." The BRICS Declaration is the latest document that the Chinese leadership has signed along with India to urge UN reforms. As Sino-Indian relations improve with India playing its cards skillfully, the last hurdle in Indian ambitions for a permanent seat in the UNSC will be removed. Beijing may regard Islamabad's concerns but its final decision will be based on its own interests. India's acquisition of a permanent seat in the UNSC will change the balance of power in South Asia decisively in its favor. Without a final settlement of territorial disputes between India and Pakistan (and also between China and India) such a development will be dangerous to regional peace.

As Sino-Indian relations improve with India playing its cards skillfully, the last hurdle in Indian ambitions for a permanent seat in the UNSC will be removed. Beijing may regard Islamabad's concerns but its final decision will be based on its own interests


The Declaration also addressed the issue of terrorism which caused concerns in Pakistan. Article 48 states, "We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir." Clause 49 adds, "We reaffirm that those responsible for committing, organizing, or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable."

Pakistan is accused of supporting the Haqqani network, LeT and JeM. For the first time the Chinese leadership signed a document on its territory describing these groups as terrorists and showing willingness to take action against their supporters. Equally concerning was the fact that the Declaration came days after Trump's sermon in which he had warned Islamabad to stop what he said was providing a safe haven to the Taliban and take a uniform policy vis-à-vis all terrorist groups or face a termination of military aid at the minimum.

Pakistan's shocking response proved that it was not "consulted" by China prior to BRICS. If it is correct, this is another sign of a change in China's South Asian policy. China and Pakistan have had a tradition of consulting each other. In light of this tradition, Beijing should have informed Islamabad about its intentions.

By way of damage control, officials from China and Pakistan came forward to explain that the event will not affect two-way relations. Beijing reassured that there was no change in its policy on terrorism and also acknowledged Pakistan's commitment and sacrifices in fighting this menace. Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Sun Weidong, guaranteed the continuity of Sino-Pakistan relations, adding that the organizations mentioned in the Declaration were already banned (what else could one expect from a Chinese diplomat to Islamabad?) On the heels of it, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif visited China, where along with his counterpart Wang Yi, both sides reaffirmed their partnership.

Pakistan has relied on China to counter external pressure on terrorism. Whenever the US demanded it "do more" while disregarding Pakistan's sacrifices and limitations in the 'War on Terror', Beijing stood by its "all-weather" friend. Not only this, China blocked, on Pakistan's behest (most probably unwillingly), Indian resolutions in the UN to declare a terrorist the head of Jaish-i-Mohammad Masood Azhar. For this China even faced pressure and sometimes embarrassment. But this support seems to have ceased.

Beijing does not make abrupt shifts in its policies even on matters of urgency. It take a decision after long (in-house) deliberations, then moves in that direction gradually till the full demonstration of the new policy. Change in China's Kashmir policy during the 1980s from pro-Pakistan towards neutrality was accomplished exactly like this

New policies

To what extent has China's policy has changed from what it was before BRICS, will become clearer in the days ahead, especially upon India's pursuit of Masood Azhar's case in the UN. China experts might agree that Beijing does not make abrupt shifts in its policies even on matters of urgency. It take a decision after long (in-house) deliberations. Once it decides, then it moves in that direction gradually and persistently till the full demonstration of the new policy. Change in China's Kashmir policy during the 1980s from pro-Pakistan towards neutrality was accomplished exactly like this. Throughout the eighties, China's position switched between a demand for the "implementation of UN resolutions" and "bilateral settlement between India and Pakistan". China's changing stance on extremist groups is following a similar pattern.

BRICS offered lessons. It exposed the failure of Pakistan's diplomacy: the role of the Embassy in Beijing, the Foreign Office and even of the military establishment – above all the consequences of a lack of a regular foreign minister for four years. It demonstrated India's persuasion skills. Islamabad should study the role of BRICS in the emerging world order. It should note it was not invited even as a guest (Nor there is any chance until Pakistan qualifies as an "emerging economy"). The gap between Pakistani and Chinese positions on extremist groups is widening and might be already unbridgeable. China was Islamabad's last card. India is rapidly emerging on the world scene, pushing for a permanent seat in the UNSC. All these developments are taking place amid the US's new great game in Afghanistan and deepening crises domestically.

This situation might give Pakistan a chance to review rusty policies, among them the use of proxies as a foreign policy tool. Whatever the rationale of this policy in the past, if any, in today's world its continuity will only damage Pakistan's interests and damage the name of Islam. There was already a debate in Pakistan but the government has not seriously taken it forward. The BRICS incident – with China's pulling its support back on the issue of proxies – has once again brought it into the limelight. A number of newspaper editorials and commentaries are demanding the establishment abandon the policies of the 1980s. No doubt the country's threats are tangible but its defensive mechanism is too old.

Pakistan should also consider UN reforms. Instead of pursuing a policy "to get India blocked/vetoed" (through China on UN reforms or the Nuclear Suppliers Group etc), Pakistan should prepare its own case for membership and seek China's help, which Beijing will be more than happy to do. Unfortunately, Islamabad has mostly used its China card in the wrong instances. Islamabad's case for a greater role in the UN has potential. Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country (while there is no single Muslim country with a permanent seat), has the largest army, is the only Muslim country with nuclear power and has significantly contributed to UN-peacekeeping missions.

This is the right time for Islamabad to design new policies which fit in today's world.

BRICS needs a new approach if it's going to foster a more equitable global order (БРИКС нуждается в новом подходе, если он будет поддерживать более справедливый глобальный порядок) / United Kingdom, September, 2017
Keywords: global_governance, BRICS_world, NDB, expert_opinion
United Kingdom

The formation of the BRICS – the bloc made of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – was supposed to be the harbinger for a new approach to global economic governance. The leading emerging markets and developing countries were becoming major players in the global economy. And they expected to play a commensurate governance role.

BRICS leaders have now been meeting annually for nine years. They recently met for the ninth BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China. They have positioned themselves as a force for transforming global economic governance so that it's more responsive to the concerns of developing economies. They are seeking a more just and equitable global economy.

The question is: how effective have they been in reforming global economic governance and the fairness of the global economy?

The honest answer is that as a group, BRICS hasn't been an effective force at all. This is for a number of reasons.

What's not happened

The following examples illustrate the point.

At least formally the G20, which consists of 20 major economies including the five in BRICs, has supplanted the G7, made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, as the premier forum for global economic governance. But the agenda in these meetings is still largely set by the most powerful countries which now include China but not the other BRICS.

The IMF and World Bank have both changed their voting arrangements to give a louder voice to developing economies and emerging economies. This has particularly benefited China, India and Brazil. But BRICS hasn't supported South Africa's call for a third African seat on the board of the IMF. This has left Africa as the most underrepresented region on the board.

BRICS countries, together with other G20 developing countries, have become more active participants in organisations responsible for developing international financial regulatory standards. This means that they now can participate in the writing of standards that guide the international financial system. But the system continues to be more responsive to the interests of the rich and powerful than those of the developing world.

New international financial institutions have been created, including the BRICS' New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, which provides financial support for BRICS countries experiencing balance of payments problems. Unfortunately, the New Development Bank operates in a less transparent and less accountable way than other multilateral development banks. For example, it's harder for outsiders to access information on the operational policies and practices of the bank than those of the World Bank or the African Development Bank. Unlike those other banks, there isn't yet a mechanism to hold the New Development Bank accountable if it causes harm.

The New Development Bank also risks repeating the tragic mistakes of these other institutions, which for many years concentrated only on economic issues in their operational decision making. Following a number of scandals they began to pay more attention to the social, human rights and environmental impact of their operations.

Members of the New Development Bank seem to share this concern. The BRICS leaders have reiterated their commitment to achieving

sustainable development in its three dimensions - economic, social and environmental- in a balanced and integrated manner.

But it's hard to see how they expect the bank to meet this commitment if it continues to place more emphasis on speed in project implementation than on identifying and managing the adverse environmental, human rights and social effects of its projects. To fulfil their commitment to promote a more just and equitable global economy the BRICS will need to up their game.

How to fix the problem

Achieving a just and equitable international economic order requires governments to take seriously their commitment to protect and promote human rights as set out in the UN Charter and other human rights treaties.

The starting point is a commitment to respect and promote the rights of each individual affected by each project, programme or policy that governments undertake or support. This requires developing a good system to forecast the impact of a project on the environment, society as well as human rights. And to have a plan to manage them.

Another element is accountability. Any person adversely affected by a project should have access to a mechanism that can provide them with an effective remedy.

Finally, the relevant decision makers must be able to show how their proposed activity is using the maximum available human and financial resources to fulfil the human rights of all the people affected by their decisions. This suggests that the relevant decision makers bear the burden of explaining why the proposed allocations are the most feasible. This includes governments, international organisations as well as private parties.

There are reasons to think the BRICS leaders could be persuaded to adopt a human rights based approach to making global economic governance more democratic and responsive to the needs of developing countries and for a more just, equitable and sustainable global economy. They, and their colleagues in other developing countries, are governing societies with continuing, and some cases worsening poverty, inequality, unemployment and environmental degradation levels. And they don't seem to have an effective strategy for meeting this challenge.

BRICS, SAARC and IBSA to support India in push for adoption of international treaty against terrorism (БРИКС, СААРК и ИБСА поддерживают Индию в стремлении к принятию международного договора о борьбе с терроризмом) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: terrorism, BRICS_India, CCIT, UNGA72

United Nations: India received the backing of three international groups: IBSA, BRICS and SAARC on Thursday to push for the adoption of the international treaty against terrorism that has been languishing for more than two decades.

The ministerial meetings of the organisations in their statements called for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Compact on International Terrorism that was proposed by India in 1996 to ban support for terrorist organisations and punish cross-border terrorism.

"The reference to counter-terrorism has been a common thread" in almost all the statements from the multilateral meetings External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended in the last three days, Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

The India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) group's ministerial meeting, which was presided over by Sushma Swaraj, "called for a comprehensive and determined international action", including "the early conclusion and adoption of the CCIT to address the menace".

The Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) group of emerging economies ministers "reaffirmed their commitment to an expeditious adoption of a CCIT at the UN" in their statement.

At the BRICS ministerial meeting earlier in the day, Sushma Swaraj said the group should work to end the "support systems in South Asia".

"It is a very strong signal to Pakistan to stop using terrorism as an instrument of their state policy, stop giving sanctuaries to known terrorist outfits that are recognised by the United Nations," Kumar said. At the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation meeting, where Pakistan was present, Sushma "again touched on the issue of terrorism and she mentioned it is a threat to the world", Kumar said. "This also got reflected in the press release" from SAARC, he said. "All the countries that are part of this grouping agreed with this nature of the threat."

The CCIT, if adopted, could potentially impact cross-border terrorism from Pakistan. But in two decades of discussions it has been blocked by disagreements on defining terrorism, with some claiming some terrorists could be "freedom fighters".

BRICS ministers — Swaraj, Aloysio Nunes Ferreira Filho of Brazil, Sergei Lavrov of Russia, Wang Yi of China, and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of South Africa — "urged concerted efforts to counter terrorism on a firm international legal basis under UN auspices" and said "a comprehensive approach was necessary".

They also reaffirmed the need to reform the Security Council "to increase the representation of developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges".

The statement said that China and Russia "reiterate the importance they attach to the status and role of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN".

China has opposed India getting a permanent seat on the Security Council and Russia is lukewarm, while the other three permanent members, Britain, France and the United States, support India.

This wording falls short of endorsing India and Brazil, which are openly lobbying for permanent seats on the Council, while not bluntly rejecting their claims in a common forum. South Africa is seen as a contender for permanent membership representing Africa.

The the three IBSA ministers also called for reform of the Council.

BRICS countries call for expeditious adoption of CCIT (Страны БРИКС требуют оперативного принятия Всеобъемлющей конвенции ООН по борьбе с терроризмом) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: high_level_meeting, CCIT, UNGA72

Foreign Ministers of BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, in a meeting on sidelines of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), have called for expeditious adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the United Nations.

In a meeting held on Thursday, the BRICS nations acknowledged that comprehensive approach is necessary to ensure effective fight against terrorism.

In a joint statement, the five nations strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They also said that efforts are needed to counter terrorism on a firm international legal basis, under the UN auspices.

The countries also expressed their concern over continued conflicts and situations in several regions which undermine stability and security and provide fertile grounds for terrorist activities and cause refugee and migration waves.

The group also supported political and diplomatic solutions of conflicts and situations, such as in the Israel-Palestine conflict, and in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, and in Africa, and the Korean Peninsula.

BRICS countries continued important role as engines of global growth, the ministers reiterated the need to boost world economic growth including through macro-economic policy coordination and improving global economic governance.

They reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations as the universal multilateral organization entrusted with the mandate for maintaining international peace and security, advance global development and to promote and protect human rights so as to build a brighter shared future for the global community.

Leaders from China and Russia reiterated the importance they attach to the status and role of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and extended to support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.

Press release Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations September 21, 2017, New York (Встреча министров иностранных дел/международных отношений стран БРИКС, Нью-Йорк, 21 сентября 2017 года) / Russia, September, 2017
Keywords: High_level_meeting, concluded_agreements, UNGA72

  1. The BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations held their annual meeting on the margins of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA72) on 21 September 2017. The meeting was chaired by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa in the country's capacity as the incoming BRICS Chair for 2018.
  2. The Ministers expressed their warm appreciation to China for the success of the 9th BRICS Summit held from 4 - 5 September 2017 in Xiamen. They welcomed the substantive outcomes of the Summit and reaffirmed the commitment for their full implementation of the Xiamen Declaration, as well as the outcomes of the past Summits as adopted by the BRICS Leaders.
  3. The Ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to uphold development and multilateralism, and to that effect they stressed the need to strengthen coordination and cooperation among BRICS in the areas of mutual and common interests within the United Nations and other multilateral institutions, including through regular meetings among our permanent representatives in New York, Geneva and Vienna, and further enhance the voice of BRICS in international fora.
  4. The Ministers underlined the progress achieved by BRICS since 2006 that has generated a momentum for multi-dimensional cooperation fostered by the Leaders' Summits. They expressed satisfaction from the many fruitful results of BRICS cooperation, in particular the establishment of the New Development Bank (NDB), including its first Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), the formulation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, the strengthening of the political and security cooperation including through Meetings of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues and Foreign Ministers Meetings, and the deepening of the traditional ties of friendship amongst peoples of BRICS countries.
  5. They further pledged to continue working together to uphold mutual respect, equality, solidarity, openness and inclusiveness, to further strengthen strategic partnership cooperation for mutual benefit by constantly deepening BRICS practical cooperation so as to usher in and provide practical content to the second golden decade of BRICS cooperation and solidarity.
  6. The Ministers exchanged views on global and regional issues in the economic and political spheres and recognized that global economic recovery is gaining momentum though uncertainties and downside risks persist globally. They noted that BRICS countries continue to play an important role as engines of global growth. They further reiterated the need to boost world economic growth including through macro-economic policy coordination and improving global economic governance.
  7. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations as the universal multilateral organization entrusted with the mandate for maintaining international peace and security, advance global development and to promote and protect human rights so as to build a brighter shared future for the global community. They recalled the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to the status and role of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.
  8. The Ministers also reconfirmed the commitment to fully implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to equitable, inclusive, open, all-round innovation-driven and sustainable development, in its three dimensions– economic, social and environmental in a balanced and integrated manner. The Ministers pledged their support for the important role of the United Nations, including the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), in coordinating and reviewing global implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and support the need to reform the UN Development System with a view to enhancing its capability in supporting member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda.
  9. The Ministers reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They urged concerted efforts to counter terrorism on a firm international legal basis, under the UN auspices, and expressed their conviction that a comprehensive approach was necessary to ensure effective fight against terrorism. They reaffirmed their commitment to an expeditious adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations. The Ministers stressed the role of the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group in further deepening the dialogue on counter-terrorism cooperation.
  10. The Ministers expressed their concern over continued conflicts and situations in several regions which undermine stability and security and provide fertile grounds for terrorist activities and cause refugee and migration waves. They supported political and diplomatic solutions of conflicts and situations, such as in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, and in Africa, and the Korean Peninsula.
  11. The Ministers stressed the need to strive towards broad partnerships with EMDCs, and in this context, to pursue equal-footed and flexible practices and initiatives for sustainable dialogue and cooperation with non-BRICS countries, regional or sub-region groups, including through BRICS Plus approach.
  12. The Ministers supported the efforts in deepening people-to-people exchanges and cultural cooperation, in particular strengthening the third pillar of BRICS cooperation so as to deepen bonds and ties amongst its peoples.
  13. The Ministers discussed the possibilities for the mutual support of their initiatives at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.
  14. The Ministers were also briefed on approaches for South Africa's incoming BRICS Chairpersonship in 2018. China, Brazil, Russia and India extend full support for South Africa in hosting the Tenth BRICS Summit in 2018. The Ministers also look forward to the Stand-alone Meeting of BRICS Minister of Foreign Affairs/International Relations in South Africa in 2018.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Chinese enterprises positive on BRICS investment (Китайские предприятия позитивно относятся к инвестициям в БРИКС) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: trade_relations, investment_opportunities

SHANGHAI - Chinese enterprises have positive expectations on investment in BRICS countries.

"The investment in Brazil will reach 70 percent of our company's overall overseas investment, after the completion of the acquisition," Ge Junjie, chairman of Hunan Dakang Pasture Farming, said in Shanghai Saturday at a seminar on overseas investment.

Ge, whose company is based in central China's Hunan Province, said that this June the company's strategic investor, Shanghai Pengxin Group, and its wholly owned subsidiary abroad DKBA, had acquired a 53.99 percent stake in Belagricola, a company specializing in agricultural equipment sales in Brazil.

In 2016, the group bought a 57 percent stake in Fiagril, a Brazilian trading company.

More Chinese companies are seeking investment opportunities in BRICS countries.

Huang Qingfeng, president of Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, said that the company started investment in Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa in 1996, 2005, 2006 and 2008 respectively, seeking cooperation partners. The company is now negotiating a fully automated wharf project with Indian customers.

Earlier this year, Beijing Gas Group bought a 20 percent stake in a Rosneft subsidiary.

Chinese companies are now investing in more countries and diversified industries, according to Cline Zhang, branch manager of Citibank (China) Shanghai Branch.

Zhang said that Chinese companies are behaving in more robust fashion, focusing on sustainable development and risk aversion.

The potential that BRICS members will expand investment to each other is large. Overall foreign investment by BRICS has reached US$200 billion, accounting for 12 percent of total global investment, yet bilateral and mutual investment among BRICS accounted for only 6 percent of their overall investment.

According to Huang Qingfeng, a stable domestic economic policy is a major prerequisite to attract overseas investment. Meanwhile, BRICS countries can improve their standard of service and guarantee for overseas investors.

"Using the renminbi as a settlement currency, as well as providing more convenient tax and visa facilities, can prompt more Chinese companies to invest in BRICS," Huang said. "More financial and consulting services are needed to help lower risks."

China Economic Information Service and PricewaterhouseCoopers China published a BRICS Investment Environment Report on Saturday, which provides information on macro-economics, the investment environment and the latest investment policies.

In the future, the upgrading of domestic demand and the industrial complementarity among BRICS will be the main factor driving Chinese companies to invest in BRICS, according to industry insiders.

Ge Junjie said that the future integrated operation of Belagricola and Fiagril would enhance his company's global competitiveness and lower the risks of overseas operation.

"Agricultural products from Brazil, such as sugar, coffee and fruit juice are expected to enter Chinese market with better quality and lower prices in the future," Ge said.

India, Not China, Is Now Central To The Future Of The BRICS (Индия, а не Китай, теперь имеет центральное значение в будущем БРИКС) / USA, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, India_China, BRICS_India
Author: Douglas Bulloch

The recent BRICS meeting in Xiamen formed the setting for what appeared to be a rapprochement between its two key members, India and China. It was preceded by a rather sudden diplomatic resolution to the recent Doklam (Donglang) crisis which saw Indian and Chinese troops step back from possible confrontation. This was widely viewed to have been agreed at the initiative of the Chinese, eager to secure the attendance of Narendra Modi at the immediately following BRICS meeting.

Although the BRICS concept is long past its pomp, it is clear that China still values it as a diplomatic forum, either for what is discussed and agreed while it takes place, or for the appearance that emerges of the Chinese engaged in a multilateral forum in which they take centre stage. Indeed, China has long been the real engine behind the BRICS, given that both Brazil and Russia (B and R respectively) were dependent on the China driven commodity boom and South Africa (the S) is there to make up numbers. The real quandary, however, was always India.

Without India, the "BRCS" would be harder to pronounce but perhaps a little easier to understand. Conceived by Goldman Sachs as a Powerpoint acronym to describe high growth emerging markets, there was always something slightly ad hoc about the arrangement, a useful thumb sketch perhaps, shorthand for time-poor, knowledge-light bankers and investment managers to add a patina of granularity to their boom dependent punts. In reality an almost endless, debt fuelled Chinese investment cascade fuelled what many mistook for a commodity super-cycle that flattered Russia and Brazil, and made India seem like the tortoise to China's hare.

All about the growth

The key problem with the BRICS was always that there is little that unites them all aside from a once shared propensity for high rates of growth. This is fine if all you seek are outlets for investment capital, but rather begs an assessment of–in each case–what that growth implies. A recent explainer by Michael Pettis makes the obvious, but seemingly not widely understood, point that 'GDP does not distinguish between activity that increases a country's wealth and activity that doesn't'. And in making this point he obliges readers to move beyond simplistic "GDPism" towards making judgements about the quality of investments in each case. Rising GDP, in other words, needn't always been good news. It might in fact be disguising some very bad news indeed.

Here also is where China and India diverge. For all the fanfare laid on for the BRICS in Xiamen, the association has always been fundamentally driven by the development trajectories of those two Asian supergiants; China and India. Brazil and Russia, being primarily commodity suppliers, ride the international consequences of growth in those other two giants, but aside from that have little to contribute. In recent years China has driven the global economy with its rapid investment and export focussed growth while India has grown more slowly and organically.

The upshot is that China has huge amounts of infrastructure and an economy that must now service enormous amounts of debt. The staggering GDP growth figures they have achieved over many years have yet to register the consequences of all that investment and if much of it generates little or no return, the consequent write-downs will weigh down on China's GDP figures for years to come. Some estimate coming write-downs in excess of 35% of GDP, which according to Pettis' formula would mean China's economy is actually much smaller than its reported GDP.

India, on the other hand, registered a growth rate higher than China last year, and while India's economy is much smaller than China's right now, in contrast to China it has a great deal of catch up growth ahead of it, and–again unlike China–has a government with an appetite for structural reform as a key driver for future growth, rather than debt-fuelled investment and exports.

What would Goldman Sachs say now?

Setting aside China's effort to build the BRICS into a cooperative forum, the same formula that generated the BRICS concept would produce a wildly different set of results today. China, with its enormous debts, closed capital markets, asset bubbles and increasing communist party interference in the economy would look like an entirely different kind of investment prospect than India, with its greater growth potential, favorable demographics, open and pluralist society and reform minded government. Indeed, apart from both being large economies it's hard to imagine anyone putting the two economies in the same category anymore.

All of which provides a useful contrast between the original concept of the BRICS as a meaningful investment destination premised largely on impressive growth rates, and its more recent emergence as a forum for the projection of influence. Because if the BRICS were originally premised on GDP growth, then as long China's GDP growth becomes increasingly dependent on self-defeating credit expansion, India looks the better bet. Furthermore, given the emphasis China placed on securing the attendance of Narendra Modi at Xiamen, it appears China might already understand this quite well.
The BRICS and a Changing World (БРИКС и меняющийся мир) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: report, research, expert_opinion, trade_relations
Author: Sanjay G Reddy

This July and August, I led an international group of experts in preparing an Economic Report on the role of the BRICS countries (Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa) in the world economy and international development. The Report was commissioned as an input to the Summit of BRICS countries that took place in early September 2017 in Xiamen, China.

It surveys the BRICS countries' sizable contribution to global growth, trade and investment, evaluates the prospects for this to continue in the future, and explores the possible role that these countries can play in bolstering the global economy, in reshaping international economic arrangements and in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals and to international development generally. An important conclusion in the report is that continued BRICS growth as well as policy initiatives can substantially benefit other developing countries (the report uses the IMF category of Emerging Market and Developing Countries, or EMDCs) – and developed countries too. I will be pleased if the report will be circulated widely, and welcome all reactions.

The experts making contributions to the report included Zhiyuan Cui, Martin Guzman, Arjun Jayadev, Inge Kaul, Terry McKinley and Paulo dos Santos. They were supported by a number of other contributors, including Joana Avritzer, Francis Cripps, Pablo Gluzmann, Rahul Lahoti, Neva Nahtigal and Xiao-Zhuang Zhou. Peter Dimock was the editor and Mohamed Obaidy was the project manager. (The report could not have been produced without either of them). The design of the report was undertaken by Twist Open Innovations. The report was commissioned by the New Development Bank but neither it nor any individual contributor bears responsibility for all of its contents.

Click here to download the report.

E-commerce key to BRICS nations' business ties (Электронная коммерция - ключ к деловым связям стран БРИКС) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: e-commerce, CIFIT
Author: Chen Meiling and Hu Meidong

E-commerce will become a new engine of business cooperation among BRICS countries to improve both regional and global economic growth, experts said on Tuesday.

"E-commerce can help construct a more convenient custom clearance, modernized logistics and ideal investment environment," said Wang Jinzhen, vice-chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, at the Public-Private Partnership Forum on BRICS E-commerce.

BRICS, which involves Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has 44 percent of the world's population-a potential huge market, Wang said.

The rising middle class group and upgrading consumption structure in those countries also laid a foundation for developing the e-commerce industry, he said.

It's necessary for each member to establish more related laws and regulations and inclusive and sustainable financing and investment systems when conducting overseas business, he added.

The five countries contributed 50 percent to the growth of the global economy, while the business volume only occupied 16 percent.

"With the promotion of modern trading, the number will change," he said.

Wang Zhen, director of the Asian-Pacific region of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, said at the forum that there is great potential for e-commerce cooperation among BRICS countries.

The number of netizens from those countries surpassed 1.46 billion last year, among which about 700 million go shopping online, he said.

The trading volume of the internet retail business reached $800 billion, about 11 percent of which came from cross-border e-commerce, he added.

"E-commerce played an important role in boosting regional economic growth," he said. "It also benefits small and medium-sized companies and provides job opportunities for women and young people."

Common challenges for BRICS countries to develop e-commerce include the less developed information network and logistics, as well as a lack of talent and mature market regulation and credit system, according to the E-commerce Development Report of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises of BRICS Countries released at the forum.

The report was co-launched by the UNIDO and Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

The solution includes establishing unified international rules, multilateral negotiation and dispute-settlement mechanisms, as well as eliminating tariff barriers, the report said.

BRICS should also promote the sales of each other's major products and simplify the regulation of cross-border trade, it said.

The forum is being held during 2017 China International Fair for Investment and Trade, China's major bilateral investment promotional event held in Xiamen, Fujian province, from Monday to Thursday.

China Brics Summit to spur emerging markets growth (Китайский саммит БРИКС стимулирует рост развивающихся рынков) / United Kingdom, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, Xiamen_summit, emerging_markets
United Kingdom
Author: Robert Kagiri

China is expected to play a larger role in shaping the BRICS's agenda, particularly in coordinating how the group collectively tackles key global issues such as climate change, poverty reduction, free trade, and building sustainable and effective domestic models

The Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and – since 2010 – South Africa) constitute the emerging powers in global governance, though so far none of the rising powers, has been in a rush to assert themselves by taking up the role of global leader, with its conflicting influences of attendant high financial costs, from the United States.

While China, as the leading member, has taken a long patient view of history, it has more than four decades, of unrelenting fortitude and perseverance, becoming a fast-paced country undergoing rapid change.

As the host for the 2017 Brics Summit, China has adopted a Brics Plus model by inviting Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand as guest countries. This is seen as deepening China's leadership and outreach to further shape future geopolitics particularly in the developing world.

Consequently, it now has the opportunity to provide leadership in Brics, particularly as a result of its fast-paced environment and rapid economic growth that has catapulted its meteoric unprecedented advance to become the world's second largest economy at over $12 trillion.

The Brics economies share certain domestic and socio-economic challenges which must be addressed independently of their group activism. This must be done in order to accomplish set goals as a group in combating economic, social and political inequality in addition to corruption, improvements in health care and education, and human rights, to name a few.

There has therefore been a fundamental shift in global significance whereby in the future we will inevitably only have two dominant powers: the United States and China. As a result, as a member of Brics, China dwarfs all the other combined emerging powers and is hence expected to play a larger role in shaping the Brics' agenda that is commensurate with its elevated status, particularly in coordinating how the group collectively tackles key global issues such as climate change, poverty reduction, free trade, and building sustainable and effective domestic models that may be emulated by other developing countries.

China can play an important role through Brics in spearheading the rise of emerging powers
Brics should therefore move closer to the professed goals of the developed world in propping up institutions of jurisprudence, human rights, fair trade, and other equitable forms of Western global setting of norms and standards.

The Brics countries will be looking for prospective success and reciprocal influence in boosting trade between their developing economies, representing nearly half of the world's population. But while they face similar challenges in lifting large populations of the poor and protecting their environments, their economies have been slowing.

In this context China will play a pivotal role because of the seriousness in takes Brics as a driver of global leadership, particularly in the developing world. President Xi Jinping's One Belt and Road (B&R) project and his captivating speech in support of globalisation at the World Trade Forum in Davos, Switzerland, are all aligned with enhancing partnership of unity and cooperation within Brics as a model that should emulated by developing countries.

As China hosts the 9th Brics leaders' summit, it is manifestly apparent that China has ascended to perhaps the most significant global player on the world stage, straddling both the developed and developing world. It is therefore critical to the realization of Brics' aspirations of their repeated call for the democratization of international governance and for greater equality in world politics is spearheaded by China working in close collaboration with fellow Brics countries.

Some ideas such as the mooted Brics bank are extremely attractive to the developing countries, particularly if they can help them in achieving sustainable development goals. In this respect, China can play an important role through Brics in spearheading the rise of emerging powers and the beginning of shared development through a win-win globalisation model.

In this regard the Brics Summit expects to progress toward a new level as a globally influential platform for South-South co-operation among the emerging-market bloc, thereby leading to fairer and more rational international order.

From the African perspective, this is the key challenge and opportunity for Brics and particularly China, and it must firmly and decisively take up if they are to meet our sanguine expectations of uniform blending of aspirations for common prosperity.

In this regard, the Brics Plus model is an important step in the right direction by providing emerging countries with an opportunity to understudy their more developed counterparts.

BRICS: Stronger together (БРИКС: Сильнее вместе) / Bangladesh, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion
Author: Muhammad Zamir

BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — five countries that together form an association of major emerging national economies.

In the recent past, Afghanistan, Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, Sudan, Syria, Bangladesh, and Greece have also expressed interest in joining BRICS.

Since 2009, the BRICS nations have met annually at formal summits with member countries taking turns to host. China has just hosted the 9th BRICS summit of these leading developing and newly industrialised countries in Xiamen from September 3 to 5. India convened the previous summit in 2016. As of 2016, the five BRICS countries represent over 3.6 billion people, or about 48% of the world population.

They have a combined nominal GDP of $16.6 trillion, equivalent to approximately 22% of the Gross World Product (GWP) and a combined GDP (PPP) of around $37tn with an estimated $4tn in combined foreign reserves.

Overall, the BRICS group expanded its economy by about 4.5% in 2016, as opposed to its estimated growth of 3.9% in 2015. The World Bank has since observed that it expects BRICS growth to pick up to 5.3% in 2017.

Bilateral relations among BRICS nations have mainly been conducted on the basis of non-interference, equality, and mutual benefit. This principle was however seriously tested this year just before the 9th Summit.

In July, world capitals reacted with relief after the two-month long stand-off and the prolonged confrontation between the armed forces of China and India at the Doklam tri-junction in the Himalayas eventually toned down.

Subsequently, both the Indian Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping used the opportunity of their side-line meetings during the summit to reiterate their commitment to work together on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

This was an example of positive dynamics at work.

Du Yifei of the People's Daily of China has noted some important aspects of the 71-point Xiamen Declaration issued on September 4 at the conclusion of the meeting.

The participating leadership agreed to improving global economic governance

It was pointed out that the participating leadership agreed to energise practical cooperation to boost development and enhance communication and coordination in improving global economic governance.

This was stressed to foster a more just and equitable international economic order. The declaration also emphasised the need for fairness and justice to safeguard international and regional peace and stability.

But while the BRICS states were right to agree on the above principles they seem to have forgotten to look outside their meeting room and take notice of the inhuman activities being perpetrated in the Rakhine State of Myanmar.

Nevertheless, one needs to also note some other positive outcomes of the Xiamen summit.

Indian Prime Minister Modi stressed the importance of collaborative action to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

He also correctly noted that domestic efforts in this regard needs to be buttressed by strong international partnerships and proactive sharing of experience and resources across a range of sectors: From strengthening democratic institutions to deploying high-tech solutions for the public good.

He further referred to the need to focus on development partnerships projects related to providing water, electricity, roads, health care, tele-medicine, and basic infrastructure to people.

The participants also reiterated the need to create a safer world through organised and coordinated action in the areas of counter-terrorism, cyber security, and disaster management.

There was also consensus on a number of other areas: The need to counter climate change, through initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance; sharing and deploying suitable technologies to enhance efficiency, economy, and effectiveness; bridging the digital divide within and outside the BRICS economies; enhancing the skills of the emerging youth population; creating a healthier world by cooperating in research and development to eradicate diseases, and enabling affordable health care for all; creating equality of opportunity for all, particularly through gender empowerment and equality; creating a connected world by enabling free flow of goods, persons, and services; and, promoting ideologies, practices, and heritage that are centred on peaceful coexistence and living in harmony with nature.

Zhao Minghao, an analyst from China's Renmin University, noted that such aspirations have underlined the positive efforts on the part of the BRICS mechanism and has transformed it into an important international economic bloc.

BRICS members' trade in services had reached about $540bn in 2015, about 11.3% of the world's total. Zhao Minghao has gone on to suggest that "with the middle class expanding in BRICS countries, there is plenty of opportunity for cooperation in health care, tourism, education, and other sectors." He further emphasised the need to avoid protectionism with regard to trade.

Bangladeshi entrepreneurs should carefully monitor how BRICS countries will undertake this task and try to replicate the scenario.

This is already being done successfully by Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. We need to remember that we will be able to move forward at a faster pace in Bangladesh and within the sub-region if we can create further stimulus and help develop small and medium sized e-commerce enterprises.

The Xiamen Summit, as in the case of the BRICS Summit held in Goa, India last year (where there was the BIMS-TEC outreach factor), added a dimension through the concept of "BRICS Plus."

Mexico, Egypt, Guinea, Thailand, and Tajikistan attended the Summit in China as part of the BRICS Plus initiative. This enabled the BRICS to reach out to Central Asia, South East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

The other important aspect was the careful scrutiny of the need to have deeper political and security cooperation. The existing political situation in the Middle East and North Africa received careful attention, while issues relating to Afghanistan found their place in the Joint Declaration.

The BRICS leaders also condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever.

It was however interesting to observe that though China's Foreign Ministry condemned North Korea's nuclear bomb test (carried out at the same time as the Summit meeting) President Xi did not mention North Korea during his 45 minute address or in his televised remarks.

It was decided that the next BRICS Summit will be convened in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2018. The world will have to wait and see how international affairs evolve over the coming months.

Several factors in Europe, Brexit, Far East and South East Asia, South Asia and in the Middle East will influence the geo-strategic paradigm and BRICS will need to step forward with care.

Can BRICS credit rating agency ever take off? (Сможет ли рейтинговое агенство БРИКС когда-нибудь взлететь?) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, rating_agency
Author: Amit Kapoor & Chirag Yadav

The BRICS Summit was largely an uneventful affair this year. Apart from the usual declarations for greater cooperation, hardly anything noteworthy took place. Only the naming of Pakistani terrorist groups by the forum as a cause for violence in the region led to some celebratory ripples, but that was it.

Amidst all the dull news emanating from Xiamen there was also a word about India's push for an early creation of the BRICS credit ratings agency that was proposed two years ago and formally agreed upon last year. However, India's effort was rendered fruitless as the declaration remained silent on the initiative.

BRICS nations, apart from China, have frequently complained about their low ratings by the world's top three credit rating agencies despite displaying better fundamentals than many Western economies. South Africa has been reduced to junk status while India has been awarded the lowest rating possible. China has not been enthusiastic about the idea since it already enjoys higher ratings than its peers. Even in the last few years when India has outperformed China in almost all possible aspects, the ratings have not kept pace.

India has not shied away from expressing its displeasure at this anomaly. This year's Economic Survey made it a point to highlight the "poor standards" of the rating agencies. The Survey pointed out that China was upgraded from A+ to AA- in 2010 and India has been kept stagnant at BBB- despite contrasting economic performances by the two countries. Since the economic crisis, China's credit to GDP ratio has ballooned (from 140 to over 200) while its growth has fallen. On the other hand, India's credit to GDP ratio has remained more or less constant (at 75) while growth has exceeded that of China.

During this period, India has also managed to moderate the government deficit from 8.3 percent in 2011-12 to 6.7 in 2016-17, boost its foreign exchange reserves to among the 10 highest in the world and narrow its current account deficit from 7.8 percent in 2012-13 to 1.4 in 2016-17. On the face of these trends, the credit ratings hardly make sense. The fault must lie in the methodology that is being used by these agencies as it clearly fails to reflect the real-world scenario.

The rating agencies repeatedly cite India's low per capita income and high fiscal deficit as grounds for its low ratings. However, per capita income is a slow-moving variable. Even if India grows at seven percent per annum, it'll take more than a decade for it to graduate from a lower-middle income country to an upper-middle income country. It makes little sense for any country with a sustained growth rate of 7 percent and strong fundamentals to have a stagnant low credit rating merely on account of its relatively low per capita income. With such a methodology, poor countries should just give up hope of seeing any improvement on their credit ratings for at least a decade or so. As for the deficits, the Indian government has stood strong on its unwavering commitment to a fiscal target over the last few years even at the cost of its growth rate, at times.

So, India's issue with the methodology followed by these agencies, which bias the ratings against poor economies, is legitimate. Incorrect ratings have an impact on the money flowing into the economy since a lot of institutional investors depend on such analysis. Nevertheless, a new credit rating agency backed by the BRICS might not be the answer to the problem and will be beset with its own set of problems.

First is the clear conflict of interest. It will be a tough task for the investors, especially in the West, to believe that the ratings from the "independent" agency are being awarded with no governmental pressure and are politically impartial. Moreover, it'll also have to overcome the conflict of interest problem that is already ailing the present agencies. The current issuer pay model is based on receiving payments from the institutions that are being rated. This makes agencies wary of downgrading their own clients. A model of charging investors will also not work for the agency given that it would be quite new to be trusted and ratings would be freely available anyway from established agencies of the West. So, escaping the problem of conflict of interest will be a major challenge.

Second, with the three major ratings agencies commanding more than 90 percent of the market, cracking it for a new entity will take a considerable amount of time and possibly never happen. The history of alternative credit agencies has not been promising. ARC Ratings established in 2013 and Global Credit Ratings established in 1995 are yet to start offering credit ratings.

A new credit rating agency by the BRICS will be a dud if these challenges are not addressed. The agency needs to be truly independent and based on a model which doesn't base revenue on delivering the results that its clients want. An agency established by governments to rate other governments is not the best idea for such requirements. It can never be free of political interference and even if it manages to be so, the issuer pay model would still be at work.

More competition is always the key in such cases. Therefore, a better approach to taking on the "big three" in the market would be to decide upon a methodology that reflects the credit strengths of financial entities much more accurately and popularising it by implementing it across the local credit rating agencies of the respective BRICS nations.The next step would be to adopt a model that eliminates any conflict of interest and is more performance-based. Finally, there will a need to build a rapport among investors so that they can trust these ratings over that of the "big three". All of this is easier said than done, but is surely bound to reap better results than establishing yet another agency that does nothing to improve the status quo.
BRICS: Building a sustainable future (БРИКС: создание устойчивого будущего) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion, Xiamen_declaration
Author: RK Pachauri

With their collective significance, Brics leaders can strike a dominant position if they pursue a cohesive agenda and chart some new paths, which could make a difference in the world

The last meeting of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) leaders took place on September 4, 2017, in the Chinese city of Xiamen. At the end of the summit, a declaration was issued on behalf of the leaders who participated, covering 71 separate paragraphs. It would be useful to trace the history of Brics, a term which was first coined by Jim O'Neill, who was the then Chief Economist of Goldman Sachs. South Africa joined this group of four countries later in 2010. However, when the term Brics was first coined in 2001, covering the four other economies, they were identified as the emerging superstars which would most likely dominate the globalised economy of the 21st century.

To a large extent that projection and promise has been fulfilled, because between 1990 and 2014, the share of the world gross domestic product of the Brics has risen from 11 per cent to almost 30 per cent. The importance of this grouping can be assessed from the fact that these five countries contain 40 per cent of the world's population and cover 25 per cent of the earth's land area. With their collective significance, they could, therefore, strike a dominant position if they pursued a cohesive agenda and charted some new paths, which could make a difference in the world.

That the global economy faces some serious challenges can be concluded from the fact that both, in the developed as well as developing countries, economic and wealth disparities are on the increase. The most dramatic indicator of this was provided by the Oxfam report released earlier this year, highlighting the disturbing finding that only eight men in the world owned the same wealth as half the population of the world.

This revealed a shocking change even from the report released a year earlier, which showed that the wealth of the poorest half of the world's population had fallen by a trillion dollars since 2010, a drop of 38 per cent, even as the global population increased by around 400 million during the same period. It also found that the wealth of the richest 62 had increased by more than half a trillion dollars in that period, and that of the 62 richest persons in the world only nine were women. Inequality of such startling proportions is clearly not a sustainable condition. India, of course, is no exception to this trend, because in this year's report, Oxfam found that the richest one per cent in this country owned 50 per cent of the country's total wealth.

Even more serious perhaps than economic disparities and the unequal nature of well-being across the globe is the serious damage that human society is imposing on the earth's ecosystems, leading to climate change and its growing impacts worldwide.

The Brics nations have generally grown rapidly in economic terms. In the case of China, for instance, it accounted for three per cent of the world's manufacturing output in 1990, but by 2015, this share had gone up to 25 per cent. In the case of India, however, the growth has been dominated by an expansion of services rather than manufacturing. In both countries, economic growth has led to an increase in the actual size and proportion of the middle class. China has been particularly successful in eliminating poverty, and lifting hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens out of poverty. Russia has also been remarkably successful in this regard, because in the year 2000, 29 per cent of the Russian population was below the poverty line, and by 2012 this figure had reduced to 11 per cent.

India has lagged in this regard, and has the largest number of poor people among all the others. South Africa and Brazil have also failed in making a serious dent on poverty. Overall, however, the Brics are in a position to change the nature of the game, and redefine the pattern of economic growth and development, which has largely been set by the developed countries, led essentially by the United States.

The US model created serious problems of pollution at the local level, which fortunately through a combination of legislation, regulatory actions and citizens' movements have been curbed substantially. However, the plunder of the global commons inherent in the US model can be seen in the cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases that it is responsible for, and the opposition of the current US Administration to even acknowledge the problem.

If the Brics nations follow the same path, the earth's climate would impose huge risks not only on the present generation but increasingly for generations yet to come. There is, of course, the case of Russia, which relies heavily on export of fossil fuels, but that country is clearly very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change (as is the US). The raging forest fires which have occurred in Russia in recent years have clearly been exacerbated by an increase in the frequency and intensity of heat waves. This was an issue publicly acknowledged indirectly by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the World Climate Change Conference in Moscow in 2003, at which this writer spoke along with him.

If the Brics are to be a force for good, then they need to sink their individual differences and collectively forge a new pattern of economic development which is truly sustainable and for the good of all humanity.

As it happens, the declaration issued earlier this month in Xiamen highlights the role of Brics in global economic development. Paragraph seven of the declaration states "Brics countries continue to play an important role as engines of global growth". Paragraphs 14, 15, 16 and 17 emphasise the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, identifying its three dimensions — economic, social and environmental — in a balanced and integrated manner. A commitment was also expressed to strengthen Brics cooperation on energy, including sustainable development, energy access and energy security.

Paragraph 16 deals with green development and low carbon economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication with a desire to enhance Brics cooperation on climate change and expand green financing. Finally, paragraph 17 stresses the importance of environmental cooperation to sustainable development of the Brics countries and the well-being of their people.

These provisions in the declaration should not be taken as platitudes, and must be given substance if the Brics nations are serious, and particularly if they uphold the welfare of youth by reducing future risks for them. Perhaps the Brics leadership should set up a group of knowledgeable persons to create a roadmap for a sustainable future, which would not only be relevant to the Brics nations themselves but also help to drive the world towards a widespread pattern of sustainable development.
BRICS investment to boost regional ties (Инвестиции БРИКС в укрепление региональных связей) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: CIFIT, trade_relations
Author: Chen Meiling and Hu Meidong

Investment in infrastructure and manufacturing will continue to be the key engine for the BRICS countries-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa-to enhance regional connectivity and stimulate trade activities, business leaders said on Monday.

Concerning the asset amount, it may be a bit difficult for countries like India and South Africa to be very big investors. China, which accounts for two-thirds of the total economic aggregate among the five countries, should enlarge the investment scale to lay a solid basis for establishing the BRICS economic belt, Zhu Xian, vice-president of the BRICS New Development Bank, said at the International Investment Forum 2017 in Xiamen.

The forum is a major event of the China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen, Fujian province, held from Sept 18 to 21.

As one of the biggest annual international investment promotion events following the ninth BRICS Summit held earlier this month, this year's forum will focus on boosting investment in BRICS countries, as well as economies related to the Belt and Road Initiative, according to You Quan, Party secretary of Fujian province.

According to the 2017 World Investment Report released in June by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, China's outbound direct investment ranked top among the BRICS countries to reach about $183 billion in 2016.

However, the proportion of investment among BRICS members only took up 6 percent, the report said.

Zhu from the BRICS New Development Bank said the history of China's investment in those countries is still relatively short, and there is great potential for further cooperation.

Chen Jinghe, chairman of Zijin Mining Group, a Fujian-based mining company, said at the forum that resources can play a bigger role in boosting the country's overseas investment.

Founded in 1993, the company has invested in countries including Russia, Australia, Canada and South Africa.

It has invested more than 3 billion yuan ($454 million) in mine development in Tuva, a republic in Russia's southern Siberia which has rich bronze, gold and silver resources.

He said the area had no large-scale mining projects for around 20 years, but this together with the extreme cold posed major challenges in establishing the facilities.

However, it now has more than 1,000 employees, and it is expected to earn 600 to 700 million yuan this year.

He said the rich resources, good relations between China and Russia and support from the local government and communities all persuaded him to invest in the area.

Zhu Lianyu, chairman of Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co Ltd, with more than 20 years of experience in marine equipment, said his company has branches and businesses in all the other four BRICS countries since it built its first shore bridge in Brazil in 1996.

The company has so far installed port cranes in 12 major ports in India.

CIFIT ends with success (Успешно завершился CIFIT) / China, September, 2017
Keywords: CIFIT, trade_relations

The four-day 2017 China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) came to an end in Xiamen, Fujian province on Sept 21 with successful results.

The CIFIT is one of China's biggest international investment fairs, held between the 9th BRICS Summit and the 19th CPC National Congress.

More than 100,000 domestic and foreign business representatives from 107 countries and regions, nearly 700 business groups, over 40 multinational corporations and 4,000 domestic and foreign enterprises gathered at the fair.

This year's fair featured more than 5,000 exhibition booths in the Investment Promotion Pavilion and Industrial Investment Pavilion, covering 120,000 square meters.

More than 30,000 investment projects were showcased to participants, and 3,000 presentations and business matching activities were hosted during this year's CIFIT.

Deals for 1,577 investment projects worth a combined 532.7 billion yuan ($81.0 billion) were signed during the event. The agreements involved 232.0 billion yuan of foreign capital, 60.2 billion yuan of foreign investment and 240.5 billion yuan of regional cooperation.

More than 70 investment forums invited 358 guests from 35 countries and regions to share their investment experiences to over 36,300 people.

This year's CIFIT also seized the development opportunity brought by the BRICS Summit to deepen cooperation among global investors and members of the BRICS bloc.

Famous enterprises from the BRICS countries showcased their advanced technologies and high quality products in the 1,000-square-meter exhibition area.

A host of seminars and events themed on the Belt and Road Initiative took place during the fair. The countries along the "Belt and Road" were invited to display their investment opportunities.

Considered as a key gateway along the "Belt and Road" economic corridors, Georgia was this year's Guest Country of Honor, while another strategically important region, Ningxia, was the Guest Province of Honor.

Nearly 100 large enterprises from Taiwan participated in this year's fair, which helped promote Taiwan's participation in the Belt and Road Initiative.

G20 and BRICS 2017 Xiamen Summit (G20 и Саммит БРИКС 2017 в Сямэне) / Turkey, September, 2017
Keywords: G20, Xiamen_summit, expert_opinion
Author: Vuslat Nur SAHIN

Complex interdependency cannot be ignored even in view of the existence of polarization of countries in global politics. Countries usually have comprehensive and unrelinquishable network relations because they have strong economic and production ties. The global economic power was, until the last quarter of 20th century a monopoly of mostly Western countries. Those countries established some organizations for maintaining the system. Today's G7 organization's original version G6 was the first example of this type organizations and it was founded in 1974. The only one participant from Asia is Japan, a linchpin in the East.

By the end of the 1990s, the changing economic and political balances of the world were not confined to the Western countries as a result of economic relations, influence and means of production. This has led to the fact that the G7 countries can no longer determine the economy's route by themselves. Hence, the G20 organization come into being. The G20, with Turkey in, comprises the world's most advanced 20 market economies, convening 80 percent of the world economy.

The G20 countries, although under a common roof, have formed smaller groupings. The first such grouping continues to be the G7. Then, BRICS countries come together for economic co-operation of developing countries with increasing power in the world economy. BRICS was set up to meet this need exactly at such a time As a representative of growing economies that aim to be an alternative to Western hegemony in terms of economy and capital, the BRICS group succeeded in creating a common policy and position in many areas related to global economy, governance, energy, climate change and international politics. [1]

Although BRICS was set up in 2006, the first meeting was held in 2009 immediately after the global crisis. The name BRICs consisting of Brazil, Russia, India and China; has changed to BRICS with the participation of South Africa in 2012.

This year's BRICS annual 9th annual summit meeting was held in Xiamen with the participation of heads of state of five member states (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) hosted by China. The agenda of the meeting included topics such as terrorism, trade and cooperation. In the area of customs cooperation as well as economic and commercial cooperation, three documents have been signed in the framework of Strategic Cooperation of New Development Bank[2]. Another issue that marked the summit was the terrorist activities in Pakistan that India has held on the agenda during the meeting.

Members of BRICS follow a policy of raising their status against the West. Sometimes conflicts of interest arise within their own ranks. The last of these conflicts is the Doklam border dispute. It is quite clear that the dispute between China and India which signals military and diplomatic rivalry, was solved on a mutual understanding before the Xiamen Summit on 3-5 September. This is an example of conflict of interest between the rising powers in general[3]. The efforts of both states to increase their status in the changing international system after competing attitudes and hegemony to the West and to spread the fields of international activities create necessitated both equilibrium and cooperation. Despite the arguments that the Xiamen Summit will pass in the shadow of the Doklam border dispute, the fact that the dispute is closely solved according to the principle of 'win-win' that both countries will accept. This co-operation represented by BRICS and institutional politics holding in front of their dual conflicts. This proves that BRICS is an institution with direct political influence in addition to its economic cooperation effect.

Egypt participated the summit at the invitation of China. This can be interpreted as BRICS giving a chance to invest in Egypt, relying on economic reform programs in Egypt. Economist Khaled al-Shafei interprets Egypt as a summit participant such a turning-back that Egypt has an international political and economic role. In addition, the Egyptian delegation had the opportunity to hold bilateral talks with leaders of BRICS countries during the summit. This also allows Egypt to invite member states to Egypt as investors[4]. Egypt is one of the countries where no one can deny the power of the region despite all the controversy about Egypt and the political atmosphere after the Arab Spring. The invitation of Egypt to BRICS by China may also be interpreted as a kind of face saving. Another interesting development is the fact that before the summit, according to some Russian news agencies Iran would be invited, yet there was no official invitation to Iran. But this did not prevent the five powerful economies from making a common statement about Iran's nuclear work. BRICS countries have made statements about Iran for the development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes[5].

As Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek stated in April 2017, close ties with BRICS are under consideration for economic reasons. New Development Bank was stablished in 2014 by BRICS and operating in 2015, has officially announced that it will provide financing for the projects. A prerequisite for benefiting from the fund of the bank is to become a member state of the bank[6]. Turkey is a member of MIKTA (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia). MIKTA is a co-operation platform established in 2013[7]. The reason for the establishment of MIKTA is not being alone among the economies grouped together under the G20 umbrella.

BRICS countries have very important position in terms of world politics, especially considering their population. The population of member countries corresponds to 40 percent of the world population. These countries have power in the regional and global scale in terms of their economic activities and their production. Turkey develops relations with BRICS member countries not only for economic reasons, but also taking into account the new political atmosphere in the world. Besides developments in Turkey-Russia relations, China and India are also important countries for Turkish foreign policy. The warm and close relations that Turkey has recently developed with the Shanghai Economic Cooperation Organization can be evaluated in this context. When it is considered from the global context, it has become a motivation source to become a member of international organizations, to move away from political loneliness, to increase security and to strengthen economic cooperation as well as share from international capital.

[1] Jones, Stephanie. BRICS and beyond: executive lessons on emerging markets. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2012

[2]"India's participation in BRICS Summit 2017: Highlights from the event - BRICS summit." The Economic Times. September 05, 2017. Accessed September 21, 2017.

[3] "Goa'dan Xiamen'e BRICS'de rekabet, ortaklık ve kriz." Anadolu Ajansı. Accessed September 21, 2017.

[4] "What Egypt should benefit from attending BRICS: experts." EgyptToday. Accessed September 21, 2017.

[5] "PressTV." PressTV. Accessed September 21, 2017.

[6] Sputnik. "Şimşek: Türkiye, BRICS'in kurduğu yatırım bankasına üye olabilir." Sputnik Türkiye. April 27, 2017. Accessed September 21, 2017.

[7] "자동등록방지를 위해 보안절차를 거치고 있습니다." Accessed September 21, 2017.

Can the BRICS New Development Bank Pose a Challenge to the World Bank? (Может ли НБР стать вызовом для Всемирного банка?) / United Kingdom, September, 2017
Keywords: NDB, World_Bank, expert_opinion
United Kingdom
Author: Stuti Sareen

The first reforms introduced by the World Bank were based on the 'unrestricted neoliberal' ideals of reconstruction and development through the promotion of economic liberalism, privatisation and globalisation- particularly in war-torn countries. The second generation amendments attempted to bring change to the first generation reforms by adopting a more focused approach towards poverty reduction, instructive from its motto 'working for a world free of poverty'.

The Bank's functioning is based on the principles of effective and sustainable outcomes, which it attempts to achieve by empowering, enabling and encouraging the poor to participate in the policies for their development.

But its policies have certain flaws in terms of being more interventionist and less coercive in nature. For example, although the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) includes the importance of national ownership, the actual implementation of policies by the Bank has proven to widen its influence in internal affairs of countries by introducing more conditionalities, and has hence undermined national sovereignty. Its assumption of poverty reduction being the sole cause of hindering economic growth has also been incorrect in cases where social development and social wealth were not included in the cause and effect equation.

The Bank has two main ways of funding – through the subscription of shares with each member country and through investing, financing and operating activities. The Bank has 189 member countries, though the US is the largest source of its funding, being the largest shareholder. Technically, the Bank is accountable to all its shareholders, but the US is the most influential of them all as it controls the maximum number of voting rights, has geographical proximity and a history of presidents chosen by the US President.

Not surprisingly, not all of the demands laid by the US are agreed to by other member countries. According to Catherine Weaver, the US can practice 'power of the purse' by withholding funds in case of noncompliance. But the Bank's dependence on its other members cannot be ignored. This dependence can be portrayed by the Bank's treatment of member countries as 'clients' to whom it lends money and earns a profit. In recent years, middle-income countries like China, Brazil and Russia have turned to other means of funds which prove to be a potential threat to the Bank's demand-side operations.

Need for the BRICS NDB

The rapid emergence of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) can be attributed to Goldman Sachs investments and the fact that these countries managed to survive the great recession and were able to make a place for themselves in the global economy. As of August 2014, BRICS made up for 21.2% of the World GDP but only 11.04% of the IMF's share of voting rights and 13.09% of IRDB's share of voting rights.

The governance and voting rights of these organisations have failed to witness a change with a change in the contributions to world GDP. They are as largely dominated by the US and Europe as they were at the time of their conception in the 1940's. Along with this bureaucratic fact, an increase in scepticism towards the MDGs and criticism of its policy recommendations which have been constructed from a Western point of view are some of the major factors which led to the creation of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) in July 2014.

Features of the BRICS NDB

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) has several attractive characteristics. First, it follows a considerable extent of policy autonomy along with adopting the implications and conditions of the World Bank, the Washington Consensus in particular, by editing certain policies and making them suitable for their respective domestic contexts and hence coming up with a hybridity of sorts.

One of such adoptions can be seen in the critical role played by states in developmental policymaking. Second, the NDB is a source of investment for the developing countries from non-Bretton Woods institutions. Third, if institutions like the BRICS NDB become more influential, they will be a counterbalance to Western international development institutions and may foster the long-sought balance between the North and South. Fourth, a distinct characteristic of the working of the Bank is the provision of its initial subscription in equal shares (20%) by the five member countries, although the vital role of China is displayed by the establishment of the Bank's first headquarters in Shanghai.

If one compares the World Bank's current role in the global market and access to the international capital market (considering its extremely efficient financial management system), the New Development Bank cannot yet seriously challenge it. However, it has the upper hand when it comes to the state-owned banks of its members, especially China.

According to an estimation by Stephany Griffith Jones, the Bank's lending is expected to rise to $34bn annually in 20 years. The Bank aims to gain profit from this lending in order to invest back in BRICS. However,initially keeping its operations liquid would perhaps be more beneficial.

Challenges for the NDB

Apart from a less developed financial management system, the NDB has a large number of potential challenges – the major one being the establishment of proper transparency and independence from political influence and corruption. This is especially imperative, considering its members are countries which rank between 67 and 136 on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.

Secondly, due to volatile international capital flows, these countries will likely not be able to contribute in preventing crises at the global level and especially in developing countries (in the small and medium term at least.) Third, the ongoing disputes between the BRICS countries, particularly the border tension between India and China, is a potential hindrance to a unified economic relationship. Finally, after the Indian economic crisis of 2013 and the Russian economic crisis of 2014, the foreign reserves of these countries have been strained. But if China implements full currency convertibility and the Yuan becomes a global reserve currency, China would be able to intervene in the global market to stabilise a crisis, which in turn would make NDB one of the main players in the international market.


The dynamics between the World Bank and the BRICS NDB can best be explained by Thomas Freidman's description of globalisation's golden handcuffs. He has described the existence of a powerful reference group which dominates the working order and demands certain rights which begin to be challenged by the formation of other such reference groups. These other groups take the gravitational force created by the first reference group's power away from it, thus initiating a process of power diffusion.

The World Bank can be seen as this dominant reference group which is being challenged by the formation of new groups such as BRICS NDB, which is spreading its influence and proving to be a potential challenge to the established order. In a recent talk on the Global World Order, Dr Nicola Leveringhaus stated that new institutions like the NDB could potentially lead to China's resurgence by making it seem less of a threat and more of a friendly partner.

World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
CityU Hosting the Symposium on "Macau and BRICs: Vision and Challenge" (CityU проводит симпозиум на тему "Макао и БРИКС: Видение и Вызов") / China, September, 2017
Keywords: expert_opinion

When the BRICS cooperation commemorated its 10th anniversary on 11 September, and the ninth meeting held at the Press Conference of the BRICS Xiamen Summit, our university was the first to respond. Leading by the Institute for Research on Portuguese-speaking Countries, Macau "One Belt, One Road" Research Centre, and the Ministry of Education Key Research Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at Universities—Research Centre for Macau Social and Economic Development, we organized the "Macau and BRIC countries: Vision and Challenges" academic symposium, having an in-depth learning and understanding of the "Xiamen Declaration" and the mind-set of President Xi Jinping's address, with quality discussion on how can Macau cooperate with BRIC countries and the challenges facing the future.

Mr. Chen Xin, Deputy Director of the Trade Office of the Economic Affairs Department of the LOCPG in Macao SAR; Mr. Zheng Xinyou, Director of Public Affairs and department of Public Information the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC in Macao SAR; Ms. Zhong Yi, Vice Chairman of Administrative Committee of Macao Foundation Executive; Mr. Yang Chongwei, Director of the Office of Personal Data Protection of the Macao SAR; Prof. Jiang Shixue, Vice President of China Emerging Economic Research Association and China Latin American Society as well as Distinguished Professor of Shanghai University; Mr. Hao Yufan, Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences of Macao University; Mr. Lin Guangzhi, Dean of the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies of Macao University of Science and Technology; Mr. Wang Jianwei, Dean of Department of Government and Public Administration of Umac; Professor He Junzhi of the School of Government of Sun Yat-sen University; Mr. Mai Jianzhi, Chairman of Institute of European Studies of Macau; Ms. Gao Meiyan, Chairman of the Board of Xiamen Friendship General Association of Macao; Mr. Lin Zhenyu, Deputy Chairman of the board of Macao Institute of International Law and International Relations; our school Rector Shu Guang Zhang; Pro Rector and Dean of Institute for Research on Portuguese-speaking Countries Ip Kuai Peng and other experts and scholars attended the meeting.

In his speech, Pro Rector Ip Kuai Peng first introduced the background and achievements of the Xiamen BRIC meeting. He believed that Macau is a hot spot connecting Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and China, especially with South China. Macau is not only an open and inclusive harmonious society, but also a foundation with Chinese culture as the mainstream, multi-cultural coexistence of exchange and cooperation in these four hundred years. Macau constantly engaged in the process of national development, actively cooperate with and participate in the new round of national opening strategy as a duty-bound, historical mission. It is hoped that the participating scholars would gather their ideas and give strategies for the country's foreign policy and Macau's local prosperity and stability.

Professor Jiang Shixue has made an objective analysis on the achievements and challenges faced by the BRIC countries starting "Some Problems in the Study of BRICS" as the topic of his keynote speech. It is not only necessary to see the bold attempts made in the financial sector and the positive role played by the BRIC countries in the international political aspects, but also the problems faced by the BRIC countries in terms of institutionalization and explicit in cooperation. He thought that the special seminar held in November 2009 regarding the business officials to pay attention to the development of the BRICS indicated Macau would be the best place for the permanent secretariat of the BRICS countries. He suggested that the SAR Government should consider setting up a BRIC study fund and a research fund in the Macau and consolidate the academic resources of higher education institutions in Macau, to set up a BRICS Research Center or create a BRICS National Information Center with both academic and business services, thus further consolidate Macau's platform status and function.

Dean Hao Yufan, Dean Wang Jianwei, Dean Lin Guangzhi, Chairman Mai Jianzhi, and Dean of the Institute of Economic Research Qiu Xiaohua had made speeches and comments. It is believed that we should stand in the international strategic pattern to understand the important role played by the BRIC countries in the process of China's rise. Under the current situation of "Deglobalization" of the international community, China attaches importance to multilateral diplomacy and tries to become not only the followers of the international rules but also the participants in it. To create a more favorable environment for their own development, the BRIC countries attempt to build a new international cooperation platform in this context. It is also argued that the BRICS has its historical significance at the beginning of its establishment in 2007, but it is important to redefine the positioning of the BRICS countries, giving the BRIC countries more centralized and specialized functions, thus more conducive to the five countries of its effective cooperation and development.

Some experts pointed out that, while more than 60 cooperation agreements and consensus had been made within this Conference of the BRICS Xiamen Summit, Macau can hit its breakthrough from three aspects. First, deepen the cooperation between Macau and Brazil. Macau is the bridge between China and Brazil in history. Strengthening tourism cooperation can become an important part of future cooperation. Second, strengthen cultural exchanges with the BRIC countries. The state promised that 40,000 training places will be provided in China for the BRIC countries next year. Macau's higher education institutions can play their own advantages, from which to seek suitable opportunities. Third, the marine economy is already a new fulcrum of BRIC cooperation. The 85 square kilometers of Watershed management rights currently owned by the Macau is a possible cutting point to look out for cooperation chances, such as coastal tourism and so on. In short, Macau is not far from the BRIC countries; on the contrary, Macau can facilitate its own preponderance, to go for its rooms for collaboration with the BRIC countries.

Finally, the experts agreed that Macau and BRIC countries are closely linked. With its unique superiority in history and culture, participating in BRIC cooperation turns to be a rare opportunity for Macau. In-depth studies should be carried out, to identify its cutting angle and utilize its own advantages to kick off, strengthening its cooperation thus achieving mutual benefit and win-win situation. In these respects, the Institute for Research on Portuguese-speaking Countries, Macau "One Belt, One Road" Research Centre, and Research Centre for Macau Social and Economic Development of the University can give full exert to their own strengths and features, committed to systematic academic research, graduate education and publication, strive to develop into a foothold and distinctive regional institution in Macau, to pursuit for excellence and high-quality, to carry on the expectations and exhortations of the state, the government, the community and the University, hence becoming the regional characteristics research and training base and think tank platform.
India Scores Lowest Among BRICS on Health Sustainable Development Goal Index (Индия получила самые низкие оценки среди БРИКС по индексу развития устойчивого развития здравоохранения) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: healthcare, social_issues, research, SDG
Author: Swagata Yadavar

With a score of 38.6 out of 100, India's performance on health-related Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) Index is the worst among BRICS nations.

SDGs are universal targets including ending poverty, hunger and inequality, improving access to health and education among others for all countries by 2030.

Created by the international research collaboration Global Burden of Disease, the SDG index calculates the performance of countries on 37 health-related targets of SDGs including under-five mortality, neonatal mortality rate, alcohol consumption, rate of tuberculosis and access to sanitation.

BRICS is a group of five countries which share similar economic conditions. Brazil scored the highest (62.5), followed by China (60.6), Russia (54.2) and South Africa (43.2).

Of the 37 SDG targets, India's score on Hepatitis B cases (10.5/100), deaths attributed to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene practices (10.9), levels of fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (11.4) and prevalence of those under 18 who had experienced sexual violence (13.6) was poor.

The SDGs have set a target to reduce neonatal mortality rate to 12 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030. India reported a rate of 28 in 2013–worse than the 2016 global average of 17, as IndiaSpend reported in September 2017. On under-five mortality, the SDGs have set a target of under 25 deaths per 1,000 live births. India under-five mortality (50) is much worse than the global average of 38.

Globally, Singapore scored the highest (87), followed by Iceland and Sweden (86). The lowest scoring nations were Afghanistan, Central Republic of Africa and Brunei (11).

Most countries could achieve health-related targets for under-five mortality, neonatal mortality, maternal mortality and malaria. However, less than 5% countries could reach SDGs such as road injury mortality, tuberculosis and childhood overweight, and violence indicators such as intimate partner violence and suicide mortality, the study noted.

Source: Health-related SDGs, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)
Comprehensive reports, BRICS research materials
China, Russia support UNSC aspirations of India, Brazil, SA (Китай и Россия поддерживают стремления ООН в Индии, Бразилии, ЮАР) / India, September, 2017
Keywords: UNGA72, high_level_meeting

In a meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York, BRICS Foreign Ministers said they will seek to gather global support for reforming the world body.

BRICS nations have stressed on the "need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative", said a joint statement.

Britain, France, Russia, China and the US are veto-wielding members of the UNSC.

BRICS members, India, South Africa and Brazil have bid for permanent membership of the UNSC.
The BRICS statement on Thursday said the UNSC must "increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges".

"China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to the status and role of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN," the statement added.

The UNSC, which has powers to authorize military action, impose sanctions and set up peacekeeping operations, has 10 rotating members. The US, China, Russia, France and Britain are permanent members which wield a veto.

With more than 80 per cent of issues taken up by the Security Council relating to African affairs and not a single permanent member from Africa, the UN has battled with issues of legitimacy and representativeness.

The 54-nation African continent has a representation of only three non-permanent members without veto power in the UNSC.
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