Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 55.2018
2018.01.08— 2018.01.14
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
The Kieno Kammies Show: Brics Russia - Radioactive pollution scandal. (Авторская программа Киено Каммиса: БРИКС Россия - скандал с радиоактивным загрязнением) / South Africa, January, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, ecology
South Africa

Dr Sara Pienaar Expert on Russia, Former National Director at SA
Institute for International Affairs

1) Presidential elections update.
2) Russia and India.
The Kieno Kammies Show: BRICS report – China (Авторская программа Киено Каммиса: Отчет БРИКС - Китай) / South Africa, January, 2018
Keywords: research, expert_opinion
South Africa

Guest: Dr Martyn Davies () Managing Director of Emerging Markets & Africa at Deloitte

Host: Pippa Hudson, The Kieno Karmies Show

Topic: BRICS report – China
S. Africa marks 20 years of diplomatic relations with China (ЮАР отмечает 20 лет дипломатических отношений с Китаем) / China, January, 2018
Keywords: quotation, rating, China_SA

CAPE TOWN - The South African government on Monday celebrated 20 years of diplomatic relations with China, pledging to explore more opportunities for win-win cooperation between the two countries.

President Jacob Zuma took the opportunity to express his hope to further reinforce the well-established relations.

More opportunities remain to be tapped to create win-win cooperation for both countries, the president said.

"The government and the people of the Republic of South Africa join me in conveying to the government and people of the People's Republic of China our warmest greetings," Zuma said.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) also issued a statement to mark the occasion.

"Over the past 20 years, the two countries achieved a significant number of bilateral cooperation agreements in areas including trade, investment, economic and people-to-people relations," DIRCO spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in the statement.

South Africa and China established diplomatic ties on January 1, 1998.

In the previous two decades, the two countries have assumed increased strategic significance, starting with a Partnership in 2000, to a Strategic Partnership in 2004 and ultimately to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) in 2010 when the two sides signed the Beijing Declaration, Monyela said.

He said the year of 2017 saw South Africa and China strengthening friendship through the inaugural of South Africa-China High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism which took place in Pretoria, South Africa in April.

Also last year, South Africa advanced the China-Africa partnership by continuing to co-chair the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and working towards the implementation of the outcomes of the 2015 FOCAC Johannesburg Summit, while China successfully hosted the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, said Monyela.

South Africa is scheduled to host the 10th BRICS Summit in 2018.

With bilateral trade continuing to grow, China has been South Africa's biggest trade partner for eight years running.

According to the latest official figures provided by the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, bilateral trade volume stood at $35.3 billion in 2016, with China exporting goods worth $12.8 billion, and importing goods worth $22.5 billion.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
India is 30th on World Economic Forum manufacturing index (Индия занимает 30-е место по индексу производства, представленного Мировым экономическим форумом) / India, January, 2018
Keywords: economic_challenges, emerging_market, rating

Geneva: The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Sunday ranked India at the 30th position on a global manufacturing index, five places below China, but higher than the other BRICS members Brazil, Russia and South Africa.

Releasing its Global Manufacturing Index here on Sunday, WEF said Japan topped the rankings in its "Readiness for the future of production report" on the basis of developing the best structure of production.

Japan is followed by South Korea, Germany, Switzerland, China, Czech Republic, the US, Sweden, Austria and Ireland in the top 10.

While China figures among the WEF`s "leading countries", India has been placed in the "Legacy" group along with Hungary, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, Thailand and Turkey, among others, and Brazil as well as South Africa are among the "nascent" ones.

The report notes that the 25 countries placed in the "leading" category were in the best position to gain as production systems stand on the brink of exponential change.

Regarding India, which had a total manufacturing value of over $420 billion in 2016, the report said that its manufacturing sector has grown by over 7 per cent per annum on average in the past three decades and accounts for 16-20 per cent of India`s GDP.

"Home to the second-largest population in the world and one of the fastest growing economies, the demand for Indian manufactured products is rising. India has room for improvement across the drivers of production, except for demand environment where it ranks in the top 5," the WEF said.

The report also referred to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government`s Make in India programme to turn the country into a manufacturing hub, and the move towards a more connected economy with the announcement of infrastructure investment of $59 billion in 2017.

Modi is slated to address the inaugural plenary session of the WEF at Davos on January 23, marking the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the prestigious global business meet since 1997. He is to be followed by an impressive array of Indian ministers who will take part in various group sessions.

According to observers, Modi`s first visit to WEF is an opportunity to interact with foreign investors following the implementation of the major structural reform of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), as well as the demonetisation measure of November 2016.
Financial crisis over, World Bank says, but risks remain (Финансовый кризис закончился, отмечает Всемирный банк, но риски остаются) / India, January, 2018
Keywords: rating, economic_challenges, emerging_market

In what is a further testament to the strength and durability of emerging markets, the World Bank on Wednesday said that the projected global economic growth of 3.1 per cent in 2018 will largely be driven by these economies.

In its first report of the year, the World Bank said global growth is up from 3 to 3.1 per cent for the first time in nearly a decade, and that in the emerging markets alone the forecast for 2018 is 4.5 per cent.

It pointed to renewed global optimism for the first time since the financial crisis of 2008 and said that 2017 produced better-than-expected growth margins in key economies.

It said much of this was due to central banks in these countries and economic zones become less accommodative in policy-making.

China and India, both key BRICS members, continue to lead the world in economic growth with a 2018 forecast of 6.4 and 7.3 per cent, respectively.

China's economic growth is expected to cool to 6.3 per cent in 2019, while India's is believed to reach 7.5 in that year.

The is welcome news to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had been severely criticized for his demonitization campaign in fall 2016 as a principal reason for the economy lagging.

In the Eurozone, GDP growth for 2018 is forecast at 2.1 per cent, slightly lower than America's 2.2 per cent for the same year.

African economies are also forecast to expand their growth. Egypt, for example, is forecast to grow from 4.2 per cent in 2017 to 4.5 per cent in 2018.

Chad, where anti-ISIL and anti-AlQaeda campaigns seem to be stabilizing the country, is expected to emerge from 2.7 per cent contraction in 2017 to 2.9 per cent GDP growth this year.

In Latin America, BRICS member Brazil is expected to double its GDP growth from 1 to 2 per cent in 2018.

Russia holds steady at 1.7 per cent growth this year, while South Africa will see a slight nudge to 1.1 per cent growth.
New Development Bank and Santander Brazil Sign Memorandum on Strategic Cooperation (НБР и Сантандер Бразилия подписали меморандум о стратегическом сотрудничестве) / China, January, 2018
Keywords: concluded_agreements, economic_challenges, ndb, sustainable_development

Shanghai and São Paulo – The New Development Bank (NDB) and Santander Brazil signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Cooperation to promote collaboration and joint provision of financial services between the two institutions. The Memorandum marks the first strategic cooperation agreement between NDB and a private bank in Brazil.

According to the Memorandum, NDB and Santander Brazil will explore collaboration in a range of areas and services including granting of credit lines, financing for infrastructure and sustainable development projects and provision of banking services such as bond issuance, foreign exchange and derivative operations and transfer of securities.

The agreement also promotes knowledge sharing between the two institutions, including training and development of staff, temporary assignments, secondments and staff exchange initiatives.

Sergio Suchodolski, Director General of Strategy & Partnerships at NDB, stated that, "cooperation between Santander Brazil and NDB will be an important driver for financing infrastructure and sustainable development in Brazil. The Memorandum signed today provides a solid basis for joint efforts between our institutions and serves as a starting point for a fruitful relationship with potential to spur financing for new projects in Brazil. Since last year, our technical teams have been analyzing projects together with Santander Brazil, and we look forward to continuing this work as NDB expands its operations in Brazil in 2018. In particular, we look forward to working with Santander Brazil to support projects in our core areas of operation, including water resource management and sanitation, transportation and connectivity, clean energy, sustainable urban development and economic integration."

Rafael Noya, Director of Corporate Investment Banking for Santander Brazil, affirmed, "Santander Brazil is delighted to formalize our cooperation with NDB. We look forward to exploring the business and strategic opportunities provisioned by the agreement with full interest and commitment. NDB is a young multilateral institution that carries a significant geopolitical as well as economic relevance for the global economy. As the international bank with the largest presence in Brazil, Santander Brazil is well placed to deepen engagement with NDB in the country."

About the New Development Bank (NDB)

NDB was founded by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in July 2014 during the sixth BRICS summit in Fortaleza. The Bank is mandated to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries. Headquartered in Shanghai, China, the institution began operating in 2015 with initial authorized capital of USD 100 billion. NDB plans to open its regional office in Brazil in 2018.

About Santander Brazil

Active in the Brazilian market since 1982, Santander Brazil is one of the largest banks in the national financial system and the only international institution with retail scale. The Bank has close to 37 million customers, approximately 46,000 employees and a network of more than 3,400 branches and service stations. It operates in Brazil on two main fronts: the commercial bank, which gathers retail activities, such as personal care and small and medium-sized enterprises, and wholesale, focused on large companies and operations in the capital market. The Bank is part of the Santander Group, the main financial conglomerate of the Euro Zone, with a strong presence in Latin America.
Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Narendra Modi Expected in South Africa (Нарендра Моди ожидается в ЮАР) / India, January, 2018
Keywords: top_level_meeting, Narendra_Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's travel schedule for the new year has already been drawn up and is set to visit South Africa yet again.

PM Modi is likely to travel to South Africa for the BRICS Summit thereafter he heads to Argentina for the G-20 Summit; Singapore for India-Asean & East Asia summits.

The 2018 BRICS summit is next the tenth annual BRICS summit, an international relations conference attended by the heads of state or heads of government of the five member states Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The summit will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, the second time the South Africa has hosted the summit after the 2013 summit.
Ministry of External Affairs outreach getting lost in translation (МИД Индии испытывает трудности с переводом) / India, January, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, mofa, social_issues

An extreme deficiency of translators, interpreters and foreign language experts in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is seriously hindering its diplomatic outreach. It has been found that the Interpreter cadre of the Ministry is limited to just 33 personnel covering seven languages. In addition, the linguistic base of India's diplomats is limited to five UN languages and only 35 per cent of officers posted abroad serve in their respective language zones. As India takes centre stage in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), it lack an interpreter to translate Brazilian, Russian and Chinese into proficient Hindi. Two years ago, it was left to a Russian diplomat to interpret Modi's meeting with Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Olegovich Rogozin.

As many as 200 Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers are not equipped with any of the foreign language.

Over the years, MEA has increased Chinese language experts. Taking cue from such experience, it told the Parliamentary Standing Committee recently that it was planning a robust programme to impart foreign language training to IFS officers.

There are currently 76 Chinese language-speaking officers. This is the fifth largest group after Arabic (100), Russian (94), French (86) and Spanish (81).

To make up the deficiency of interpreters, the Ministry has often used its officials as interpreters. The parliamentary panel took exception to this practice, saying it compromises the actual performance of officers as well as the job of interpretation. "Therefore, the Committee strongly recommends that the interpreter's cadre in the Ministry should be strengthened significantly and simultaneously invest in their capacity building programme," it stated.

Even though the MEA imparts foreign language training to Officer Trainees (OT) and their confirmation in service depends on passing the compulsory Foreign Language examination, the linguistic base is largely limited to the five UN languages. The panel has pointed out that there was enough anecdotal evidence in a variety of countries where Indian diplomats are unable to appear on television discussions for want of expertise in local language.

Not only foreign language, there is shortage to ably translate even from a foreign language like English into Hindi and vice-verse as both the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and various other ministers on foreign trips have started delivering speeches in Hindi. Many times, the Lok Sabha secretariat has to lend their interpreters. The problem becomes acuter when the Lok Sabha secretariat cannot lend interpreters when a foreign visit falls during a Parliament session.

Made on