Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 4.2018
2018.01.22— 2018.01.28
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017 (Основные внешнеполитические итоги 2017 года) / Russia, January, 2018
Keywords: mofa, Xi_Jinping, Russia_China, political_issues

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.

1. Special attention was reserved for maintaining stability and developing integration processes within the Commonwealth of Independent States. Russia's CIS presidency in 2017 contributed to further strengthening economic, law enforcement, cultural and other forms of cooperation between our countries, as well as foreign policy coordination. Significant achievements of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)include completing work on the Customs Code, approving the roadmap of actions to promote integration, and adopting an action plan to implement a coordinated transport policy of the member states for 2018−2020. Completing talks with Beijing on an agreement on trade and economic cooperation was an important stage in the process of harmonising the EAEU and the Silk Road Economic Belt, which is part of China's One Belt One Road initiative.

2. The truly allied nature of relations between Russia and Belarus was reinforced by the joint strategic exercises of the two countries' armed forces, Zapad (West) 2017, in September. Relations with other allies under the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, such as Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, have been developing dynamically. The adoption by heads of member states of the Declaration on the 25th Anniversary of the Collective Security Treaty and the 15th Anniversary of the Organisation in November was the main political outcome of CSTO activities.

Our ties with Uzbekistan have become noticeably more active. The signing of the bilateral Treaty on Strategic Partnership opened a new page in our traditionally close relations with Turkmenistan. The draft Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea was finally agreed during a December meeting of foreign ministers of the Caspian States with an eye to signing it during the Big Five summit in Kazakhstan in 2018.

3. Russia pursued a constructive policy in efforts to settle the intra-Ukrainian conflict by way of implementing the Minsk Agreements. In September, the President of Russia proposed deploying a UN mission in that region in order to protect OSCE SMM observers. In December, Russia facilitated a prisoner exchange between Ukraine, the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic.

4. On the European track, active political contacts were maintained with Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Cyprus, Finland, the Czech Republic, and Serbia. Russia reinforced its leading role in promoting international Arctic cooperation, having held the 4th Arctic: Territory of Dialogue forum in March in Arkhangelsk.

The upturn in high-level and top-level political dialogue and sectoral cooperation was a positive outcome in our cooperation with the European Union. There were no opportunities to constructively develop contacts with the North Atlantic Alliance, which pursues a confrontational policy with regard to Russia. The OSCE platform was actively used to assert Russia's view of a wide range of pan-European problems. Russia participated in the work of the Council of Europe's bodies. Russia supported the efforts of its representatives in the CoE Parliamentary Assembly to restore this body to a healthy mode of operation without any discrimination.

5. Russia's active involvement in the affairs of Syria contributed to the elimination of the main forces of the Islamic State terrorist group in that country and the formation of prerequisites for a political settlement of this conflict under UN auspices. In conjunction with Iran and Turkey, Russia acted as the guarantor of the ceasefire agreements between the government forces and the armed opposition, and worked out the parameters for holding the Syrian National Dialogue Congress with the participation of a wide range of representatives of the Syrian people.

6. Our bilateral relations with other states of the Middle and Near East, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, received a major boost. In a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on April 7, Russia reaffirmed its commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, recognising West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in this case.

7. With a proactive role played by Russia, India and Pakistan have become members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. In order to intensify the search for ways to achieve an Afghan settlement, Russia initiated the resumption of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group's activities and held a meeting of the group in October. In February and April, consultations on Afghan issues were held in the Moscow format in an effort to facilitate the process of national reconciliation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

8. Two visits by President Putin to China (the May meeting as part of the Belt and Road initiative and the September BRICS Summit) and the visit by President Xi Jinping to Russia in July reflected the positive dynamics of Russian-Chinese relations that are characterised by comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation.

Advancing a joint initiative for the peaceful settlement of the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula was one example of the strengthened mutual understanding between Moscow and Beijing on international security issues.

Dialogue and cooperation with Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines advanced at a good pace.

9. Relations with most countries of the Western Hemisphere retained their traditionally constructive quality. There were summits with Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela and Uruguay.

Contacts were established with the new US administration. Personal meetings between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump took place on the sidelines of the July G20 summit in Hamburg, as well as during the APEC forum in Danang. Interaction with Washington on the bilateral agenda and the resolution of pressing international issues was carried out to the extent that coincided with Russia's national interests.

10. Russia met its commitments in the sphere of supporting WMD nonproliferation regimes. The process of liquidating Russia's stockpiles of chemical weapons has been completed. Support for full implementation by all parties of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to resolve the situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear programme has remained a policy of principle.

11. In the context of work to preserve the historical truth about World War II, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in his speech at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, put forward an initiative to create an international legal framework against the destruction of memorial heritage.

12. Russia hosted major international forums, such as the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students (October), the 137th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (October), the 21st St Petersburg International Economic Forum (June), the Eastern Economic Forum (September), the 6th Moscow Conference on International Security (April), and the 8th International Meeting of High Representatives for Security Issues (May).

The FIFA Confederations Cup (June−July 2017) in Russia was the prologue to the FIFA World Cup. This major international sporting event will be held in our country in 2018.
Opportunities abound for deeper relations (Возможности для более глубоких отношений) / China, January, 2018
Keywords: top_level_meeting, quotation, China_SA
Author: Yan Dongjie

As China and South Africa celebrate friendship, officials hail possibility for further engagement

The expansion and deepening of political, business and people-to-people relations between South Africa and China has been warmly welcomed and means enormous opportunities for growth and development for both sides, says South Africa's ambassador to China.

"Our relations have continued to grow from strength to strength, blossoming at all levels, from trade and investment to education, science and research, arts and culture, media and journalism and close political ties,"said Ambassador Dolana Msimang at a celebration in Beijing on Jan 18 to mark the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Africa and China.

The celebration, hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in China and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, was attended by dignitaries, diplomats, government officials and business leaders.

"Our solid ties not only provide a platform for continuing diplomatic engagement with one of our most important trade partners, but are also the key to broader engagement between our two countries, strengthening relations on every front," Msimang said.

China will host the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit this year. In 2015, the summit was held in Johannesburg and co-chaired by President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma.

Xi, in his congratulatory message to Zuma on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries on Jan 1, said China-South Africa relations have seen comprehensive and in-depth development through cooperation. The relationship between China and South Africa was upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2010.

In his congratulatory message to Xi, Zuma expressed his hope to further reinforce the ties.

South Africa has the largest Chinese community in Africa, since immigration in the 1870s gold and diamond rushes, with significant settlement since the end of apartheid in 1994, when the Chinese population rose from an estimated 300,000 to 400,000, according to the South African embassy in Beijing.

"I'm happy to say the Chinese South African community is actively contributing to the local economy," says Tshepiso Malele, acting head of China for Brand South Africa, the government agency that manages South Africa's nation-brand reputation, adding that China's support was integral to South Africa joining the BRICS bloc of major emerging economies.

China has become one of South Africa's core tourism markets, with visitor numbers growing by 38 percent in 2016 to nearly 117,144. Chinese visitor spending is projected to reach $100 million this year, making the country a major contributor to the tourism industry, which supports one in 10 jobs in South Africa, according to the embassy.

"This unique, warm relationship is underlined by the fact that China is now our largest trade partner, while South Africa is one of China's major import sources and fourth-largest investment destination," Malele says.
What marked beginning of 2018 in Indo-China relations? (Что ознаменовало начало 2018 года в индокитайских отношениях?) / Bangladesh, January, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, China_India
Author: Vladimir Terekhov

THE fundamental influence of Sino-Indian relations, which are constantly under surveillance of NEO, can hardly be doubted, not only on the situation in Indo-Pacific Regions, but also in the world as a whole.

A month earlier, it was difficult to disagree with the opinion of the experts that 2017 was marked as a worst (over many years) state in these relations. Due to the conflict on the Doklam plateau in the Himalayas, the situation almost resulted in a direct military confrontation between the two Asian giants. Moreover, conducting a regularly scheduled summit of BRICS members was on the verge of failure.

However, on the eve of the New Year, the same experts expressed discreet optimism on the future of the Sino-India relations in 2018. Alas, but international politics has nothing in common with the Christmas tales, and the pattern of the first few weeks of the New Year affirms it.

On January 15, commenting on the same confrontation fact on the Doklam plateau, director of the department of South Asia in Shanghai Academy of International Studies (one of the most reputed Chinese think tanks) Zhao Gancheng said that this conflict 'has damaged the mutual trust and confidence in the both diplomacy and defence as well'.

In the article with remarkable title 'China should prepare for more India border clashes' of the mentioned expert it is mentioned that 'some high-ranking Indian officials showing hostility and consider China as a major threat' to India.

Furthermore, in the text of the article, the nameless 'officials' indicates to Indian army General Bipin Rawat, who has indeed made a number of strong statements regarding Sino-Indian relations in general as well as the situation on the border separating the two countries since his appointment to the current position at the end of 2016.

While often appearing in the Indian media news, General Bipin Rawat broadly manifested himself as a significant public politician. Thus, on January 12, he expressed his concerns over the imminent threats of the use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. Furthermore, he also emphasised, 'China is a powerful nation, but we are not weak either'.

In the same Global Times, the rhetoric of the supreme commander of Indian army were described as 'hawkish' and contrary to the spirit of the agreements reached between the leaders of the People's Republic of China and India during the BRICS summit which was held at the beginning of September 2017 in China's Xiamen Island.

However, Chinese experts questioned the relevance of the reality of the statements made by the Indian senior officer about the power of Indian army.

Nonetheless, China has drawn attention to the message of leading Indian newspapers about the plans of the ministry of internal affairs to raise an additional 15 battalions, primarily, the border security forces. Of them, 9 battalions will join the forces controlling Indo-Chinese border near Tibet (Indo-Tibetan border police). The other six battalions will be directed to the border with Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Particularly alarming is the situation in the so-called 'Line of Control' (LoC), separating the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan. In 2017, there was sharp increase (compared to 2016) in the number of different armed incidents in the LoC. This negative tendency continued in the beginning of 2018. There have already been several cross-border shootings and during one of them, soldiers and officers were killed from both sides.

Recalling last year, General Bipin Rawat united a situation evolving on the border of India with China and Pakistan in one problem, underlining the need for Indian army to be ready to wage war on two fronts.'

It is necessary to mention that the entangled complex of relationship between the two Asian giants is not of course limited to dangerous incidents in the border areas, which we may include in the Indo-Pakistan LoC as well.

However, these incidents, as well as the general issues of military- political rivalry between China and India come to the forefront when it comes to the main tendencies in the development of the situation in the Indo-Pacific Regions which is alarming.

Ultimately, one cannot ignore the question, what all the above stated could mean for Russia. To find the answer, the article 'Unsentimental ties: India and Russia must focus on realistic cooperation managing the inevitable differences' is worth paying attention to.

Its author, C Raja Mohan is an editor of foreign policy of a popular newspaper 'Indian Express', the head of the Indian branch of the Carnegie Centre, a teacher of many (including foreign) universities which means he is a highly qualified and reputed expert. Therefore, his article deserves not narration, but perusal.

Here, we shall confine ourselves to the expression of agreement with its major points that are adequately summarised in the title. Just a few concomitant remarks concerning the Russian foreign policy in the region:

First of all, it is necessary to get rid of any traces of illusions (if they still exist) of the beginning of the last decade about the probability to create something similar to the triple alliance of 'Russia-China- India' of anti-American orientation.

Secondly, in order to look for the causes of the problems (as the fundamental plan appears to be) in the relations between the two major foreign partners of the Russian Federation, there is no necessity for 'proliferation of essences' by attracting factors of 'foreign ('American') intrigues'. It is quite enough having own, i.e. 'internal reasons' accumulated in tandem 'China and India'. Of course to be precise, not a single international conflict situation bypasses without the presence of foreign 'well-wishers'.
Thirdly, it is difficult to hold a debate on the topic of optimal policies regarding the extremely complex bonding of 'China and India' lacking the clear objectives of internal and external aspects of the functioning of the Russian state itself.

New Eastern Outlook, January 25. Vladimir Terekhov, a expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, writes exclusively for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook.

BRICS hope Zuma will step down before the grouping's 10th summit (БРИКС надеется, что Зума уйдет в отставку перед 10-м саммитом группы) / Brazil, January, 2018
Keywords: SA_chairmanship, Jacob_Zuma, political_issues, quotation, global_governance
Author: Oliver Stuenkel

"The wheels of change are moving now and they are going to start speeding up. It is an imperative that we rid ourselves of corruption," South African Deputy President and newly minted ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa recently said in an interview with Bloomberg Television at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "Now we have a clear path to a better future for South Africa", referring to the much-expected end of President Jacob Zuma's scandalous time in office, which saw the decline of what was once Africa's leading nation. How long South Africans will have to wait remains unclear. When asked whether Zuma should step down before the end of his term, Ramaphosa merely responded that "we are managing the transition."

South Africans are not the only ones hoping to see the back of Zuma as soon as possible. Policy makers in Brazil, Russia, India and China, while careful not to upset the South African president, are worried that continued domestic trouble in Pretoria will undermine the country's capacity to play a constructive role as it takes over the temporary BRICS presidency this year. Indeed, Zuma is now so discredited both at home and abroad that his presence would negatively affect the role of the host nation, which involves organizing countless interministerial meetings ahead of the presidential summit. That is far more than diplomatic routine: while all decisions in the BRICS grouping are taken by unanimously, it is up to the host nation to suggest key issues to be discussed over the course of the year. Simply put, the other BRICS members expect South Africa to articulate concrete ideas and proposals vis-à-vis the future of the BRICS grouping, which is now a pillar of each member country's foreign policy. That is particularly important given the need to 'declutter' the intra-BRICS cooperation: rather than organizing more than one hundred meetings in each BRICS presidency (as was the case in 2016 and 2017), fewer, more focused engagement would help make the grouping's contributions more tangible and measurable.

That is why the BRICS grouping would benefit enormously if the host of the 10th BRICS Summit, to be held this year in Johannesburg, would be Cyril Ramaphosa (which would require Jacob Zuma to step down or be ousted first). While expectations in Zuma's likely successor both at home and abroad are probably exaggerated, he will almost certainly not be as bad as President Zuma, allowing South Africa to reemerge as a relevant international actor and promote a constructive debate about the future of BRICS.

The next two years offer a window of opportunity for the BRICS grouping. Last year, the Chinese government organized a dazzling meeting in Xiamen and implicitly integrated the BRICS grouping into an increasingly sinocentric global system. It is now common for Chinese diplomats to mention the complementary nature of BRICS and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), yet it remains unclear to the other BRICS members what exactly that means. A dynamic and focussed summit in 2018 (hosted by Ramaphosa) and another in 2019 in Brazil (hosted by a freshly minted President) would show that the BRICS grouping does not depend on Chinese ideas and economic growth alone, and that South Africa and Brazil have overcome their respective economic difficulties and are ready to actively promote the debate about the grouping's future.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Why is the Caribbean not a BRICS-M nation? (Почему Карибы не являются странами БРИКС-М?) / Antigua and Barbuda, January, 2018
Keywords: rating, expert_opinion, economic_challenges, investments
Antigua and Barbuda
Author: Damien Richardson

The cruise industry makes half of its $40 billion in the Caribbean, Digicel makes over $3.5 billion off of its Caribbean pan America investments, the Caribbean airline industry share is about 7% (+/-$50 billion) of $720 billion, and the banking industry, the oil industry – refineries, Caribbean international resort chain partners is an average $45 billion industry, rum, alcohol beverages, and beverage business, agricultural and natural resource export products – bananas, citrus, rice, flower, coffee, salt, cocoa, etc. etc., educational product – students who go off to study and an estimated sixty to eighty percent never come back. And finally in looking at the GDP of the major BRICS nations will also give us an indication of what it takes to be within the top echelon of global leaders – Brazil GDP-1.796 trillion USD (2016), Russia- 1.283 trillion USD (2016), India-2.264 trillion USD (2016), China-11.2 trillion USD (2016), South Africa-294.8 billion USD (2016).

Starting a discussion on the subject of the Caribbean becoming an independent nation of islands brings a subject up that has been on the minds of the region and the world for many years. The main question that everyone wants an answer to is why has the Caribbean not united as yet or what is causing the Caribbean to continue to stagnate and never fulfill a clearly observed and obvious fact.

Multinationals, developed nations, international investment agencies, professionals, retirees, and migrating persons and families are all very active within the Caribbean region for many years now. Another very serious statistic is the fact that a large percentage of Caribbean citizens leave the Caribbean to further their studies in multiple developed nations and never return – the brain drain syndrome. And finally essential to consider is the fact that many have voiced that there is no convincing regional vision that exists that can show a path forward giving the Caribbean nations and international partners a clear perspective as to its future intentions.

What is the way forward? Should the Caribbean consider the path of the global giants by considering appealing to the criteria that is needed to become a BRICS nation by becoming a developing or newly industrialized country, which must have large, fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional and global affairs and must be a member of the G-20. Or should the Caribbean nation of islands go with its natural mega regional multi leveled social, cultural, environmental, and economic dynamic. Another path that can be traveled is for the Caribbean to continue the way it has been going and simply go with what ever wind of change the world comes up with, like the chaff that fades away, and allow those inventions, projections, developments etc. to come and pass through our Caribbean showers, what ever sticks – sticks – and or what ever does not work disappears and is never to be seen again.

Using this moment to recount the many failed and successful initiatives that have passed through and are still active in the Caribbean is not the intention of this article, but what is essential is that we recognize that condition and agree or disagree as to what we as a Caribbean nation of islands want to do going forward.

Like giants casting their proverbial shadow, so are the many and multiple agents of multinationals, global development entities and organizations that are standing on the parameter of the Caribbean mega region. Some questions come to mind. What does the Caribbean need to do to encourage strategic island and regional growth, regional innovation and entrepreneurship? What will it take to have leaders of the nations of the Caribbean sit together and explore the opportunities that they can exploit by being a united region? And finally when will the Caribbean nation of islands hoist its flag of Identity to the world, by no longer adhering to the many miss representations and philosophical distractions of the Caribbean's true social and cultural belonging? Without a solid foundation to start from the Caribbean, as a whole, will be continually a loosed region or nation – a nation divided cannot stand. It is time for the Caribbean nation of island leaders to assemble and define their corporate foundation so that the coming generations of great Caribbean leaders, PHD recipients, innovators, entrepreneurs, and Pulitzer Prize winners will know why and what they are building.
BRICS: Economists Raise their 2018 GDP Growth Projections (БРИКС: Экономисты повышают прогнозы роста ВВП в 2018 году) / South Africa, January, 2018
Keywords: rating, economic_challenges, emerging_market
South Africa

Economic growth forecasts for 2018 have been ratcheted higher as data exceeds expectations with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) the latest central bank to raise its 2018 GDP growth projection.

The SARB raised its GDP growth forecast for 2017 to 0.9% from 0.7%, for 2018 to 1.4% from 1.2% and for 2019 to 1.6% from 1.5%.

The news that China's GDP growth in 2017 was 6.9% as opposed to the government target of 6.5% and the January 2017 international Monetary Fund (IMF) projection of 6.5% is merely the latest in a sequence of economic data releases that has seen economists play catch-up with economic reality.

China is also not the only BRICS member county to see economic data exceed expectations.

Brazil has surprised by how robust its economy has performed despite the ongoing corruption allegations and the stalled political reform agenda. Russia has exceeded expectations both in terms of growth and low inflation, while India has started to recover from the high-denomination rupee withdrawal of November 2016. South Africa has recently seen accelerating growth after a slow first half.

The IMF in January 2017 forecast that Brazil would only grow by 0.2% in 2017. Full year figures have not yet been published, but the Brazilian economy expanded by 1.4% y/y in the third quarter of 2017, following a 0.4% y/y gain in the second quarter and better than the consensus forecast of 1.3%. It is the fastest growth rate since the first quarter of 2014, boosted by a jump in household consumption spending and exports.

The IMF in January 2017 forecast that Russia would only grow by 1.1% in 2017. Full year figures have not yet been published, but the Russian economy expanded by 1.8% y/y in the third quarter of 2017, following a 2.5% y/y gain in the second quarter and better than the consensus forecast of 1.6%. The economy was boosted by a jump in household consumption spending and exports on the expenditure side and by farming and manufacturing on the production side. Agriculture advanced by 3.8% y/y in the third quarter after a small 0.1% y/y rise in the second quarter.

The export performance was particularly robust as the oil price recovered from the January 2016 lows. That meant Russia's trade surplus widened by 28.4% y/y to US$ 11.52 billion in November , which was above market expectations of a US$ 11 billion surplus. In the first eleven months of 2017, the trade surplus widened sharply to US$101.63 billion from US$ 78.5 billion in the same period of 2016.

The IMF in January 2017 forecast that India would grow by 7.2% in 2017, but full year growth in 2017 is unlikely to exceed 6.5% as the structural reforms have had a larger than expected impact. Full year figures have not yet been published, but the Indian economy expanded by 6.3% y/y in the third quarter of 2017, following a 5.7% y/y gain in the second quarter, which was the lowest growth rate in nearly three years. A rebound in investment and inventories offset a slowdown in both private and public spending.

Fourth quarter growth should exceed expectations as the November 2016 disruption falls out of the comparison period. India's industrial production surged by 8.4% y/y in November 2017 easily beating market expectations of 4.4%. It was the steepest increase in industrial production since June 2016, boosted by strong growth in manufacturing, which soared by 10.2% y/y.

The IMF in January 2017 forecast that South Africa would grow by 0.8% in 2017. Full year figures have not yet been published, but the South Africa economy expanded by 1.3% y/y in the third quarter of 2017, following a 0.9% y/y gain in the second quarter. The third quarter growth was the fastest since the first quarter 2015 and was boosted by exports and household consumption expenditure.

Fourth quarter growth is likely to exceed 2% y/y as South African bulk export volumes rose by 4.9% in 2017 to a new record of 171.3 million tons, while real retail sales surged by 8.2% y/y in November for the highest y/y growth rate since June 2012.

The higher than expected growth in 2017 therefore sets up these BRICS economies for an even higher growth rate in 2018.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
ZWSOFT Joins I'ntl Alliance of Skills Development for Belt & Road, BRICS Countries (ZWSOFT присоединяется к международному альянсу развития навыков для ОПОП и стран БРИКС) / China, January, 2018
Keywords: concluded_agreements

GUANGZHOU, China, Jan 23, 2018 - ZWCAD Software Co., Ltd. (ZWSOFT), a world-renowned and reliable CAD/CAM solutions provider, has been appointed a member of International Alliance of Skills Development for Belt & Road (IASDBR) and BRICS Countries and will contribute CAD/CAM technologies to them.

Together with representatives from BRICS and Belt & Road countries as well as professionals and talents from all walks of life, ZWSOFT participated in the signing ceremony and obtained a membership certificate.

"It's a great honor for ZWSOFT to join the IASDBR. As the only Chinese enterprise which owns full intellectual property rights for both 2D and 3D CAD/CAM software, ZWSOFT will continuously develop ZW3D & ZWCAD and provide trainings that suit the Belt and Road strategic layout," said Truman Du, CEO of ZWSOFT.

Success is Not Incidental

IASDBR was established to promote the education, skills and training among Belt & Road and BRICS countries.

Having satisfied the needs of 2D and 3D CAD/CAM designers and engineers for two decades with its powerful and easy-to-use ZW3D, ZWSOFT is deeply expected to cultivate international high-tech professionals and increase the local employment for international enterprises.

Empowered by unique Solid-Surface Hybrid Modelingtechnology and various design tools, ZW3D can unleash designers' 3D design ideas which provides them more creativeness and opportunities. In addition, ZWSOFT's professional technical team is always providing effective and timely assistance. All of these are helpful for vocational skill development, engineering capability training and intelligent technology innovation, so ZWSOFT was selected as an IASDBR member.

A Bright and Promising Prospect

Through IASDBR, ZWSOFT is planning to build and improve an international organization and international exchange platform for technical exchanges, standard coordination, skills training and certification among Belt & Road and BRICS countries.

With the support from Chinese Government, ZWSOFT can not only push forward infrastructure construction at home and abroad but also advance the process of global industrializationthrough its persistent and unremitting efforts.

For more details, click here, visit ZWSOFT Facebook, or YouTube.


ZWCAD Software Co., Ltd. is an international CAD software provider through its network of over 300 partners in 80+ countries and regions. Its product ZWCAD is used by CAD designers across the AEC and MCAD industries. For more information, visit
BRICS Designers Discuss Innovation and Sustainable Development in HNU (Дизайнеры BRICS обсуждают инновации и устойчивое развитие в HNU) / China, January, 2018
Keywords: sustainable_development, innovations

The first "Design BRICS" International Symposium was held in the HNU School of Design on January 15 and 16, 2018. More than 50 prestigious designers from seven countries and regions attended, and discussed the innovative design and sustainable development in the BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The lecturers at the symposium included Russian Designers Association Chairman Vitaly Stavitsky, Brazilian Federal University of Paraná Department of Design Prof. Aguinaldo dos Santos, Brazilian Federal University of Pernambuco Department of Design Prof. Leonardo Castillo, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Department of Design Prof. Ravi MoKashi, South African Cape Peninsula University of Technology Prof. Mugendi K. M'Rithaa, and HNU School of Design Prof. He Renke.

The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (Norway), Aalto University (Finland), Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Taiwan Shih Chien University, and HNU experts exchanged views at the symposium.

The participators introduced the design history, development, education, and practice in their respective countries. When it comes to the common challenges and long-term cooperative mechanism faced by the BRICS countries, the designers discussed on climate and environmental crisis, gap between the rich and the poor, regional development imbalance, and cultural inheritance and renaissance. They proposed ways for these countries in design innovation and sustainable development, and reached a BRICS Design Declaration.

After the symposium, there will be a LeNS (The Learning Network on Sustainability) course on design for sustainability which aims to promote economic and social sustainable development in the undeveloped areas. The experts will visit Hunan's main targeted poverty alleviation region Huaihua, to collaborate with the local government in term of poverty alleviation, sustainable development, and social innovation.
BRICS Economic Research Award 2018 (Премия по экономическим исследованиям БРИКС 2018) / India, January, 2018
Keywords: economic_challenges, trade_relations, rating

Exim Bank of India announces BRICS Economic Research Award, 2018. The award promotes and encourages research on trade related areas concerning the BRICS countries.

Exim Bank is the nominated member development bank under the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism, along with other nominated member development banks from member nations of BRICS namely Banco Nacional de DesenvolvimentoEconomico e Social (BNDES), Brazil; State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank), Russia; China Development Bank Corporation (CDB), China, and Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), South Africa. Exim Bank is also a signatory to the multilateral cooperation agreement signed among the member development banks of member nations of BRICS. In the context of India's Chairmanship of the BRICS Forum during 2016, and under Exim Bank's Presidency of the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism, Exim Bank instituted the BRICS Economic Research Award in March 2016. The BRICS Economic Research Award represents Exim Bank's on-going efforts at promoting research in the area of international economics, trade & development and related financing.

The Award The objective of the Award is to stimulate and encourage advanced doctoral research on Economics and related topics of contemporary relevance to the member nations of BRICS. The Award comprises prize money of Indian Rupees 1.5 million (approximately USD 23,000) sponsored by Exim Bank, a medal and a citation. Doctoral thesis of nationals of any of the five member nations of BRICS, i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, who have been awarded a Doctorate or who have submitted thesis for a Doctorate from any recognized nationally accredited University or academic institution globally, are eligible to participate and receive the Award.

Entry for BRICS Award 2018 The Award accepts as entries, doctoral thesis written by nationals of any of the five member nations of BRICS, who have been awarded a doctorate or accepted for award of a doctorate from any University or academic institution globally, during the period January 2013 to March 2018. The broad focus of the eligible theses could be International Economics, Trade, Development, and related aspects of Financing, which may also have particular relevance especially to BRICS nations/ member development banks of BRICS.
Global talent competitiveness ranking improves, but India 'laggard' among BRICS group (Рейтинг мировой конкурентоспособности талантов улучшается, но Индия отстает от группы БРИКС) / India, January, 2018
Keywords: rating, social_issues

India's ranking was the worst among the five BRICS countries in 2017 as well when China was ranked 54th, Russian Federation was placed at 56th, followed by South Africa (67) and Brazil (81)

Davos India has moved up on a global index of talent competitiveness to the 81st position, but remains a laggard among the BRICS nations, an annual study showed here on Monday. A note of warning was also sounded: the country faces "serious risk of worsening brain drain".

While Switzerland continues to top the list released every year on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting here, India has improved its position from 92nd last year. India was at the 89th place in 2016 on the index that measures how countries grow, attract and retain talent.

India's ranking was the worst among the five BRICS countries in 2017 as well when China was ranked 54th, Russian Federation was placed at 56th, followed by South Africa (67) and Brazil (81).

China has moved up to 43rd now, Russia to 53rd, South Africa to 63rd and Brazil to 73rd position.

As per the study released by Adecco, Insead and Tata Communications, the developed, high-income countries are still the global talent champions while Zurich, Stockholm and Oslo take the top spots in the cities' ranking.

Among the countries, Switzerland is followed by Singapore and the US. European countries dominate the top ranks, with 15 out of the top 25 places.

The report said that although in recent years we have witnessed a cooling off in the growth of emerging markets, the BRICS cannot be ignored in the global talent race and it is China (43rd) that leads the pack.

"India (81st) is the laggard of this group. Formal Education (67th) and Lifelong Learning (37th) are keeping pace -- and thus the pool of Global Knowledge Skills (63rd) is solid compared with other emerging markets.

"Where the country has plenty of room for improvement in minimising brain drain while achieving a brain gain by luring back some of its talented diaspora members (it ranks 98th in the Attract pillar) and in retaining its own talent (99th in Retain) -- particularly in the context of high emigration rates of high-skilled people (India is at serious risk of worsening its brain drain despite the connection with the diasporas working in the information technology sector)," the report said.
Cancer is costing BRICS economies billions each year (Страны БРИКС ежегодно тратят миллиарды на борьбу с раком) / United Kingdom, January, 2018
Keywords: social_issues, expert_opinion, rating
United Kingdom
Author: Alison Pearce

Premature – and potentially avoidable – death from cancer is costing tens of billions of dollars in lost productivity in a group of key developing economies.

Over two-thirds of the world's cancer deaths occur in economically developing countries, but the societal costs of the disease have rarely been assessed in these settings.

In a paper published today in the Journal of Cancer Epidemiology we show that the total cost of lost productivity because of premature cancer mortality for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – known as BRICS – was USD$46.3 billion in 2012. (This was the most recent year for which cancer data was available for all these countries.)

The BRICS countries are a diverse group of nations but were originally grouped together because they were rising emerging economies. Currently the five countries combined comprise over 40% of the world's population and 25% of global gross domestic product.

South Africa has the highest cost per cancer death (USD$101,000) compared with the other BRICS countries. Its cost is five times that of India, which had the lowest cost per death. Given the size of China's population it has the largest overall loss (USD$28 billion).

Our research found that liver and lung cancers had the largest impact on total lost productivity across the BRICS countries due to their high incidence. In South Africa, there are high productivity losses per death due to a form of cancer – Kaposi sarcoma – that people with AIDS are particularly vulnerable to. This highlights the extent of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Tobacco and infection-related cancers (such as liver, cervical, stomach cancers and Kaposi sarcoma) were major contributors to productivity losses across all five countries. Many of these are amenable to prevention, early detection or treatment. But most developing countries don't have such programmes.

Our research underscores the fact that policies encouraging lifestyle changes which reduce the risk of cancer could have positive effects on the BRICS countries' economies. Combining tobacco control, vaccination programmes and cancer screening with access to adequate treatment could yield significant gains for both public health as well as economic performance.

Calculating the cost

Beyond the public health impact, cancer also imposes economic costs on individuals and society. These costs include lost productivity caused by society losing the contribution of an individual to the economy because they died prematurely from cancer.

Valuing this lost production gives policy and decision makers an additional perspective when identifying priorities for cancer prevention and control. Locally tailored strategies could reduce the economic burden of cancer.

We used cancer statistics compiled by the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer to get the number of cancer deaths in 2012 for each country. We then estimated the number of additional years each person could have been productive (up until average retirement age), had they not died of cancer. Finally, we used national workforce data, such as the unemployment rate and average wages, to value the years of lost productivity.

The economic impact of cancer in countries can obviously differ for a range of reasons. These include variations in demography, exposure to cancer risk factors and economic environments. This means each country will have its own unique patterns of productivity loss.

In South Africa the five cancers resulting in the greatest productivity loss were lung cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, Kaposi sarcoma and oesophageal cancer. Lung and cervical cancer had a particularly large economic impact.

In Brazil, lung cancer resulted in the greatest productivity losses. Rapidly growing rates of obesity in Brazil were also a contributory factor.

Both liver and head and neck cancers contributed to the high number of deaths in Russia. In India, lip and oral cancers dominated lost productivity. The lost productivity costs per leukaemia death were also relatively high. This could be because the advanced, multi-modality treatments required are not available or are difficult to access.

In China productivity lost due to cancer was USD$26 billion in 2012, more than all the other BRICS countries combined. Two-thirds of the costs were in urban areas (66%), considerably more than the proportion of people who reside in urban areas (52%).

Workforce and productivity are key resources in ensuring sustained economic growth, particularly in developing countries such as the five we studied. Understanding the local priorities for cancer prevention and control can play a big part in the economic health of these countries.
Comprehensive reports, BRICS research materials
Economic and Financial Performance of the BRIC Countries and Relevant Enlightenments to China (No.175, 2017) (Экономические и финансовые результаты стран БРИК и соответствующее просвещение Китая (№ 175, 2017)) / China, January, 2018
Keywords: research, economic_challenges
Author: Chen Ning, Research Institute of Finance, DRC

Abstract: Recently, the economic growth of the BRIC countries except China has slowed down with increased pressure imposed by currency devaluation and potential risks in the financial market. Accordingly these countries have adopted an easy monetary policy. There are both external and internal reasons for their policy adjustment. Externally, the factors include the anti-globalization and trade protectionism drive against the landscape of the global economic downturn performance, the shift of the monetary policy of the developed economies and the change of geopolitics. Internally, the reasons are due to the incomplete adjustment of economic structure, the weak manufacturing industry, the deficits in fiscal and current account, the heavy foreign debts and domestic political turmoil. In the near future, these countries will still face pressure resulting from capital outflow and currency devaluation as well as the aggravated economic downturn and inflation. As a result, they will continue to implement the easy monetary policy. In the long run, since these countries enjoy a solid basis of national strength, through reforming and optimizing their economic structure, further cooperation will ensure them a long-term development and a stabilized market performance. China needs to stick to the goal of long-term reform, give full play to its distinctive advantages, attach importance to personnel cultivation and enhance the mutually beneficial cooperation among the BRIC countries.
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