Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 15.2018
2018.04.09— 2018.04.15
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
I Love the Smell of Imperial Meltdown in the Morning (Я люблю запах имперского кризиса поутру) / Ireland, April, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion
Author: Aidan O'Brien

Gore Vidal preferred chaos to order. According to his wisdom centrifugal forces create gaps and spaces in which freedom can fornicate.

As things stand that's probably the best we can hope for. Indeed we might as well embrace what's happening all around us. Because the Anglo-American gang that filled the last 200 years with liberal imperialism is losing the mendacious plot. The grand illusion is falling apart.

The grand chessboard isn't in the best of shape either. The Anglo-American game plan to dominate Euro-Asia is being ripped apart by the Euro-Asians. The grandfather of ISIS – Zbigniew Brzezinski – must be rolling in his grave. According to him geopolitics is all about hegemony. And that's something no one possesses at the moment – least of all the Anglo-Americans.

The consequence is that there's space for an Assad and an Ali Khameini in the Middle East; for a Kim Jong-un and a Xi Jinping in the East. And for a Putin everywhere. And in Latin America there's room for a Maduro. And a Castro is still there.

And the chaotic spaces aren't disappearing. As Steve Bannon said recently – in the context of North Korea but which can be applied generally: there is no military solution. And he may as well have added that there isn't an economic solution. There's not even an ideological solution.

A few years ago the Anglo-Americans would've invaded and carpet bombed the chaotic spaces without a second thought. And only yesterday the use of proxies was the tactic. Russia though has unilaterally thrown a spanner into the workings of all this naked Anglo-American aggression.

The net result is that the UN Security Council will no longer back anymore "humanitarian wars". And the use of "Islamic fundamentalism" has been check mated. All the Anglo-Americans can do now is nuke the world or shut up.

A few years ago the Anglo-Americans could have also used economics to eliminate or control the chaotic spaces. Sanctions, shock therapy and structural adjustment policies were their alternative WMD. But even these bombs from Bretton Woods are now of limited or no value. Why? The BRICS. Or in another word – China.

Today the English speaking way is not as omnipotent as before. Back in 1955 the Bandung Conference in Indonesia was an attempt to create a space for chaotic freedom but it hadn't the military or economic power to establish itself. Today is different.

The non-aligned countries that emerged from the Bandung Conference now in the early 21st Century have accumulated and generate enough capital to give substance to their 1955 desire.

And as well as that significant fact is the connection these countries have made to a born again Russia. The latter has dramatically added to whatever military power the non-aligned movement has had in the face of the Anglo-American Empire.

The passing of time has seen the passing away of the Empire's military and economic monopolies. The non-aligned movement plus Russia, the Third World, BRICS or whatever you want to call it has at last a sufficient industrial base upon which to construct a liberating chaos.

Alternative banking systems and alternative trading systems have slowly but surely emerged on top of the National Liberation struggles of the 20th Century – to the detriment of Wall Street and London.

And the anchors of this New World Disorder are proving to be the great Russian and Chinese Revolutions of the last century. The radical independence these world changing events gave to Russia and China was – to say the least – no short term phenomenon.

In the long term the universal values of the Enlightenment have successfully taken root. Despite the cynicism, fatalism and pessimism (the postmodernism) in the Anglo-American sphere – reason has found fertile ground in the lands despised by the original Enlightenment.

Its now the Anglo-Americans (and their European clones and clowns) who rely upon religion, hysteria and lies. Its they who are building great walls. And it is they who want to hide behind protectionism. Liberalism had its chance a long time ago to live up to its ideals but for the love of money it chose to do otherwise.

The extremely influential American planner George F. Kennan best expressed this ideological sellout in 1948 (Memo PPS23) when he officially recommended that the US forget about democracy, living standards and human rights in the world if it wanted to maintain its control of global wealth.

The intention of liberalism was top secret back then but is common knowledge now (outside the mainstream media, that is). It has always been Anglo-America and financial wealth first – Trump makes it crystal clear today. The Anglo-Americans severed their ideological links to the world a long time ago – if they were ever there in the first place.

The unprincipled ruthlessness Kennan demanded and got from Anglo-America was – around 1950 – dressed up in the clothes of freedom. Today however its clothes are nothing but farce.

Uncomfortable laughter, embarrassment and disbelief are the feelings associated with Anglo-America now around the non-NATO world. Its not just Trump, Russia-gate, Bolton, Theresa May, the Skripal poisoning-case and the chemical stories in Syria. Each one more fake than the next. Its the stock market bubble and the military bubble as well. Each one more irrational and ripe for revolution than the other.

And underlining it all and the insurance for us all is the cowardice of the Anglo-Americans. Like school yard bullies they only pick on the weak and defenseless. Or its probably more apt to say that like psychopathic serial killers they only pick on the weak and defenseless.

So the chances of Washington D.C. and London confronting head on the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, North Koreans, Venezuelans and Syrians are slim. Against a well organized defense the Empire is a coward.

The Anglo-Americans can rant and rave as much as they like – the rest of the world will work around them and NATO – like the way we avoid the insane on the street. There are roads, bridges and railways to be built across Euro-Asia and across Africa too. And in Latin America there's still time for Bolivar and Che to build something new.

The Anglo-Americans are very much redundant today. The Empire is empty. Its authority in every way has shrank rapidly in the last two decades. It preaches with blood on its hands. Its lectures are lies. And its precious money is nothing but paper. Its New World Order is in chaos. And the world is better because of it. Finally the free world is emerging.

U.S. Departure From Pax Americana: Paving the Way to a New Chinese Golden Age Under the BRICS Banner? (Вылет из США из Pax Americana: прокладывание пути к новому китайскому золотому веку под знаменем БРИКС?) / USA, April, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion
Author: Marcos Degaut


At a moment when President Donald Trump's "America First" isolationist rhetoric threatens to result in a voluntary self-retreat from an international system which the U.S. helped to shape, potentially reducing its relative political and economic weight, other relevant actors are expected to undertake efforts to fill the international void left by an apparently shrinking superpower. China and Russia are among the usual "suspects" that could profit from the American retrenchment to stake their claims to a greater global role. Likewise, changes unleashed by an eventual American retreat might herald a new era in which the BRICS, under the Chinese leadership, could aspire to become more influential in world affairs, helping to reshape, keep, and promote international institutions, norms and regimes in an increasingly multipolar world. Within that context, China seems to value its BRICS membership due to three main reasons: i) as a geopolitical cover, to disguise its unilateral actions; ii) as another instrument to counterbalance U.S. power; iii) as a platform to advance other Chinese geostrategic interests.


In his classical book Tout Empire Périra, the renowned French historian Jean-Baptiste Duroselle (1981) presents his bold, although controversial, theory of the rise and fall of empires, according to which a nation´s power is the result, among other variables, of the way that state interacts with other actors in the international system. Duroselle argues that, as the sources of domestic power of a nation are not permanent or immutable, and as the nature of the interaction between actors of the international system can suffer dramatic changes, the power of nations tends to erode over time, and its decline becomes irreversible.

Although from a different perspective, Paul Kennedy (1987) resumed that debate in the late 80´s with his blockbuster book, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, which sought to analyze and explain the causes of the relative decline of American power. While alerting to the growing questioning of the United States´ leadership role in the world, in a context of decreasing economic performance and serious geostrategic challenge posed by a rapidly-growing Japan, then the world´s second-largest economy, Kennedy´s work was based on two premises. First, history shows that all great powers in the modern Westphalian international system have experienced the same pattern of emergence, rise, apex of their power, and then relative decline. Second, this general pattern highlighted the fact that no great power has managed to remain the dominant player ad aeternum, and the United States would be no exception to this rule.

Despite the virtues – and flaws – of these two must-read reference books, none of them dealt specifically, and in a concrete way, with possibly impending changes in the hierarchical structure of the international system of states, geostrategic disputes, new opportunities for international insertion, and the observance of international norms and regimes. The analysis of such issues is extremely relevant at a moment when President Donald Trump's "America First" isolationist rhetoric spreads into the national agenda, creates global uncertainties, and threatens to result in a voluntary self-retreat from a liberal international order which the U.S. helped to shape and which enabled that country – and most of the world – to grow and thrive. Such move could potentially reduce the relative political and economic weight of the United States, and gives renewed vigor to the ideas of Duroselle (1981) and Kennedy (1987).

In that context, other relevant actors are expected to undertake efforts to fill the international void left by an apparently shrinking superpower. China and Russia are among the usual "suspects" that could profit from the American retrenchment to stake their claims to a greater protagonist role in world affairs. Such changes in the international system might also herald a new era in which strategic groupings, such as the BRICS, are expected to not only wield greater influence in the global arena, but also to reshape and revamp international institutions, rules, and regimes in order to align them to emerging power realities in a more multipolar world.

More than provide a critical account of the BRICS as an analytical category, this paper seeks to discuss why China values the role of the BRICS, seen as one of the several key mechanisms Beijing can use to push forward its view of a different world order, while crafting a more highlighted global leadership role for itself. In doing that, this article incidentally examines some of its constitutive dimensions, weaknesses and vulnerabilities, with a main focus on the political and economic relations among its members, within the context of current debates on paradigm shifts in the global political economy. The objective is to analyze whether the possibilities of an effective multilateral intra-group cooperation are real and whether this multilateral cooperation could lead to a major change in the world power distribution, or if, on the contrary, the stresses, strains, and contradictions on its structures indicate that the BRICS forum is running out of steam. In such case, the group's collective clout would be more a piece of conceptual wishful thinking than a real game-changer, or, alternatively, an asset used primarily to back up the aspirations and interests of one of its members.


There is no doubt that acronyms can be a highly valuable instrument of marketing, by creating a powerful abbreviation for something meaningful and establishing a connection with positive associations, giving them meaning, context and value. The problem with thinking in terms of acronyms, however, is that "once one catches on, it tends to lock analysts into a worldview that may soon be outdated" (Degaut 2015), which might be the case with the BRICS.

In other words, the original justification for the creation of the acronym would be related to the extent to which those countries could – in a moment when the emergence of the so-called "rising powers" seemed to captivate all the attentions of the foreign-policy audience – have an impact upon the global economy, which is understandable, considering that the BRICS make up nearly 43% of the world´s population, a fifth of the world´s gross domestic product and 17% of the global trade. Nevertheless, Almeida (2009) notes that "this aggregation of individual volume might make sense in this type of intellectual exercise, in which arithmetic seem to prevail over politics. However, it is unlikely to indicate global economic development trends, as these are caused by technological transformation and capital, scientific and strategic information flows".

Reality is rarely so sunny, however, and the intricacies of foreign affairs are significantly more complex than the rhetoric of changing the global political architecture would have people believe. In spite of the vast resources and capabilities of its members, when individually considered, the BRICS have yet to make significant progress toward building a collective identity or an institutional apparatus after nine summit meetings. With the exception of the creation of the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA), which are tangible accomplishments, the mechanism has failed to give more visibility to its initiatives and to group them together within the framework of a strategic agenda. The next sections will examine some of the association´s still existing deficiencies and the possible reasons why the BRICS should not yet be discarded as a useful collective instrument for pursuing common foreign policy objectives and interests. Such platform has the potential to allow its members to cause a real global power shift – eventually rendering anachronistic old concepts such as North and South, and East and West – and to make them benefit in tandemmore from shifting global power relations and eventual paradigm changes.


A number of variables have been preventing the BRICS from building a more convincing narrative about their role in reshaping global economics and politics. Most analysts have concentrated their criticisms almost exclusively on economic aspects and judged the association by their economic growth (or lack of). The main argument is that the initial hype and euphoria with which the group was initially received, due to their then stratospheric growth rates, would no longer be valid today, in part due to a combination of changing global circumstances, which included the end of the commodity super-cycle, and domestic contingencies.

In fact, GDP growth in Brazil, Russia and South Africa is experiencing a significant downward trend in recent years, as can be seen in Table 1 and Figure 1. Brazil and Russia are still facing a persistent economic slowdown. China´s economic performance remains relatively steady, but it has recorded its lowest growth rate in decades, as the country seeks to implement structural reforms to shift its central growth drivers from foreign demand for exports and investment to domestic consumption. India remains the world's fastest growing economy, advancing 7 percent in 2016. Although that number seems high, it has to be noted that India´s GDP annual growth rate averaged 6.10 percent from 1951 until 2016[1], which is not enough to promote sustainable and largely inclusive development in a country where nearly 33 percent of the population still falls below the international poverty line of US$ 1.25 per day, and nearly 70 percent live on less than US$ 2 per day[2], despite the government´s systematic efforts to overcome that situation. In other words, as China and India are the only BRICS countries currently worth of the title and three out of five BRICS countries are experiencing slow growth or recession in their economies, it seems that there is no reliable indicator, at this moment, to support the thesis that the BRICS tend to become the engine of global growth.

As a recent paper argues, "in the global race for economic success, GDP has come to count more than any other factor, which explains why analysts believe that, by sustaining high rates of GDP growth, the BRICS countries are likely to generate a fundamental power-shift in global governance institutions" (GovInn 2014:3). Measuring the BRICS´ success solely, or mainly, through GDP growth rates, however, is not only unfair, but also mistaken. Likewise, assessing the group´s potential based on apparently shared characteristics such as exposure, at different levels, to corruption, high rates of illiteracy, poverty, regional income and economic inequalities, overexposure to commodities and dependence on commodities exports, dependence on foreign direct investments, institutional weakness, vulnerability to asset bubbles, poor institutional and regulatory quality, and a relatively small opening to the global economy seems equally wrong. After all, since many of these characteristics can usually be attributed to most developing countries, they can be considered neither defining features of the BRICS nor indicators of its capabilities.

Considering that the BRICS want to be seen as a platform for dialogue and cooperation among its members, not only in economic, financial and development domains, but also in the political sphere, the group´s problem, perhaps, lies essentially in the fact that each of the countries has entirely different strategic cultures. This is no irrelevant matter, as the foreign policy goals that are to be pursued by a state, which reflect its identity, interests and priorities, are to a large extent defined by its strategic culture. For the purpose of this study, and at the risk of oversimplifying a complex issue, strategic culture can be understood as a deeply held cultural predisposition for a particular strategic behavior or strategic thinking. In this same line of thought, the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) defines strategic culture as "the combination of internal and external influences and experiences – geographic, historical, cultural, economic, political, and military – that shape and influence the way a country understands its relationship to the rest of the world, and how a state will behave in the international community" (Bitencourt and Vaz 2009:1).

This concept highlights the idea that strategic culture is a product of historical experience. Since these experiences differ across states, "different states have different predominant strategic preferences that are rooted in the early or formative experiences of the state, and are influenced to some degree by the philosophical, political, cultural and cognitive characteristics of the state and its elites" (Johnston 1995:34). The approach helps to explain "what constrains actors from taking certain strategic decisions, seeks to explore causal explanations for regular patterns of state behavior, and attempts to generate generalizations from its conclusions" (Degaut 2017:274).

In other words, what is being advanced here is that, possibly due to their different strategic cultures, the BRICS countries have distinct worldviews, foreign policy priorities and interests, diplomatic practices and preferences, and international insertion models and instruments. In consequence, while they do seek to periodically meet as a group to coordinate their positions, they have yet to undertake greater efforts to surmount those differences and establish a political community united around a common agenda. Their diverse, and oftentimes divergent, interests have rendered them unable to forge a common denominator on important issues such as climate change, human rights and humanitarian intervention, conflicts in the Middle East, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and global economy and trade.

As an illustrative example, while Brazil, India and South Africa have sought to support a progressive agenda in the human rights dimension, China and Russia have methodically opposed it (Laskaris & Kreutz 2015). Likewise, and in line with their historical traditions, Brazil and India have stressed the need to respect sovereignty and ensure the territorial integrity of regions in conflict, which led them to abstain on the 2011 United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi. Those two countries, as well as South Africa, have adopted a rather cautious stance to the civil war in Syria, in contrast to Russian active involvement in the conflict, which "generates new tensions for the coalition´s discourse of sovereignty" (Abdenur 2016:111).

In the same vein, initial talks aimed at establishing a BRICS Defense Council, a forum envisaged to serve as the cornerstone of a future military alliance, have shown certain level of disagreement between those countries regarding security and defense issues. The idea of a military forum is advocated by Russia, which seeks with this initiative to counterbalance American influence in the UN system and, more particularly, NATO's expansion and operations. Chinese policymakers do not rule out the initiative, which might be put into the framework of the strategic competition with the United States. They are still assessing, however, to what extent such defense council might end up undermining its well-established position in the UNSC and its ambition to occupy more prominent roles in the UN system.

India and South Africa, on the other hand, seem to discard the idea, for a number of different reasons. First, an element of regional rivalry cannot be disregarded (Cooper & Farouk 2016). India and China are at odds over a number of vital issues, including terrorism, Beijing's aspirations in the South China Sea, and competition over influence in states as Cambodia, Nepal, Myanmar and neighboring regions, as well as New Delhi's efforts to strengthen its regional position through enhanced relations with the United States and Japan. China's posture on the South and East China Sea distresses not only India but also its ASEAN partners, with which India has sought to keep more cooperative relations. Especially unnerving for New Delhi is China´s strategic alliance with Pakistan. The geopolitical rivalry has led Beijing not to officially endorse India's claim for a U.N Security Council seat. In return, India has persistently blocked the admission of China in the IBSA initiative, a political consultation forum made up by India, Brazil and South Africa.

In its turn, South Africa, which unlike other BRICS countries does not appear to be currently increasing the role and size of its armed forces to highlight its place as a regional power through rearmament, seems to reject the idea, on the grounds that it would probably be pointless and counterproductive, serving only to weaken international law. Brazil neither endorses the proposal directly nor rejects it. On the contrary, the country tends to analyze the issue in the light of its own national interest, and not based on any ideological affinity or collective agenda.

Certainly, some degree of cooperation in military and security affairs is possible and it is actually taking place, particularly in issues like cyber-security, intelligence cooperation, and information exchange. However, three factors make the establishment of a formal defense council, security forum, or military alliance appears less likely in the near future. Firstly, given the fact that the five BRICS countries tend to substantially differ in their defense and security interests, most cooperation is still taking place on a bilateral basis. Secondly, they have still been ambivalent as to how to combine their regional priorities and commitments with their membership in the BRICS. And finally, diplomatic rhetoric aside, it is not possible to identify a single precise threat that could unite those five powers around a security project, apart from counterbalancing the so-called "Western hegemony", a loosely defined term which seems to become increasingly devoid of any practical meaning, as the world gradually becomes more and more multipolar.


For generations, the United States has largely set the terms for the international system, seeking to shape it to reflect not only its own ideals, norms and values – which were to be embraced by democracies –, but also its interests. The liberal world order, based on the rule of law, global economic development, the strengthening of international institutions and regimes, incentives to freer trade, investment promotion and cooperation has had, simultaneously, as its main engineer, backer and beneficiary the United States. Now, at a time when the U.S. is apparently turning inward, and President Trump administration's contentious "America First" foreign policy agenda seems to be redefining the concept of national interest – whose main premise is that international relations are a zero-sum game – questions have arisen about who would possess the attributes needed to potentially fill the vacuum power created if the U.S. eventually abdicates its global leadership role.

President Trump apparently believes that the U.S. is experiencing a sharp decline due to its behavior on the global stage, particular its commitment to alliances, and that the American-led liberal international order has failed his own people. He is urging other countries to assume a greater share of the burden, doing more and paying more, the reason why he is redirecting his agenda to domestic politics and to a narrower set of national interests.

It might not be unreasonable to argue that, to some extent, Trump´s foreign policy is, in its essence, a continuation of Barack Obama´s "leading from behind" philosophy, which implied a virtual abdication of global leadership. Such doctrine, for example, was intensely exploited by Russia and Iran to advance their influence in the Middle East, and to impose their protagonism on the Syrian crisis, to the detriment of American influence and interests.

Likewise, in one of his first formal initiatives, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a project originally initiated by the George W. Bush administration to set high-standard trade rules with Asia-Pacific countries and praised as the largest multilateral trade agreement ever. Apart from economic considerations, the TPP was also designed to counter China's increasing economic influence in the region, a move which was part of the U.S. high-profile "pivot to Asia" strategy.

However, Trump´s measures to overhaul the global regulatory mechanism that America has traditionally championed may have backfired. The U.S. withdrawal from the TPP did not result in the end of the cooperation mechanism, as some expected, as on March 8, 2018, Ministers and Senior Officials representing Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam announced the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade agreement which incorporates most of the TPP provisions. Although member countries still need to complete domestic processes to bring the mechanism into force, other economies, such as the United Kingdom, have shown a remarkable interest in acceding to the Agreement and are currently holding informal discussions on that matter.

Additionally, China – which has already emerged as the leading trade partner of most regional economies – is presently pushing forward a diplomatic initiative that can eventually lead to the establishment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which also involves Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Such initiative can give China the opportunity to set the rules of trade in an area comprising over 60% of the world economy.

Not only that. China, the most powerful BRICS member, seems to be already taking advantage of the apparent American retreat to lay the first bricks of what could be a new era of globalization or even a new, and illiberal, world order. Through the launching of its 'Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an ambitious development project estimated in over US$ 1 trillion, China seeks to spread its influence by boosting trade, providing massive funds for infrastructure building, and stimulating economic growth mainly, but not only, along the centuries-old Silk Road. The BRI, which counts with the Brazilian and Russian support, reflects and values China´s strategic option to strengthen economic and trade ties with the rest of Asia and Africa in order to foment their dependence on Chinese demand and investments. Such initiative, which seeks to leverage China´s economic capabilities into geostrategic power, seems to know no geographic boundaries, as it reaches as far as Europe – particularly on a number of investments and infrastructure projects across Eurasia – and Latin America.

To compound the situation, President Trump´s recent decision (March 2018) to adopt tougher, protectionist trade policies, by imposing steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from a number of important trading partners and by imposing tariffs on US$ 60 billion worth of Chinese imports a year and limiting China´s capacity to invest in the American technology industry has prompted threats of retaliation and boosted fears of a full-blown trade war.

Trump´s protectionist measures – some of which were based on a now rarely used national-security exception to the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules – could eventually trigger a domino effect that might lead to a global recession in the long run, by restraining exports, discouraging investments, and shaking business and consumer confidence. In the short term, however, their main unintended consequences would be to call into question and undermine the very foundations of the liberal order and push a weakened Europe and Latin America closer to China. Rather to "make America great again", such policies could further contribute to shift the economic and strategic global center of gravity to the Indo-Pacific region and speed up the process of making China great again.

As the U.S turns inward, Beijing seems to be well aware of the opportunity to remake the international system according to its interests, in a scenario in which the BRICS platform can be instrumental to its purposes. China indeed seems to value its BRICS membership due to three main reasons: i) as a geopolitical cover, to disguise its unilateral actions, which usually entails greater international costs and risks; ii) as another instrument to counterbalance U.S. power, within the framework of a collective action, arguably contributing to reform and improve the global governance system; iii) as a platform to advance other Chinese geostrategic interests, particularly in the economic and commercial spheres.

One of China´s most emblematic attempts to take on a more assertive role on the global stage took place in March 2017, when Foreign Minister Wang Yi presented the idea of extending the oureach of the BRICS by inviting other developing countries and emerging markets to join the group as associates, under the banner of the BRICS Plus. The idea basically means to establish intensive partnerships with other apparently like-minded countries to turn the cooperation platform more inclusive and impactful. The idea seems to have been welcome, as more than 30 countries send over 400 delegates to take part in the BRICS Political Parties, Think Tank, and Civil Societies Organization Forum and the 9th BRICS Academic Forum, held in the Chinese city of Fuzhou from June 9 to 13, 2017.

Such diplomatic move does not contribute to deepen the group´s internal cohesiveness, but it clearly is a step forward in the process of expanding China's geopolitical clout. By emphasizing an apparent multilateralism and operating within the framework of a collective action mechanism, Beijing can use the BRICS to attenuate perceptions that it is fundamentally seeking to challenge the international status quo, while quietly carving out a greater global role for itself in a new order it is seeking to build. One which, perhaps, is not entirely based on the same liberal values, principles and practices that the world got used to for the past seventy years.

None of those initiatives, however, can hide the fact that the U.S. is still a fundamental country for the stability of the current international order. Its economic, military or political capabilities have not declined significantly in qualitative terms, although its relative power and primacy in global politics seems to be visibly eroding. It is noteworthy, nonetheless, that certain triumphalism present in U.S. foreign policy discourse since the earliest phases of globalization seems to have disappeared, which, combined with a persistent slowdown of economic growth in the U.S. may have worn away America's "will to power".

These circumstances give renewed strength to initiatives towards promoting greater multipolarization of the world, in a context where strategic groupings, such as the BRICS are expected to attain more eminence. In fact, for much of the past decade, the steady rise of the BRICS towards such a preeminent position seemed an apparently irreversible fact. In the light of current economic downturns and diplomatic divergences among the grouping, however, evidence seems to indicate that narratives about such inexorable ascension might be exaggerated. And so are predictions about its inescapable decline.

What must be put in perspective here is that there are a number of misperceptions and misconceptions about the BRICS and its role. Perhaps the easiest way of defining the association is explaining what it is not and why it cannot offer more than it has to give. The BRICS is not an economic or trade bloc. It is not a deep integration process. It is not an alliance, in the classical meaning of the term. The BRICS is a platform for cooperation, one which is struggling through mistakes and successes to reinvent itself and follow innovative paths, so as to build an international environment that is more conducive to the achievement of the interests of its member countries. They do not want to fundamentally upend the table of the global order, but they want a better seat, while seeking to make that table more inclusive.

Although the shifting of global power may not be taking place as quickly as assumed, the current transition will likely prompt the main actors in the global stage to recalibrate their foreign policies and rebuild bilateral and multilateral ties, so as to pursue the stability of the international system and settle down into a pattern of relationships more adequate to an increasingly multipolar world.

In this scenario, the BRICS – looked down on by both the Obama and Trump administrations as a dysfunctional political arrangement – should not be entirely discarded, as it can still come to play a leading role in the global economy and the strategic landscape, despite its structural imbalances. Intragroup cooperation can provide each one of its members with an important platform to employ their collective clout for individual betterment. By acting together, however, that association can make a difference in world politics and global governance, particularly in issues more directly related to the immediate interests of developing countries. From this perspective, the apparent contrast between the potential rise of the BRICS and U.S. isolationist policies should not be seen within the narrow framework of a false dichotomy, but as a subject able to begin reshaping the international debate and painting a more realistic picture of the global distribution of power, especially when one major power such as China seems determined to build a new international order more conducive to its interests and commensurate with its resources, capabilities and appetite for greatness.


There is no doubt that, individually, the BRICS countries have been gaining weight and importance in global affairs and could be not, by any measure, be ignored anymore. Collectively, the association has the potential to be an important political partnership and diplomatic tool, having already championed a significant number of bold initiatives to foster multilateral cooperation and to reform the global governance architecture. Additionally, those initiatives could not only serve to change their relative position in the international order, but also be functional to the advancement of the national projects of its members.

Among these initiatives, the signature of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the NDB and the World Bank deserves attention. Signed in September 2016, the MOU seeks to strengthen their cooperation in addressing global infrastructure needs. But that is not all. The BRICS countries have been most active in the area of global economic governance, which includes the establishment of working groups to strengthen commercial, capital market, and development financial corporation to boost economic growth, to accelerate the internationalization of sovereign currency for a better international monetary system, and to reduce institutional and conceptual barriers to accelerate their technological and financial development (Wen & Ying 2017). Likewise, the establishment of their own rating agency is also being considered.

However, they are also boasting a sprawling set of working groups on a number of other important issues, like the enhancement of the status of the BRICS in the global value chain, which means turning resource-intensive industries and enterprises into labor-intensive, as well as manufacturing activities into high-tech value-added and knowledge-based creative activities. These groups are also undertaking studies on mechanisms to alleviate poverty, promote scientific and technological innovation, develop people-to-people exchanges, encourage cooperation on energy, food security and urbanization, create a University League, and establish a permanent Political Parties Dialogue Forum and a BRICS Travel Card.

These measures, however, are still considered limited in their depth, scope and acceptance, which to some extent reflect the group's relative lack of cohesion, priorities, economic models, and foreign policy interests. Put into a larger framework, these variables are translated into the group´s difficulty to forge a consensus around a platform of collective action, and, consequently, their present incapacity to shape the international agenda

As ideas require coordinated and continuous effort to be translated into reality, and in order to reconcile speech and action, so as to take advantage of an eventual American retreat, the BRICS need to realign its cooperation prospects, an endeavor which depends mostly on five elements. First, political willingness to turn the mechanism into a real priority; second, ability and willingness to overcome and reconcile diverging interests and ambitions; third, ability to identify more areas of common interest that go well beyond what is already object of consensus; fourth, ability and resources to withstand the political and economic costs of countering U.S. power; and lastly, the adoption of more effective initiatives to deepen cooperation and develop strategic intragroup relationships, which means to translate the findings of the working groups into concrete proposals.

Without taking these elements into account, the BRICS will hardly be able to realize its full potential and will continue to be portrayed as a heterogeneous association of competing powers, a mere bargaining coalition or even an alliance of convenience, rather than what might come to be seen as the possible engine of a truly global power shift in the future. Perhaps more importantly, without addressing the asymmetry of power within the group and, more broadly, in global governance, the other BRICS countries might have to eventually agree to be demoted to the role of junior partners in the building of a new, China-led world order, if not serving as mere pawns in a larger global geopolitical game.


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Bitencourt, Luis, and Alcides C. Vaz (2009). Brazilian strategic culture. Finding Reports N. 5, Applied Research Center, Florida International University.

Brütsch, Christian and Mihaela Papa (2013). ´Deconstructing the BRICS: Bargaining coalition, imagined community or geopolitical fad?', Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol. 6, pp. 299-327.

Degaut, Marcos (2017). 'Brazil's military modernization: Is a new strategic culture emerging?' Rising Powers Quarterly, Vol. 2(1), pp. 271-297.

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Duroselle, Jean-Baptiste (1981). Tout empire périraUne vision théorique des relations internationales, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne.

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Kennedy, Paul (1987). The rise and fall of the great powers, New York: Vintage Books.

Laskaris, Stamatis, and Joakim Kreutz (2015). 'Rising powers and the responsibility to protect: will the norm survive in the age of BRICS?, Global Affairs, Vol. 1(2), pp. 149-158.

O´Neill, Jim (2001). Building better global economics BRICs. Global Economics Paper 66, New York: Goldman Sachs.

Wen, Wang and Liu Ying (2017). The engine for new Globalization: Increase BRICS financial cooperation. Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Beijing: Renmin University of China.

[1] Trading Economics, India GDP Annual Growth Rate. Available at [].

[2] World Bank, "Poverty & Equity: India," 2015, see [].
Table 1. BRICS Growth Rate in percent, 2010-2017

  1. World Bank GDP Growth (annual %), [].
  2. Trading Economics, [].
  3. World Bank GDP Growth projection (annual %), [].
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Monale Ratsoma appointed new head of the regional BRICS bank (Монеле Ратсома назначен новым руководителем регионального банка БРИКС) / South Africa, April, 2018
Keywords: ndb, concluded_agreements
South Africa

CAPE TOWN - The head of the BRICS New Development Bank has been appointed by National Treasury.

Monale Ratsoma, the current deputy director general of Treasury's economic policy department will take over as the head of the Bank as of April 16.

"Mr Ratsoma's role will be managing the bank's African regional operations and leading the bank's African efforts in project preparation, project implementation and regional portfolio management," Treasury said on Tuesday.

Former President Jacob Zuma opened the African Regional Centre in Sandton late last year. The bank's main aim is to develop and drive infrastructure investment in the transport and energy sector.

Treasury's Director General Dondo Mogajane has given his support for Ratsoma. Stating that Treasury will give him the support he needs to achieve the bank's vision.

Dr Duncan Pieterse will take over the position of deputy director general of economic policy at Treasury in an acting capacity till the vacancy is filled permanently. Pieterse is currently the chief director of microeconomic policy at Treasury.

In August last year, the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB)confirmed that Dondo Mogajane, Director-General of the National Treasury has been appointed as the new Director to represent South Africa.

This comes after the expiration of Tito Mboweni's term as Director of the NDB in early July.

Mboweni began his term as South Africa's Director at the NDB on 03 July 2015, for a two-year term, which then ended on 02 July 2017.
UNIDO supports e-commerce development in the BRICS (ЮНИДО поддерживает развитие электронной торговли в БРИКС) / Austria, April, 2018
Keywords: digital, trade_relations, unido

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has held an eighth round of consultations with the Permanent Missions of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) at its headquarters in Vienna.

The participants discussed the progress of the UNIDO project; "Promote the development and cooperation of SMEs between China and other BRICS countries through e-commerce development" and the promising initiatives to strengthen alliances for waste-to-energy technologies and innovation, as well as the facilitation of trade and expansion of export opportunities through harmonization of standards and methods within the BRICS countries.

The participants commended the achievements made as part of the e-commerce project, including the preparation of a Joint Study Report on e-commerce development in BRICS, the organization of international consultations and expert group meetings on SME cooperation through e-commerce and technology transfer, which led to the expansion of the project from BRICS to developing countries, cooperation with the Alibaba Group and broadening partnerships with agencies on e-commerce and e-trade activities.

Moreover, the BRICS representatives demonstrated a significant interest in initiatives on waste-to-energy technologies and the harmonization of standards and methods within BRICS countries. It was agreed that by using UNIDO as a systematic cooperation platform for sharing competences among BRICS countries, the initiatives can be quickly and effectively integrated within national networks and projects supporting waste-to-energy technologies, circular economy, standardization and quality infrastructure.

New Development Bank and International Finance Corporation sign agreement aimed at promoting co-financing of projects (Новый банк развития и Международная финансовая корпорация подписали соглашение, направленное на поддержку софинансирования проектов) / China, April, 2018
Keywords: ndb, concluded_agreements, economic_challenges, off_docs, investments

On 10 April 2018, the New Development Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) signed Accession Agreement to Amended and Restated Master Cooperation Agreement between IFC and international financial institutions. The Agreement was signed in Shanghai by Mr. Xian Zhu, NDB Vice President, Chief Operations Officer and Mr. Hans Peter Lankes, IFC Vice President, Economics and Private Sector Development.

Master Cooperation Agreement sets forth a number of guiding principles in order to establish a better understanding of the process and allocation of responsibilities in connection to promoting co-financing through the provisions of debt facilities to borrowers.

Background Information
New Development Bank

The New Development Bank (NDB) is a multilateral development bank established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in 2014. The Bank is mandated to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.

International Finance Corporation

IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

Master Corporation Agreement

The Master Cooperation Agreement was established by IFC in 2009 as a response to the global financial crisis which hit in 2008 and led to the retrenchment of financing by a number of commercial banks from emerging markets. It became clear to the community of development financial institutions (DFIs) that a partnership to work together to fill the void that the commercial banks left would be needed. The MCA was created to foster greater cooperation among DFIs, increase efficiencies and streamline due diligence processes. The MCA was initially signed between IFC, DEG, FMO and Proparco and subsequently acceded to by 26 other DFIs to make a total of 30 currently. The MCA has generally been well received within the DFI community given that it is structured to create efficiencies through standardized documentation and deal processing.

Spotlight: Conference-goers welcome China's further opening-up in Boao (В центре внимания: участники конференции в Боао приветствуют дальнейшее развитие Китая) / China, April, 2018
Keywords: quotation, ndb, top_level_meeting
Author: Tamara Treichel

BOAO, Hainan, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Conference-goers from around the world to attend the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) weighed in with their impressions of this year's forum and welcomed China's promise of a further opening-up.

Leslie Maasdorp, the South African vice president and chief financial officer of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), told Xinhua in an interview on the sidelines of the bustling summit that the forum comes at a very interesting time for China as this year marks the 40th anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up.

"So it's a good moment to pause, reflect, look at what will be the next phase of growth for China," Maasdorp said. "How should it be different? What can we learn from the past 40 years? So it's a very interesting inflection point for China and for the region."

Stephen Groff, vice president of the Asian Development Bank, comes from the United States and is a regular at the Boao Forum. He remarked on China's opening-up at a press conference on the sidelines of the forum.

Groff said an open economy and open trade are critical for sustainable global economic growth and that a further opening-up as mentioned in President Xi Jinping's keynote speech at the forum is a good thing for China's economy.

"What this opening-up does is increasing competition in whatever sectors that are opening up, which ultimately results in more innovation and better products and better services that ultimately benefit consumers at the end of the day," he said.

"And so whether that be in the auto sector which President Xi mentioned or the financial sector or insurance markets, all of this kind of opening-up does result in better outcomes for consumers at the end of the day and more innovation," Groff said.

Alexei Chekunkov, general director of The Far East and Baikal Region Development Fund, was also excited about the prospect of a further opening-up and what this would mean for his native Russia.

"Forty years of reform and opening-up in China have made amazing achievements. In the next 40 years, China will undoubtedly achieve more," Chekunkov told Xinhua.

"We understand that China is going to explore the opening of free trade ports. China and Russia share similar goals in the area. Russia has set up a free trade port in Vladivostok. I very much hope that China's new polices on openness will promote friendly cooperation between the border areas of China and Russia."

John and Doris Naisbitt are a couple who were attending the forum for the first time among other distinguished guests. John, an American, is the author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller "Megatrends" and his wife Doris, who is from Austria, is an observer of global social, economic and political trends and director of the Naisbitt China Institute.

To the Naisbitts, the Boao Forum reflects the shift of economic importance from the West to the emerging nations, with many of these emerging nations being connected by the maritime and land routes of the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Whether it is taking place on small or large scale, to meet, discuss and exchange success and challenges with like-minded people and nations is an important factor on the path to reaching a goal. It is already a great achievement to raise a feeling of community and solidarity, even if it is only on a few matters," the Naisbitts told Xinhua in a joint email interview.

The couple also commented on this year's forum being overshadowed by the threat of a trade war between China and the United States.

"It is a very naive point of view that there is a zero-sum trade game between China and the U.S. Our economies are much too much integrated to hurt just one target without damaging others," especially one's own country. "America first versus China first would end in a loss for most," they said.

However, the Naisbitts remarked favorably on Xi's keynote speech. "It was a speech in very conciliatory tone. It was putting China in the position that used to be claimed by the U.S., to be the champion of globalization," the couple said, adding that China was standing up for dialogue, openness, cooperation and respect among nations.

"The promise of a 'new phase of opening-up,' of making broader commitments to further liberalize China's economy, is well received. But as much as the prospects of creating a more attractive investment environment, of easing restrictions on foreign firms and lowering import tariffs are welcome, of most importance is their implementation," they said.

The BFA is a non-governmental and non-profit international organization that has been holding this annual conference since 2002. This year's theme is "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity," which is a nod to the elements that have helped Asia's economies develop rapidly: openness, innovation and globalization. Enditem

(Xinhua reporters Qiu Xia, Kang Yi and Wang Shang also contributed to the story.)

The Growing BRICS Economies: An INET Series (Растущие страны БРИКС: выпуск INET) / India, April, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, economic_challenges, social_issues, rating
Author: Sanjay Reddy

The BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—play a crucial and growing role in the world economy. Sanjay Reddy kicks off our series exploring shifting social and economic dynamics within these countries, and what they mean for the global economy.

The sources of dynamism in the world economy are changing. More than three quarters of annual growth in global income is accounted for by emerging and developing countries, and more than half is from the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) alone. Since 2008, the five BRICS countries have accounted for fully 56 percent of global growth (and the developed countries for only 22 percent). As a result, these countries also account for a rapidly growing proportion—around one-third, or about the same as the G-7 countries—of global income in purchasing-power adjusted terms. Unsurprisingly, they also account for rapidly growing shares of both global trade and investment. The BRICS share of world trade is now approaching 20%, having nearly tripled over the last twenty years. BRICS imports and exports have continued to grow even in a context of shrinking world import and export totals since 2008. Both businesses and governments increasingly shape their strategies around these new realities, but public understanding of this extraordinary shift, of historical proportions, is lagging. As the once-influential core-periphery conception in global political economy has lost traction, there is increasing opportunity—and necessity—for the BRICS and other emerging and developing countries to play a more active role in shaping the world economy.

In July and August 2017, I led an international group of experts to produce an economic report for the summit of BRICS leaders that took place in Xiamen, China, in September. The report addressed the BRICS contribution to the world economy and to international development. It described the growing economic role of the BRICS and provided projections of how this role will develop further. It noted that more robust BRICS investment, and growth, is likely to raise output in all countries, including in developed countries. The report analyzed the recent and potential BRICS role in reducing global poverty, lowering inter-country inequalities, and contributing to global public goods (such as avoiding climate change) as well as international development goals, recognizing the growing interdependencies among the emerging and developing countries. Further, it made innovative proposals as to how the BRICS might influence the development of the international monetary system, recognizing that the changing structure of the global economy provides enabling conditions for such initiatives to succeed. For instance, the increasing importance of trade among emerging and developing countries provides the opportunity for the BRICS to develop the role of their own currencies or of new monetary instruments to be used in trade settlement among such countries. Such initiatives to generate alternative reserve assets can lessen the constraints faced by emerging and developing countries in general in financing trade and investment.

The report argued for the potential for cooperation among the BRICS in putting forward new initiatives that are in the global public interest. The BRICS' role in furthering the attainment of global development goals and in enhancing the provision of global public goods provide examples. The growing importance of the BRICS is compatible with mutual benefit for all countries, and can be enhanced by joint and intentional efforts to provide such benefits. While the report did not address all issues of importance, such as ecological questions, it recognized that a meaningful approach to global growth and international development must place considerations of sustainability as well as inclusivity at its core.

This entry is the first in a series launched by INET, that provides insights from the leading experts who provided contributions to the report. The contributors will provide their perspectives on such topics as the changing BRICS role in the world economy, the BRICS and poverty and inequality reduction, and the BRICS and global public goods. We anticipate that the insights that this series provides will be of great interest to those who seek to understand our world's changing contours and to examine initiatives that can build upon these to make it better.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
Region deepens educational exchanges (Регион углубляет образовательные обмены) / China, April, 2018
Keywords: social_issues, ecology
Author: Cao Yingying

Henan province is attracting high-quality overseas educational resources and making progress in Sino-foreign cooperative educational programs, according to local officials.

To cultivate professionals with an international perspective, the province is encouraging universities and colleges to cooperate with high-level universities worldwide. Officials said that Henan will integrate with high-level international education institutions to provide communication platforms, and to build research centers and international laboratories.

Last March, Henan University of Chinese Medicine worked with Malaysia's Hai-O Group and Linton University College to set up Zhongjing College, the first foreign branch campus to be located in Henan. The college has launched two undergraduate majors since 2017: Chinese Medicine and Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine.

According to official statistics, there are now 240 Sino-foreign educational institutions and programs in Henan. The partners include some of the world's top 500 universities, such as the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, Miami University in the United States, the University of Wollongong in Australia and Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

In March 2015, Zhengzhou Middle School's Victoria Academy was officially established in Canada's Ontario province, promoting Henan's educational links with the country.

In 2016, Zhengzhou University was enlisted in the Internationalization Model Institute Promotion Project Pilot Unit by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. The university later became a member of a number of international university alliances, such as the Sino-Russian Language and Culture University Alliance, the Sino-Russian Medicine University Alliance and the Sino-Russian Journalism Education University Alliance.

North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power was selected as a representative to cooperate with other BRICS countries in the treatment of water resources, as well as the pollution and energy sectors.

The BRICS countries are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The French Alliance, which promotes French language and culture globally, came to Henan last April, establishing its first cooperation base at Zhengzhou University of Aeronautics.

Henan is also promoting Chinese language and culture worldwide, raising awareness of its central plain culture globally. Universities and middle schools in Henan are working together with other countries to build Confucius Institutes. Current plans cover institutes in three cities and classes in four cities worldwide. In the last five years, Confucius Institutes and classes have helped more than 20,000 trainees to study Chinese language and expand Chinese cultural influence in many regions, according to officials.

A cultural program integrating martial arts, folk music and dance has been to 19 cities in seven countries, including New Zealand, the UK, Sweden and Italy over the course of five years.

A total of 30,000 audience members were treated to performances organized by Henan.

SARS to host BRICS heads of customs authorities (SARS принимает у себя руководителей таможенных органов БРИКС) / South Africa, April, 2018
Keywords: SARS, top_level_meeting
South Africa

PRETORIA, 11 April 2018 - The South African Revenue Service (SARS) will host the Customs Cooperation Meeting, which is a representation of the heads of customs authorities from BRICS member countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa with a view to enhance relations and further improve co-operation and promote development among BRICS member countries.

The heads of customs administrations from BRICS member countries will meet in Durban from 18 to 19 April 2018. This meeting will be preceded by a customs experts meeting at the same venue from 16 to 17 April 2018. SARS will also host the tax experts and the heads of tax administrations in June 2018. These meetings are part of government wide departmental meetings that forms part of the build up to the 10th BRICS Summit which South Africa will host as chair of BRICS in August 2018.

The South African Government has committed itself to using its role as chair of BRICS in 2018 to strategically plan towards the goal of improved co-operation in the next decade.

Government has also committed itself to follow through on the agenda that was set in Xiamen, China in 2017, when China was chair, to ensure maximum synergy and continuity.

This will be the second time that South Africa is hosting the BRICS Summit, after previously hosting the Summit in March 2013.

South Africa's membership of BRICS is a vital element in pursuit of its foreign policy priorities, including the promotion of the African Agenda, sustainable development, global governance reform and cooperation.
BRICS nations join forces to address common problems using advanced computing (Страны БРИКС объединяют усилия для решения общих проблем с использованием передовых вычислений) / Russia, April, 2018
Keywords: digital, BRICS_Working_Group

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) nations will soon launch mega projects in various fields of environment conservation, disaster management, cyber crime, precision medicine, all of which will be handled using advanced computational capabilities.

An announcement to this effect was made during a three-day meet of BRICS representatives in city here last evening.

The second BRICS Working Group (WG) meet, which started Tuesday, saw the representatives deliberating on the effective use of High Performance Computing (HPC) and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in devising smart solutions for the numerous problems the BRICS nations face.

Along with Indian scientists, the meeting saw participation of 20 international delegates from Brazil and Russia.

Representatives from South Africa and China could not attend, said a spokesperson here last evening.

SPIEF 2018 to discuss new areas of cooperation with BRICS (ПМЭФ 2018 обсудит новые направления сотрудничества с БРИКС) / Russia, April, 2018
Keywords: trade_relations, ndb, top_level_meeting, SPIEF

The first day of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Business Programme will host a panel session New Directions For Trade, Economic And Investment Partnerships With The BRICS Countries. Business community representatives will discuss priorities of the Republic of South Africa chairmanship in the association. The session participants will raise issues of digital economy and transport infrastructure development, youth and women's entrepreneurship support, collaboration in lowering administrative barriers and enhancing cooperation with the New Development Bank (NDB).

During the event, the experts will share best practices and discuss new opportunities for implementing joint projects both in the BRICS countries and on the African continent.

Sergey Katyrin, the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation will moderate the session.

"The paramount task for BRICS is to continue strengthening efforts aimed at solving international issues in the spirit of unity, mutual understanding and trust. The prospects for cooperation and joint efforts of the BRICS member states will be discussed at the SPIEF 2018. I am confident that this will give momentum to further development of a fruitful dialogue on key world issues", said Anton Kobyakov, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation.

The discussion will continue at the BRICS business forum, which will take place on 25 July in Johannesburg and will focus on cooperation with developing countries to enhance inclusive growth.

To recap, the BRICS and SCO summits in 2020 will be held in Chelyabinsk, in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No.110 On The Organizational Committee for the Preparation and Presidency of the Russian Federation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2019-2020 and in the BRICS Association in 2020.
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