Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum

Monitoring of the economic, social and labor situation in the BRICS countries
Issue 24.2022
2022.06.13 — 2022.06.19
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
BRICS Wise to Reposition Itself for a More Impactful Role in the Rapidly-Changing World Politics (БРИКС разумно перепозиционировать себя для более влиятельной роли в быстро меняющейся мировой политике) / South Africa, June, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion
South Africa

By Abbey Makoe |

In a recent BRICS meeting comprising foreign affairs/international relations ministers, a plethora of telling resolutions were adopted by the top diplomats representing each of the five member-states in the form of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

BRICS member-states, meeting under the Chairship of China, held their scheduled deliberations under the theme: "Strengthen BRICS Solidarity and Cooperation, Respond to New Features and Challenges in International Situation."

Although the members of BRICS are known for their significant influence on regional affairs, the five major emerging economies have noticeably been rather lukewarm as a bloc in international relations.

Hence the call to "strengthen solidarity and cooperation" and also facing global challenges and concerns as a collective rather than individuals.

At the very inception of BRICS in 2001, and markedly in 2010 when South Africa was added as the last member, it was envisaged that the five member-states will develop to collectively dominate global growth by 2050. Their potential to do so remains alive.

China's economy is currently the second largest in the world – second only to the US, and Beijing has grown to represent a must go-to global force in economic development and world politics.

Another BRICS key member, Russia, continues to demonstrate great resilience in the wake of punitive Western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict. A major gas and oil exporter, Moscow has succeeded in forcing particularly Western countries to buy its oil and gas strictly in the local currency, the rubble – or leave. This has resulted in the EU tweaking its rigid anti-Russia stance, permitting countries to meantime purchase Russian goods and services in accordance with the dictates and demands of the Kremlin.

One of the interesting resolutions was the revelation that BRICS member-states have decided to expand the organisation. This is in the view of increasing its global influence.

Resolution 24 states: "The Ministers supported promoting discussions among BRICS members on BRICS expansion process. They stressed the need to clarify the guiding principles, the standards, criteria, and procedures for this expansion process."

Clearly, the agreement has been reached and what is left is ironing out the modalities. This is great news indeed for BRICS. Although the body possesses a huge potential to impact the course of world politics, its minute size and geographical make-up have often created a spot of bother.

It is a wide decision to identify countries that could add value to BRICS as a vehicle for influencing global relations through its agenda-setting nature and unique make-up.

The BRICS foreign ministers further bound their respective countries to the resolution extending cooperation "to other developing countries and emerging markets". They also supported "further promoting BRICS Outreach and BRICS Plus Cooperation, in line with the updated Terms of Reference adopted by the BRICS Sherpas in 2021 through inclusive and equal-footed and flexible practices and initiatives".

This shows that since the advent of COVID-19, BRICS members have not been resting on their laurels. Hard-work has been taking place behind the scenes and the need to reposition and even to repurpose BRICS is greater.

At the level of the UN General Assembly and indeed in the UN Security Council, it has recently become abundantly clear that the world order in the latter part of the 21st century is gradually becoming unipolar.

The chasm between the well-off Global North and the hustling Global South continues to expose the immoral inequities that invariably condemn the poor to a permanent state of want and their wealthy counterparts to growing arrogance laced with debilitating ignorance.

It is therefore worth noting the BRICS resolution 20, where the ministers agreed "to strengthen cooperation on issues of common interests both within BRICS and in multilateral for a including the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council". The resolution continues: "Taking into account the necessity to promote, protect and fulfil in a non-selective, non-politicised and constructive manner and without double-standards."

Throughout 2022, during China's Chairship of BRICS, the theme guiding all deliberations is as follows: "Foster High-Quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development."

This stance by BRICS is crucial for a number of factors, among others – the global development has evidently been discriminate in form and nature. It has benefitted countries in the Global North at the expense the impoverished nations of the Global South. BRICS members correctly identifies the need to "usher in a new era for global development", where hunger, starvation, and impoverishment would no longer be the exclusive preserve of some and not for others.

This is in line with the BRICS mechanism and founding ethos that are based on promoting peace, security, development, and cooperation. BRICS founding preamble also seeks to contribute significantly "to the development of humanity and establishing a more equitable and fair world".

There were compelling factors at the inception of BRICS in 2001 as to why the organisation concerned itself with a need to bring-about a just world order. For far too long, inequality emanating out of selfish nature and attitude of the haves towards the have-nots has created antagonism and disharmony on a grand scale.

Lately, the powerful nations of West no longer use the UN as a first reference point of the international law. Instead, they have carved for themselves a notion of the so-called "rules-based world order". Mind you, their rules, which they unashamedly forces down the throats of everyone. They do this by waving threats of economic sanctions and military power to achieve their nefarious objectives.

The relegation of the UN to the secondary role in endeavours to resolve the Ukraine conflict is evidence that the powerful nations in organisations such as NATO and the EU have become the determinant factors in international relations. To be caught on their wrong site warrants severe condemnation and punishment, as evidenced by the plight of the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iran, the plundering of the DRC, unending conflict in many parts of Africa with the evident hand of the West – the list is endless.

BRICS need no longer be a body that represent the five emerging powerful economies. It needs to be repositioned to become home for the weary and thirsty nations seeking justice in a world dominated by hyenas and scavenging nations pretending to be good Samaritans.

The 1st Meeting of BRICS Working Group on ICT Cooperation Held (Состоялось 1-е заседание Рабочей группы БРИКС по сотрудничеству в области ИКТ) / China, June, 2022
Keywords: top_level_meeting

The 1st Meeting of BRICS Working Group on ICT cooperation, Digital BRICS Task Force, and BRICS Institute of Future Networks (BIFN) Council took place virtually on 25-27 May 2022. Chaired by the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China, the Meeting was attended by representatives from line ministries and research institutions from BRICS countries.

The Meeting reviewed the progress achieved in BRICS communication cooperation, reached consensus on the Work Plan of Digital BRICS Task Force, and discussed the draft Declaration of the 8th BRICS Communication Ministers Meeting. The Chinese Presidency briefed about major activities for this year, including the Digital BRICS Forum, and BRICS Forum on Future Networks Innovation. BIFN Council was encouraged to have further discussion on its Work Plan, the proposal for a permanent secretariat and other issues.

Representatives commended the Presidency for playing a constructive role, expressed their support for the activities to be held, and agreed to collectively intensify cooperation on ICTs in seizing the opportunities brought by global digitalization.
2022 BRICS Business Council Annual Meeting Held (Состоялось ежегодное заседание Делового совета БРИКС 2022 года) / China, June, 2022
Keywords: business_council, top_level_meeting

On June 8th, the BRICS Business Council Annual Meeting 2022 was successfully held. Mr. Chen Siqing, Chairman of BBC Chinese Chapter and Chairman of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, attended and addressed the meeting. Mr Jackson Schneider, Chairman of BBC Brazilian Chapter and President & CEO of Embraer Defense & Security, Mr. Sergey Katyrin, Chairman of BBC Russian Chapter and President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Mr. Onkar Kanwar, Chairman of BBC Indian Chapter and Chairman & Managing Director of Apollo Tyres Ltd, Ms. Busi Mabuza, Chairperson of BBC South African Chapter and Chairperson of Industrial Development Corporation attended the meeting and delivered speeches. The members of Chinese Chapter, including Mr Wan Min, Chairman of China COSCO SHIPPING Corporation Limited, Mr Lyu Jun, Chairman of COFCO Corporation, Mr Lu Yimin, President of China General Technology (Group) Holding Co., Ltd, Mr Dai Houliang, Chairman of China National Petroleum Corporation, and the members of other 4 Chapters attended the meeting. Mr Huang Yiyang, BRICS Sous-Sherpa of China and Deputy Director General of Department of International Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr Zhang Weiwu, Senior Executive Vice President of Industrial and Commercial Bank of Chinawere present. Around 150 people attended the meeting on site or on-line including the representatives of the working groups of 5 chapters.

Mr. Chen Siqing said, in this year, focusing on the theme of "Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership,Usher in a New Era for Global Development", and giving full play to their professional and resource advantages, the Chinese Chapter joined hands with other related parties to develop cooperation and facilitate the dialogue among the BRICS business communities, so as to boost economic recovery against the odds. First, we, as entrepreneurs, actively participated in the reform of the economic governance system, and raised 39 professional suggestions to the BRICS governments. Second, we made multilateral cooperation and deepen the BRICS economic partnership. Third, acting as the bridge of communication, we organized several seminars, forums and matchmaking activities, so as to address social concerns and promote sustainable development. Next, the BBC will fulfill its responsibility and lead the business communities of the BRICS countries in translating the consensus reached by BRICS Leaders into concrete actions. First, uphold coordinated development, and endeavor to deepen BRICS cooperation; Second, pursue innovation-driven development, and foster new growth drivers; Third, build inclusive partnership, and widen the circle of cooperation partners.

The Chairpersons of each Chapter delivered speeches, speaking highly of the positive and effective work led by Chinese Chapter. All parties expressed the willingness of maintaining close communication and cooperation with the Chinese Chapter and making positive efforts for successful hosting of the 14th BRICS Leaders Summit. All Chapters agreed to deepen BRICS strategic partnership, strengthen multilateral cooperation, build consensus and safeguard the common interests of emerging markets and developing countries. The other four Chapters will continue to support China's work, ensuring success in the second half of the BRICS year of China, and strive for more practical outcomes of BRICS cooperation.

The 5 Chapters jointly reviewed the major work of this year, listened to the report of the 9 Working Groups, namely Agribusiness, Aviation, Deregulation, Digital Economy, Energy and Green Economy, Financial Services, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Skills Development, reviewed the BBC 2022 Annual Report, and released the BRICS 2022 to "Foster High-Quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development": Joint Statement of BRICS Business Council on Working Together to Build a Sustainable Partnership, calling on the BRICS countries to deepen mutual dialogue, developing cooperation, and taking the responsibility to build a closer, more comprehensive, pragmatic, inclusive and mutually beneficial partnership.

Under the witness of BRICS Leaders of States, the BRICS Business Council is established during the 5th BRICS Leaders Summits of 27th March 2013 which is held in Durban, South Africa. It is composed of five prominent entrepreneurs of each BRICS countries, representing various industries and sectors. The Chinese Chapter was formally established in Beijing on May 27th, 2013. BBC is an important mechanism for exchanges and cooperation between the business communities of BRICS countries. It aims at strengthening and promoting economic, trade, business and investment ties among the Business communities of BRICS countries. It will ensure that there is a regular dialogue between the Business communities and the Governments, identify problems and bottlenecks and recommend solutions accordingly to the BRICS Leaders of State.

2022 BRICS Women Business Alliance Annual Meeting Concluded (Завершилось ежегодное собрание Делового альянса женщин БРИКС 2022 года) / China, June, 2022
Keywords: top_level_meeting

On June 14th, the 2022 BRICS Women Business Alliance (BRICS WBA) Annual Meeting was successfully held online. Ms. Zhao Haiying, Chairperson of BRICS WBA, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of China Investment Corporation, hosted and addressed the meeting. Ms. Grazielle Parenti, Chairperson of Brazil Chapter of BRICS WBA and Global VP for Corporate Affairs and Sustainability of BRF, Ms. Lebogang Zulu, Chairperson of South Africa Chapter of BRICS WBA and Group CEO of AV South Africa, Dr. Sangita Reddy, Chairperson of India Chapter of BRICS WBA and Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals, and Ms. Anna Nesterova, Chairperson of Russia Chapter of BRICS WBA and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Global Rus Trade attended the meeting and made remarks. Members of the five Chapters participated online.

Chairperson Zhao Haiying noted that since the handover of the rotating presidency, the BRICS WBA China Chapter, with the strong support of other four Chapters, has achieved a series of practical progress, including putting forward recommendations for cooperation through joint working group meetings, organizing the 2022 BRICS Women Innovation Contest and 2022 BRICS Women's Leadership Forum, and compiling the BRICS Women's Development Report and the BRICS Women's Business Alliance Annual Report 2022. She called on all BRICS member states to continue to closely cooperate with each other, offer advice and suggestions, and thus to contribute to BRICS women's development in the future.

Briefings on the five Joint Working Groups, namely Inclusive Economy, Innovative Development, Healthcare, Food Security and Environmental Safety, and Creative Industries and Tourism, were made to members of the five chapters. The Chairpersons of each Chapter commented on the report, spoke highly of the positive and effective work led by China Chapter, and offered proposals for cooperation such as enhancing synergy with Business20 mechanism, improving the effectiveness for women empowerment, as well as establishing a platform for the development of BRICS WBA.

In conclusion, the five Chapters jointly reviewed and adopted the BRICS Women's Business Alliance Annual Report 2022. Initially proposed by Russia, the BRICS Women's Business Alliance (BRICS WBA) was officially established in 2020, signaling a major step for women's development in BRICS countries. The objective of BRICS WBA is to enhance the role and participation of women as drivers of economic growth, fully unleash the business potential of women themselves, and promote the economic empowerment of women in BRICS countries. It is also an important platform for women to actively participate in BRICS business cooperation.

Yang Jiechi Chairs the 12th Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisers and High Representatives on National Security (Ян Цзечи возглавил 12-ю встречу советников БРИКС по национальной безопасности и высоких представителей по национальной безопасности) / China, June, 2022
Keywords: national_security, top_level_meeting

On June 15, 2022, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi chaired the 12th Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisers and High Representatives on National Security in Beijing via video link. He stressed, the BRICS countries have always upheld the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, firmly safeguarded the common interests of the vast developing countries, and will make well preparations for the upcoming 14th BRICS Summit under the political guidance of the leaders of the five countries.

Yang Jiechi said, changes of the world, of our times and of history are unfolding in ways like never before, with major changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century being combined. Faced with mounting risks and challenges, President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Security Initiative with the security and well-being of humanity in mind, contributing Chinese wisdom to solving the current global security dilemma and providing important guidance for building a world with lasting peace and universal security.

Yang Jiechi stressed, BRICS, born in the historical tide of the rise of emerging markets and developing countries as a group, represents the way forward in the evolution and adjustment of the global landscape and international order. We should follow the trend of the times, act according to the changes of the times, and inject more stability and positive energy into the turbulent international situation. We should act on true multilateralism and strive to achieve common security. We should address traditional and non-traditional threats in a well-coordinated manner and strive to achieve comprehensive security. We should advocate sticking together in times of difficulty and strive to achieve cooperative security. We should pursue security and development in a well-coordinated way and strive to achieve sustainable security.

The meeting reviewed the work of the working groups on counter-terrorism and cybersecurity, unanimously agreed to jointly advance the relevant plans and road maps of international counter-terrorism cooperation and cybersecurity cooperation, safeguard the United Nations' central role in coordinating the global counter-terrorism efforts, and call for building a global Internet governance system featuring greater inclusiveness, representation and democracy.

South African Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele, Head of Brazil's Institutional Security Office Augusto Heleno, Secretary of the National Security Council Nikolai Patrushev of the Russian Federation and Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval attended the meeting. The parties exchanged in-depth views on important issues such as strengthening multilateralism and global governance, coping with new threats and challenges to national security, and strengthening and improving governance in new territories, and reached a series of consensus. All parties unanimously expressed readiness to push for fruitful outcomes of the 14th BRICS summit.

Russian security chief to discuss threats with BRICS colleagues (Глава госбезопасности обсудит угрозы с коллегами по БРИКС) / Russia, June, 2022
Keywords: national_security, top_level_meeting

Representatives of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the South African Republic are planning to discuss current national and international security threats of the present time, and areas of cooperation between the group's members

MOSCOW, June 15. /TASS/. Russia's Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev will participate via a video linkup in an annual meeting of high-ranking security officials from the BRICS group of nations.

"Representatives of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the South African Republic are planning to discuss current national and international security threats of the present time, and areas of cooperation between the group's members," the council's press service has reported.

Patrushev regularly holds security-themed talks with his foreign colleagues, both in person and in the video conference format.

It will be the 12th meeting of high-ranking BRICS officials in charge of security issues. The previous event of this kind, which took place last August, was also held via a video linkup. Participants discussed challenges and threats to global, regional and national security. Issues of counter-terrorism and digital security were addressed in detail.

The acronym BRICS, derived from the initial letters of the names of the group's members, was created in December 2010, when South Africa joined the organization that had earlier been known as BRIC. The goal of the group, established at Russia's initiative in 2006, is to boost comprehensive cooperation between member states. China is holding the BRICS presidency in 2022.

BRICS Countries Pledge to Deepen Cooperation on Intelligent Customs (Страны БРИКС обещают углубить сотрудничество в области интеллектуальной таможни) / China, June, 2022
Keywords: cooperation, trade_relations

Customs authorities of BRICS countries vowed to deepen cooperation on intelligent customs at a virtual meeting.

Customs cooperation between BRICS countries has seen fruitful results since the establishment of the cooperation mechanism in 2013, while bilateral trade has maintained steady growth, said Sun Yuning, deputy head of the General Administration of Customs of China.

China's bilateral trade with BRICS countries totaled 490.42 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, up 39.2 percent year on year, higher than the overall level of China's foreign trade in the same period, official data shows.

All parties should gradually improve the intelligence level of customs infrastructure, supervision methods and administrative management, and form cross-border coordinated governance among border administration departments, Sun said.

Against current risks and challenges, the participants pledged to ensure that the customs authorities of BRICS countries continue to work together to safeguard the international supply chain and promote rapid economic and trade recovery among BRICS countries.
Russia cooperating with EAEU, BRICS peers on green energy, says deputy minister (Россия сотрудничает с ЕАЭС, БРИКС на равных по зеленой энергетике, заявил замминистра) / Russia, June, 2022
Keywords: ecology, top_level_meeting

The cooperation in green energy is also successfully developing in the ASEAN and SCO

ST. PETERSBURG, June 16. /TASS/. Russia is cooperating with its partners in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in the green energy area, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Thursday.

"As far as international cooperation is concerned, the climate agenda is relevant in the EAEU. This is a strong integration, containing 180 mln people, five integrated economies, with observers and partners. It is developing in the same directions that are on the international agenda, from project cooperation, own energy to various areas of services, banking, insurance, investment with the prefix 'green'," he said, adding that BRICS states are actively discussing this topic, and "a platform allowing both the research and project work in the future on renewable energy and hydrogen energy is being created."

The cooperation in green energy is also successfully developing in the ASEAN and SCO, Pankin said, adding though that such cooperation has stopped with the EU and US despite the existing potential.

It is necessary to shift to green energy "gradually, consciously, economically efficiently and socially consciously," he noted.

Russian MFA says some Latin American nations seek closer ties with BRICS (МИД России заявил, что некоторые страны Латинской Америки стремятся к более тесным связям с БРИКС) / Russia, June, 2022
Keywords: brics+, quotation

According to the diplomat, the issue of any additional BRICS formats is the subject for a discussion, primarily within the group

ST. PETERSBURG, June 18. /TASS/. Alexander Shchetinin, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Latin American department, on Saturday said some Latin American nations are seeking closer ties with BRICS.

He expressed confidence that Russia's cooperation with countries that show interest in BRICS will continue. "In what format, we will coordinate first of all with our partners in this group, and with those countries that want to be closer to BRICS, including with regard to Latin America," he told TASS on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

According to the diplomat, the issue of any additional BRICS formats is the subject for a discussion, primarily within the group.

BRICS is an informal group of countries, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The purpose of the association is the development of comprehensive cooperation between the member countries. It is non-bloc in nature and is not directed against third parties. It has no permanent headquarters.
BRICS Has Not Disappointed (БРИКС не разочаровал) / South Africa, June, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion
South Africa

In 2001, Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs foresaw the tremendous potential of emerging markets and coined the term "BRICS".

Since then, a shared commitment to multilateralism, prosperity and greater role of developing countries in global governance has brought Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- the current five members of BRICS -- closer together.

Yet 16 years since its founding as a mechanism, as the global economy struggles with the Covid-19 crisis, some people have become less sanguine about BRICS, asserting that the grouping has "disappointed" and asking questions like "Is the emerging world still emerging?"

Has BRICS lost its lustre? To answer this question, it might be helpful to take a look at the state of the world first.

The pandemic has devastated lives and livelihoods across the globe and does not seem likely to end any time soon. Global development, including the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is visibly slowing and becoming more unbalanced. Climate change, worsening desertification and frequent extreme weather events threaten the very survival of humanity. The global governance system is in urgent need of reform, as international rules and multilateral institutions are beset by a lack of consensus and unilateral actions.

How has BRICS performed in the face of these enormous challenges? Has it truly "disappointed"?

Let facts speak for themselves. To combat the ongoing pandemic, BRICS countries have launched the BRICS Vaccines Research and Development Centre, an initiative championed by China and South Africa. Sinovac, a Chinese bio-pharma company, has partnered with South Africa's Numolux to produce jabs, and paediatric trials are moving towards phase 3.

BRICS countries are actively addressing global challenges like climate change, and have renewed their commitment in a recent joint statement on deepening climate collaboration.

Take South Africa and China for example. South Africa has established a Presidential Climate Commission and adopted a National Adaptation Strategy.

It is also developing plans to enable a just transition to a low-carbon economy and climate resilient society, a critical step in successful climate action. Likewise, China has been implementing proactive national climate strategies to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, an ambitious goal for a newly industrialised country.

Yet the two countries have done the right thing and made the tough decision, dwarfing what many advanced countries have promised and done.

Amid headwinds against globalization and attempts by some Western forces to sever global industrial and supply chains, BRICS countries are a valuable source of stability for the world economy. Combined, they account for 42 percent of the world's population, over 25 percent of its GDP, 18 percent of global trade in goods and over half of global growth.

BRICS countries are aware of the responsibility that comes with their economic heft. They are building a digital economy partnership and fast- tracking the BRICS PartNIR, a flagship project promoted by China and South Africa to seize the opportunities of the new industrial revolution, in a bid to find a new path for the world.

The New Development Bank (NDB) is injecting urgently needed financing into global development. By May 2022, over 85 projects had been approved, totalling a portfolio of US$31 billion. Between 2022 and 2026, the NDB is scheduled to provide another US$30 billion in financing. Last year, it welcomed the UAE, Uruguay, Bangladesh and Egypt as new members, extending its reach to more emerging markets.

BRICS countries are also helping to "rescue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and get them back on track", as United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has urged. The Global Development Initiative proposed by China will likely catalyse SDG implementation and create further room for BRICS cooperation. South Africa, with its Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, is also making great contributions to delivering on the 2030 Agenda.

By virtue of these actions, BRICS countries are helping to keep multilateralism alive. The results of their cooperation are meaningful steps towards more fair and effective global governance.

In its early days, BRICS was spelt BRICs. The "s" was capitalised upon South Africa's joining the grouping in 2010 at Beijing's invitation. The name change has made BRICS a truly global grouping, as the voice of a vast and important continent could finally be heard.

A few weeks ago, BRICS foreign ministers agreed to promote discussions on the BRICS expansion process and further extend cooperation to the wider developing world. More countries are expected to join BRICS, amplifying this positive, stable and constructive force for good in a turbulent world.

A comment on YouTube about the foreign ministers' meeting says it best, "The collective West has had its day, with only numerous invasions/wars to show for their determination to rule all governments. We look forward to a new group to plan the next era."

In a sense, BRICS countries work like bricks. They pave pathways to prosperity, build lines of defence against Covid-19 and climate change, and convene dialogues for better global governance. At difficult times like this, we need more of BRICS to create a fairer and stronger world for all.

The author is a Beijing-based current affairs commentator who has contributed to The Straits Times, The Jakarta Post and The Brussels Times.
S. African Official Calls for BRICS to Strengthen Solidarity (Официальный представитель Южной Африки призывает БРИКС к укреплению солидарности) / China, June, 2022
Keywords: quotation

The BRICS should strengthen solidarity and deepen cooperation as the world confronts multiple challenges, said Anil Sooklal, deputy director-general for Asia and the Middle East at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of South Africa.

"There was a clear call from all of the BRICS countries that we need to solidify, even more, our cooperation and that we need to interact more with the global South," he told Xinhua.

Sooklal said the BRICS cooperation has yielded positive results in many sectors. "We launched the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Center, where we collectively address the issues of vaccine production, the issue of capacity, especially in developing countries."

On the financial front, the New Development Bank has been a positive force for BRICS cooperation, he said. "In terms of the number of projects that have been initiated over the past five years since the bank came into existence, where it has assisted all of us in terms of our infrastructure and sustainable development projects. South Africa has benefited to the tune of over billions of U.S. dollars on projects under the New Development Bank."

Sooklal said the BRICS remain relevant due to many challenges facing the global South and fault lines in the global geopolitical and economic landscape, where there is an unbalanced international architecture that favors certain countries.

"I think BRICS has to work collectively to address these challenges and fast track the issues affecting the countries of the global South. Therefore not only BRICS, but also BRICS' partnership with the emerging market and developing countries can be a voice of the global South, calling for actions to ensure that we don't accept the current uneven global architecture, and should make it more inclusive and representative," he added.


Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, St Petersburg, June 15, 2022 (Брифинг официального представителя МИД М.В. Захаровой, Санкт-Петербург, 15 июня 2022 г.) / Russia, June, 2022
Keywords: mofa, quotation

Question: Soon the 14th BRICS Summit will be held under China's chairmanship. Today, the world is undergoing big changes and geopolitical tensions. The aftermath of the pandemic is affecting the full resumption of the global economy. In this context, what role do you think the BRICS member countries should play and what do you expect from the upcoming summit? What do you think the advantages of BRICS are in comparison with other international associations?

Maria Zakharova: Regarding the upcoming BRICS events, I will speak in general, because it is the President's Executive Office that gives comments on summits. In fact, we expect a constructive exchange of views on current issues on the world agenda from cooperation in this association in all its formats.

We see prospects for building up the BRICS strategic partnership in three main areas: politics and security, the economy and finance, and cultural and humanitarian ties. As the current BRICS chair, China has focused on strengthening multilateralism, cooperation in the fight against COVID-19, accelerated recovery of the global economy, and the implementation of the 2030 sustainable development agenda. We presume and are convinced that all these topics will be discussed in detail and will be reflected in the final declaration of the leaders. We believe this upcoming high-level event will help to sum up the preliminary results of China's chairmanship this year. Among its achievements is the launch of the BRICS centre for online research and development of vaccines, the beginning of the practical implementation of the cooperation agreement on the space-based remote sensing of the Earth, and completion of the work on the agreement on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in BRICS customs issues; as well as the approval of the initiative to eliminate "safe havens" for corrupt officials and criminal assets.

We believe a separate session in the BRICS+ format featuring the leaders of several partner countries to be especially important. Our association has traditionally defended the interests of developing counties and stood for increasing their role in the global decision-making process regarding key international issues.

Today BRICS is one of the modern dynamic international platforms. This is a clear and successful example of true multilateralism and effective cooperation where the countries' combined efforts are dictated by their common interests. In cases where their approaches do not coincide, creative work is being done to harmonise them. Amid escalating tensions on the global stage, the five countries are serving as the keepers of true multilateralism based on an equal and mutually respectful dialogue, as well as a common approach to addressing current global challenges and a sensible balance of interests.

The role of BRICS in international affairs is constantly growing, which is quite natural considering its growth dynamics and potential. This includes a broad resource base, including labour, human resources, and everything related to resources, as well as a key place in global transport, logistics, and production chains. At the end of 2021, the nominal GDP of the association was about a quarter of the global total. And in terms of purchasing-power parity, BRICS outperformed the G7 in total numbers, according to the IMF's 2021 estimations: $45.5 trillion against $44 trillion. All this gives the five countries an opportunity to participate in shaping the global agenda and to be at the leading edge of efforts to ensure sustainable global development.

The democratic nature of this format and the lack of focus on subversive approaches or building friendships "against someone" is a BRICS advantage. We have our own interests, and we are eager to cooperate with each other. There is no goal to use our joint resources and opportunities against anyone. The fact that these five states have grown from different civilisations is very important. The main thing is to find a common language. Though we have different religious and historically different cultures, we are all authentic, and this makes the association attractive to other countries. This makes it possible for BRICS to find a worthy place in the international system of coordinates and become an important integral element of global management, the embodiment of the growing consolidation of positions, so-called new development centres.

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Successfully Hold Their Second Meeting in 2022 (Министры финансов и главы центральных банков стран БРИКС успешно провели вторую встречу в 2022 году) / China, June, 2022
Keywords: top_level_meeting, economic_challenges

The Second BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting under the Chinese Presidency was held via video link on June 6, 2022. Liu Kun, China' Minister of Finance, and Yi Gang, Governor of the People's Bank of China, co-chaired the meeting. Focusing on "Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development", the theme for the 14th BRICS Summit, the meeting participants discussed issues such as macroeconomic outlook and policy coordination, New Development Bank (NDB), infrastructure investment and BRICS Think Tank Network for Finance. This is the last Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in the run-up to the 14th BRICS Summit. Consensus was reached at the meeting on the deliverables of BRICS financial cooperation for 2022.

The meeting endorsed the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Joint Statement (hereinafter referred to as "Joint Statement"), speaking with one voice on strengthening BRICS countries' cooperation on macroeconomic outlook and policies, global issues and finance. The Joint Statement expressed concerns about risks of global economic disruption and financial fragmentation, and stressed that the global financial system should be used for the benefit of all countries. The Joint Statement welcomed the actions to accelerate the progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to achieve stronger, greener and more balanced global development. The meeting provided political support and policy guidance for the NDB, giving impetus to the NDB to further play its role as a platform in safeguarding solidarity and promoting financial cooperation among BRICS countries. The meeting also endorsed the Technical Report on Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) for Sustainable Development and welcomed the exchange and sharing of good practices and experiences among BRICS countries in infrastructure investment and PPPs. The meeting announced the establishment of the BRICS Think Tank Network for Finance, which would facilitate research cooperation among think tanks in the finance area among BRICS countries.

Liu stressed that, with the protracted COVID-19 pandemic, sluggish global economic recovery, complex and severe international situation, and global development suffering from disruptions, BRICS countries, as a positive, inspiring and constructive force in the international community, should strengthen solidarity and cooperation and deepen communication and coordination, so as to jointly safeguard people's lives and health, promote stable recovery of the global economy, maintain the sound operation of the international economic and financial system and improve the global economic governance system and rules.

Liu pointed out that during the Chinese Presidency this year, BRICS countries, through strengthened communication and cooperation, have produced a host of important agreements and outcomes on finance, successfully reaching the major targets set at the beginning of this year for financial cooperation. The outcomes indicate that BRICS financial cooperation have been taken forward. China is willing to work with other members towards a deeper and richer cooperation over finance and elevate it to a new level.

Meeting participants stressed that BRICS financial cooperation should be further strengthened to boost economic recovery and sustainable development of BRICS countries and the world at large, and to improve global economic governance. They appreciated the important leading role of the Chinese Presidency in financial cooperation among BRICS countries this year. They also supported the deliverables and initiatives proposed by the Chinese Presidency, and expressed their willingness to continue to make positive contributions to the success of the 14th BRICS Summit.
World of Work
The 2nd Forum of BRICS Alliance of Art Museums and Galleries was Held (Состоялся II Форум Альянса художественных музеев и галерей БРИКС) / China, June, 2022
Keywords: cooperation, social_issues

On June 9th, the 2nd Forum of BRICS Alliance of Art Museums and Galleries was held online. Wu Weishan, Secretary General of the BRICS Alliance of Art Museums and Galleries, Director of the National Art Museum of China, Daniela Matera, Director of the Brazilian National Museum of Fine Arts, Alexander Sedov, Director of the State Museum of Oriental Art of Russia, Adwaita Garanayak, Director of the National Gallery of Modern Art in India delivered keynote speeches, and Rooksana Omar, Chief Executive Officer: Iziko Museums of South Africa delivered her message in written form. The forum focuses on two topics: "Exchanges and development of art museums in post-COVID-19 era" and "Artistic creation under the same sky".

Wu Weishan emphasized in his speech that Communication and mutual learning enrich civilizations and make them coexist harmoniously. The essence of cultural exchange lies in one face, one heart, and one soul. "One face" refers to the cultural characteristics of a nation or country. "One heart" shall be frank, sincere, and kind. "One soul" means the soul that cherishes and safeguards world peace. As long as we face each other and are of one mind, we will be able to rely on each other, connect our veins, and share weal and woe.

In order to develop and expand the BRICS Alliance of Art Museums and Galleries and further improve the mechanism of the Alliance, all the members voted unanimously to adopt the Regulations on the Entry of New Members of the BRICS Alliance of Art Museums and Galleries, and reached a consensus on the initiative of "building a framework for small collection exchange exhibition" under the situation of the epidemic and the issue of soliciting contributions from the Alliance members in the newsletter of the BRICS Alliance of Art Museums and Galleries.

The participants fully affirmed the significance of this forum, and looked forward to strengthening contacts and exchanges, actively implementing the results of the forum, making good use of resources from all parties, creating a new mode of inter-museum exchanges, showing the cultural features of different nationalities, and promoting the future cooperation and development of global art museums under the new situation.

In recent years, the national art museums of BRICS countries have continuously deepened cultural exchanges and cooperation and achieved fruitful results. Art museums and galleries around the world need to further strengthen people to people and cultural exchanges and cooperation, tell the story of the BRICS countries that moves people's hearts, leads values and promotes the spirit, and convey the spiritual strength of the BRICS countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

"UNESCO Creative Cities of the BRICS Countries: Art Together" Will Be Held in July («Креативные города ЮНЕСКО стран БРИКС: искусство вместе» пройдет в июле) / Russia, June, 2022
Keywords: social_issues

The Project Office for International Youth Cooperation "Russia – BRICS" will hold the Creative cooperation program "UNESCO Creative Cities of the BRICS countries: Art Together" on 15 July 2022.

The program is aimed at stimulating intellectual interaction of participating cities, exchange of experience in the field of culture and art and implementation of joint international projects.

The Creative Cooperation Program "UNESCO Creative Cities of the BRICS countries: Art Together" will include six regular online discussions (1,5 hours each, July – December 2022) between representatives of UNESCO Creative Cities of the BRICS+ countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and others. Within the framework of the program, experts will share the successful experience of the communities of their cities, which are part of the UNESCO Creative Network.

The program is initiated by the city of Ulyanovsk, which became the first Russian city to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2015 ("Literature").

Cultural and humanitarian organizations of the BRICS countries as well as municipalities represented by the directorates of UNESCO Creative Cities can participate in the discussions. The program will be accepting applications until July 14th.

29 cities are included in the list of UNESCO Creative Cities of the BRICS countries:

Salvador, Brasilia, Hyderabad, Saint Petersburg, Kargopol, Hangzhou, Durban, Kazan, João Pessoa, Chennai, Suzhou, Overstrand, Ulyanovsk, Hermanus, Santos, Jaipur, Shunde, Cape Town, Belém, Mumbai, Qingdao, Curitiba, Varanasi, Shenzhen, Belo Horizonte, Beijing, Paraty, Fortaleza and Florianopolis.

TV BRICS International Media Network is a media partner of the event.

BRICS Business Council Successfully Held Beijing Import and Export Online Fair (South America) (Деловой совет БРИКС успешно провел Пекинскую онлайн-ярмарку импорта и экспорта (Южная Америка)) / China, June, 2022
Keywords: business_council, cooperation

From May 18 to 25, the BRICS Business Council successfully held "Beijing Import and Export Online Fair (South America)". The conference is one of the series cross-border matchmaking activities for BRICS enterprises. The conference attracted more than 80 enterprises from Brazil, more than 300 enterprises from China and more than 600 enterprises from other three South American countries like Argentina、Peru and Chile to participate online. The event set up an exclusive online business matchmaking platform and held continuous negotiations via various forms including "negotiation during exhibition" and "special negotiation event". Over 300 cooperation intentions were reached.

The special event for Brazil, organized by ICBC and co-organized by Brazilian confederation of industry, China-Brazil Business Council and VX Trade, attracted nearly 100 Chinese and Brazilian enterprises to sign up. After precise industry matching and careful grouping, some 50 enterprises were finally invited to participate online. After eight rounds of negotiations, enterprises from China and Brazil gained a deep understanding of respective supply and demand and reached nearly 20 preliminary cooperation agreements, with an amount of over USD 80 million. During the fair, an import & export company from Anhui had an in-depth trade talk with a Brazilian supplier and they reached a preliminary cooperation agreement. The two will further discuss transaction details in future. A trade company from St. Paulo, Brazil was favored by many Chinese buyers. After interactive Q&As for nearly half an hour, it found a potential business counterpart, and the two will later sign a cooperation agreement.

Other country-specific events for Argentina, Peru, Chil were also held during the conference, as well as special industry fairs such as anti-pandemic supplies, digital ecosystem, fashion & life, Leading SMEs specialized in niche sectors etc. At the 2022 Argentina-China Cloud Matchmaking Fair" (50th Anniversary of China-Argentina Diplomatic Relations Session), ICBC organized more than 70 online "one-to-one" negotiation rooms to build a bridge for in-depth negotiations between enterprises, at which 80% reached a preliminary cooperation agreement. So far, ICBC has held "Argentina-China Cloud Matchmaking Fair" for three years in a row, organized four training series on"new opportunities in economic and trade cooperation between China and Argentina"and served more than 300 Chinese and Argentine SMEs. Those efforts have effectively brought the exchange and cooperation between China and Argentina up to a new level.
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