Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum

Monitoring of the economic, social and labor situation in the BRICS countries
Issue 27.2022
2022.07.04 — 2022.07.10
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
The 'Multiplier Effect' of BRICS+ («Эффект мультипликатора» БРИКС+) / Greece, July, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion
Author: Yaroslav Lissovolik

The main hallmark of China's chairmanship in the BRICS grouping in 2022 has been the unveiling of plans to institutionalize the BRICS+ format and to explore the possibilities of expanding the core of the BRICS bloc. The current debate regarding the future trajectories of the BRICS+ format centers on whether the expansion of the bloc is to proceed one by one by adding new countries to the BRICS core, or via the format of "integration of integrations", namely the creation of a platform for the cooperation of regional arrangements in which BRICS countries are members. At this stage, it appears that both tracks are possible and have their pros and cons. But there is one factor in the regional "integration of integrations" model that has particular merit – it is the "BRICS+" multiplier that allows for a significant extension in the outreach undertaken by core BRICS economies with respect to the rest of the Global South.

In terms of scale, the effects of the two formats of BRICS expansion may be mathematically illustrated by the difference between the arithmetic and geometric progression. If the one-by-one expansion in the core of the BRICS grouping represents the minimalism of the arithmetic progression, the BRICS+ format of integration of integrations can be seen as a far more extensive and ambitious undertaking characterized by a geometric progression. With respect to the arithmetic progression, the waves of the expansion in the BRICS core may involve a sequential addition of one or several countries representing the most significant heavyweights (possibly members of G20 from the Global South). The alternative is the aggregation of the regional integration blocs of all of the five BRICS members – represented by the BEAMS platforms consisting of BIMSTEC, Eurasian Economic Union, the ASEAN-China FTA, Mercosur and the South African Customs Union – leading to the addition of up to 25 members (the 5 times 5 geometric progression – or the 5 BRICS taken to the power of 2) of the BRICS+ circle that are the regional neighbors/partners of BRICS economies.

This BRICS+ geometric progression can be taken further to the next level whereby a wider circle of countries is included into the enlarged platform that comprises the African Union in Africa, CELAC in Latin America and the Eurasian economies from the Global South. The Eurasian constellation of developing economies can be formed on the basis of the aggregation of the main regional integration blocs such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), ASEAN, SAARC, EAEU. Such an extended platform across all three continents of the Global South may be termed as TRIA (Trilateral Intercontinental Alliance) and it comprises nearly 125-130 developing economies (depending on the exact methodological approach of including the Eurasian economies). This second sequence of extending the BRICS+ platform results in a "5 times 5 times 5" geometric progression – or the 5 BRICS economies taken to the power of 3.

These stages of progression in the extension of the BRICS+ circle can be taken to an even higher level if one is to account for all of the bilateral/plurilateral trade deals, digital alliances and other accords that may be multilateralized on the basis of the BRICS+ platform. For example, the Israel-Mercosur FTA or the SACU-EFTA FTA could be extended to include more developing countries from the BRICS+ circle. At this stage the combinatorics of matching and aggregating the multitudes of alliances along the BRICS+ platform kicks in – each of the main regions and regional integration grouping from the Global South has its own cob-web of alliances that can be shared throughout this extended network of Global South.

Such additional multiplier effects will be all the more powerful, the greater the openness and inclusiveness of the aggregated BRICS+ platform and the more connectivity there is across the alliances concluded by developing economies with their partners from across the globe. In other words, in order for the multiplier effects to be increased the BRICS+ platform of integration of integrations needs to be predicated on alliances that are scalable and capable of connecting with other regional blocs (regional alliances that can be "globalized"). This in turn may be facilitated by particular emphasis placed on building platforms for regional development institutions (with standardized protocols for investment projects, including with respect to PPPs); greater scope for digital economic alliances that may be particularly amenable to scale and replication.

Potentially this sequential approach to building alliances across the Global South on the basis of the BRICS+ "integration of integrations" could become a basis for re-starting the globalization process in the world economy bottom-up (from the level of countries and regional blocs) rather than top-down (solely from the level of global organizations). In fact, this "integration of integrations" sequence may prove superior to the previous attempts at top-down wholesale liberalization via "Washington consensus" for the following reasons:

  • Greater gradualism and connectivity of country and regional integration roadmaps with the resulting global pattern of liberalization
  • Greater flexibility: there may be room for revision and corrections to the resulting global pattern at the local level
  • Greater accordance of the global pattern of alliances and integration with local/country-level and regional peculiarities and exigencies
  • Greater political sustainability and feasibility of the resulting global pattern of alliances that is predicated on the cooperative network of regional alliances
This greater sustainability and flexibility of the bottom-up globalization process as a network of alliances rather than a rigid framework that is to be implemented across the globe without due account of the regional and country-level peculiarities argues in favor of looking for ways to render such a model of globalization more feasible and effective.

Under this scenario of a network-type globalization what would be the role of global institutions such as the WTO, IMF, World Bank? In many ways it would remain crucial for the sustainability of the construct of the reshaped global economic architecture. The global institutions would receive the additional mandate of coordinating the regional networks and development institutions:

  • IMF: coordination of regional financing arrangements (RFAs)
  • World Bank: coordination of regional development banks
  • WTO: coordination of regional integration arrangements
There will also be a need for global institutions to focus more on resolving global issues, including global imbalances. This in turn would allow the global economic system to overcome the current problem of regional and global institutions/organizations operating frequently as substitutes rather than mutually reinforcing complements.

In sum, the BRICS+ track of country-by-country additions to the BRICS core if pursued solely on its own without building a broader network of alliances may result in minor alterations to the status-quo and a missed opportunity for the Global South and the broader global economy. At the same time, the possibilities offered by the "integration of integrations" track for BRICS+ are substantial, provided that such a platform is open, inclusive and ensures connectivity across regional integration arrangements – this will deliver the much needed "multiplier effect" in the process of economic cooperation and can set off a new process of globalization that connects regional arrangements in the developed and the developing world. Such a paradigm may be the real mission of BRICS after all – the value of BRICS is not in each of them taken separately, but rather in them being connected together to form a construct that supports the edifice of the global economic architecture.
BRICS Business Council Successfully Held Cross-border Matchmaking Series Activities for BRICS Enterprises (Деловой совет БРИКС успешно провел трансграничную серию мероприятий по установлению деловых контактов для предприятий БРИКС) / China, July, 2022
Keywords: business_council, top_level_meeting

From March to June 2022, the BRICS Business Council successfully held a series of cross-border matchmaking activities for "BRICS +" enterprises in hybrid format through promotion and negotiation. Special sessions was organized for different countries including Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, Peru, Chile and Vietnam, and those for different industries including anti-pandemic supplies, leading SMEs specialized in niche sectors, digital ecosystem, wine tasting and cross-border e-commerce, the activities attracted more than 1,300 enterprises from over 20 emerging markets and developing countries in Asia, South America, Africa and Europe. Over 500 preliminary cooperation intentions were reached, involving an amount of more than CNY 4.3 billion.

The "China-Vietnam Industrial Park Investment Matchmaking Conference" that took place in early May witnessed the online participation of multiple industrial parks from Vietnam and more than one hundred Chinese-funded enterprises. Based on the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the organizers, composed of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Vietnam, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Klynveld Peat Matwick Goerdeler(KPMG Vietnam) and relevant Vietnamese industrial parks, introduced the impacts of China-Vietnam cooperation on production capacity, the investment environment and investment attraction policies in Vietnam and ICBC's featured financial services. Interactive matchmaking and communication were also conducted among representatives from participating enterprises and the organizers.

The "Sino-Peruvian Agricultural Products Matchmaker" held in late May created a valuable cross-border bridge for agricultural export companies in Peru, and thus unleashed strong appeal to many enterprises from Peru and China. Most of the participating enterprises established cooperative relationships. ICBC Peru also made good use of this opportunity to offer comprehensive financial services to the co-organizer ADEX (Asociacion de Exportadores) and local leading agricultural enterprises, in a bid to contribute to the sustainable development of the economic and trade exchanges between China and Peru.

All the above-mentioned activities are held upon "ICBC Business Matchmaker", a platform developed independently by ICBC. "This easy-to-operate platform can provide us with 'one-stop' comprehensive financial services such as international financing, settlement, cash management etc., which well meets our actual needs of foreign trade," A business manager of a Hunan-based grain and oil group who participated in the special session for Africa said, "The organizer provided professional interpreters for each online negotiation, which helped solve the communication problems for enterprises and created good opportunities for cooperation between both sides."

"The fact that the Chinese market emphasizes cooperative dialogues, mutual benefits and win-win results brings important development opportunities for Brazilian companies and plays a critical role in the stable economic development of Brazil and even the world." The general manager of a trade company from São Paulo who attended the special session for Brazil said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua News Agency after the event, "The exchanges and cooperation between China and Brazil under the BRICS framework are of great significance. China-Brazil trade cooperation has promoted the common progress of both sides in infrastructure, technology and energy, among many other key fields, and also demonstrated strong resilience and development potential amid the shock of the pandemic."

The cross-border matchmaking activities for "BRICS+" enterprises featured a wide scope of coverage, fruitful cooperation achievements and high evaluation from all parties concerned. With these activities, the scope of "BRICS+" cooperative countries has been expanded, the information strengths of business enterprises brought into play, and new momentum injected into win-win trade cooperation. Multiple topics were combined at the special sessions for different countries and industries, such as the economic and trade cooperation among RCEP countries, the "Belt and Road Initiative", "South-South Cooperation", the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Argentina, the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo, joint fight against the pandemic, the stabilization of foreign trade and foreign investment and sustainable development, which highlighted and extended the connotation of BRICS economic cooperation. ICBC will form a long-term mechanism of cross-border cooperation for "BRICS+" enterprises by continuing its experience in hosting such activities, and will build the relevant platform into an important link to serve the industrial and supply chains of "BRICS+" Business. Moreover, it will push forward deeper and further business cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries and earnestly implement BRICS Business Council's work objective, "Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development".
Russia has made a decisive break with the West and is ready to help shape a new world order (Россия совершила решительный разрыв с Западом и готова помочь сформировать новый мировой порядок) / Russia, July, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance
Author: Dmitri Trenin

Just before the G7 leaders met at Elmau Castle in Bavaria last week, their counterparts from the five BRICS countries held an online summit under the Chinese presidency. Russia had been discussed as a threat at the G7 gathering but was a key participant in the latter.

Long gone are the days when Moscow could straddle the divide between the West and the non-West. Following the 2014 Ukraine crisis, the G8 reverted to its previous G7 format; in the wake of the Russian military action in Ukraine last February, Russian-Western confrontation degenerated into a full-blown "hybrid war," complete with an actual confrontation – if so far a proxy one.

Having tried, after the end of the Cold War, to become part of the new West, and having failed at that endeavor, Russia is now focusing on developing its ties with Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

This is both a difficult and a necessary task, for a number of reasons. First, there is a powerful inertia from the past. At least since the days of Peter the Great, Russian elites have looked westward, adopting Western ways of appearance and behavior (while remaining distinctly Russian beneath the garb and manners); adapting Western institutions (even if often only superficially); borrowing Western patterns of thinking (while creatively developing them, as with Marxism); seeking to become a great European power; then, in Soviet days, a global superpower; and, more recently, a key component of a greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

This is a pathway hard to wean off from. Yet, now, for the first time ever, Russia is facing a united West, from North America, the European Union, and Britain, to Japan and Australia. What's more, there are no allies in the West that Moscow can turn to – even notionally neutral states such as Finland, Sweden, Austria, and Switzerland, have all ditched their neutrality. Russia's political rupture with the West is thus complete, and any new norm of relations between them can only emerge as a result of the "hybrid war," which will take years, if not decades, to fight out.

Second, Moscow's economic relations have been largely built with the West. Historically, Russia has been a resource for Western European industry; a breadbasket of the continent; and a major importer of industrial products and technology. Until recently, Russia's trade with the European Union alone accounted for more than half of Russia's foreign commerce, and Germany was the lead exporter of machinery and technology to Russia. Since the early 1970s, oil and gas pipelines from Russia to Western Europe have formed the backbone of economic ties and provided for general stability on the continent, even in the dangerous decades of the Cold War and in the turbulent times of the disintegration of the Soviet Union itself. This, too, is on the way out, however.

The severe sanctions imposed on Russia by the US, EU and UK will not be lifted even when the actual fighting in Ukraine stops, and the painful experience of foreign exchange and asset seizures will leave a huge imprint on any future Russian approach to economic ties with the West.

Third, in cultural terms, Russians have traditionally identified themselves with the rest of Europe. Christianity; the legacies of Ancient Greece and Rome; the ideas of French Enlightenment and German philosophy; European literature and the arts, music, and dance – all of this helped shape and form Russia's own culture, giving it a powerful stimulus for self-development. Despite the recent political rupture and the geo-economic shift, the foundations of Russian culture remain definitely European.

However, a number of elements of today's cultural scene in the West, particularly the dominant cult of individual self-expression, runaway liberalism that is turning increasingly oppressive, the erosion of family values and the proliferation of genders, jars with the more traditional cultural code of the majority of the Russian population.

That said, the obvious necessity for Russia to now look beyond the West means it can probably overcome the historical inertia, the legacy of previous geo-economic priorities, and cultural affinities. With the West shunning Russia, trying to isolate and sometimes 'cancel' it, Moscow has no choice but to kick its old habits and reach out to the wider world beyond Western Europe and North America. In fact, this is something that successive Russian leaders vowed to do repeatedly, even when relations with the West were much less adversarial, but the Europe-oriented mindset, the apparent ease of trading resources for Western goods and technologies, and the ambition to be accepted into Western elite circles prevented that intention from turning into reality.

It has been noted, however, that people start doing the right thing only when there are no other options. And certainly, capitulating to the West is no option for Russia, at this point. Things have gone too far.

Beyond the necessity of an overhaul of Russia's foreign relations there are real opportunities to pursue. Since the end of the Cold War, the leading countries of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America have risen spectacularly in all respects, from economically and politically to technologically and militarily.

Even before the outbreak of the "hybrid war," China had overtaken Germany not only as Russia's principal trading partner, but also as the leading exporter of machinery and equipment to Russia. India, a traditional importer of Soviet and Russian weapons, is now emerging as a major technology partner for Moscow. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are Russia's principal partners in regulating oil output in the OPEC+ format. Turkey and Iran are major independent players in a key strategic region. The fact that the vast majority of non-Western countries refused to condemn Russia for what it is doing in Ukraine – many of them despite strong US pressure – is most encouraging for Moscow. In the sense that those who are not against us could be considered to be with us.

From Indonesia to Brazil, and from Argentina to South Africa, there are many dynamic and ambitious countries that Moscow is seeking to engage.

To be able to do that, Russia's foreign policy needs to come up with an appropriate strategy. Above all, it needs to give relations with non-Western countries priority over the de facto firmly frozen ties with the West. Being an ambassador to Indonesia should be more prestigious than an ambassadorship in Rome, and a post in Tashkent should be viewed as more important than one in Vienna.

There needs to be an audit of potential economic and other opportunities for Russia in the BRICS countries, and a plan to work on them. Apart from economics, student exchange programs should be expanded, and Russian tourism encouraged to move east, and south. The Russian media would be right to increase coverage of developments in the key non-Western nations, educating the Russian elite and the broader public about the economic realities, politics, and culture of those nations.
Tehran and Riyadh's oil reserves would lend BRICS a stronger hand in taking on the U.S. dollar's hegemony (Нефтяные запасы Тегерана и Эр-Рияда окажут БРИКС более сильную помощь в борьбе с гегемонией доллара США.) / Russia, July, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion, economic_challenges

"In the East security and economy-focused blocs led by Beijing and Moscow are looking to take on new members of their own, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, two influential Middle Eastern rivals whose interest in shoring up cooperation on this new front could have a significant impact on global geopolitical balance", - says Newsweek in an article "As NATO Grows, China and Russia Seek to Bring Iran, Saudi Arabia Into Fold".

They say: The two bodies in question are the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO – China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, India and Pakistan) and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India China and South Africa). The SCO and the BRICS have not been established as an alternative to Western organizations and their specific function has not been defined on the basis of confrontation with the West or the existing world order, an expert says.

BRICS' multipolar approach to international affairs has proven attractive to both Iran and Saudi Arabia alike. The two nations, however, have their own unique reasons for seeking membership. Iran, already an SCO observer. The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced the Islamic Republic would also seek to join BRICS.

Saudi Arabia has also reportedly considered applying for BRICS membership. The announcement followed Saudi Arabia joining Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Senegal, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates at China's invitation for a resent "BRICS+" discussion.

For Riyadh, the move would likely be less about choosing sides against the close ties it has fostered for decades with Washington and more about the kingdom's own growing status as an independent player.

"China's invitation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to join the 'BRICS' confirms that the Kingdom has a major role in building the new world and became an important and essential player in global trade and economics," Mohammed al-Hamed, president of the Saudi Elite group in Riyadh, told Newsweek.

Frustration over shifting politics in Washington has led Tehran to increasingly look to its own region for strategic partnerships, which it has increasingly forged with Beijing and Moscow. And, like Saudi Arabia, Iran's oil and gas reserves make it an important strategic partner, especially given the worsening frictions over global energy that have been exacerbated by Western sanctions on Russia, and heated rivalry between Beijing and Washington.

The energy problem plays into two key reasons having both Iran and Saudi Arabia on board for BRICS would be a "major gain" for the organization, according to Akhil Ramesh, a fellow at the Hawaii-based Pacific Forum.

Tehran and Riyadh's oil reserves would also lend BRICS a stronger hand in taking on the U.S. dollar's hegemony over the world financial system as Ramesh argued that, "in order to replace the USD as the global reserve currency you would need to have more commodity-exporting countries, especially oil exporting ones buying into the idea."

As internal divisions have threatened to derail NATO's agenda, feuds among members also serve as a complicating factor for organizations led by China and Russia.

But China and Russia have demonstrated a capacity to bring enemies together under a common banner as seen with the SCO's simultaneous admission of India and Pakistan five years ago. And even if Iran and Saudi Arabia were to both join BRICS, it would not necessarily prove a breakthrough in their bitter rivalry, writes Newsweek, but if Saudi Arabia, Iran and Argentina are added to BRICS+ that will indeed be a counterbalance to Western control of trade and finance. This global split goes from possibility to probability. If they join BRICS, a split will become almost inevitable.
As China and Russia champion an expanded BRICS, India may have to pick a side (Поскольку Китай и Россия выступают за расширение БРИКС, Индии, возможно, придется выбрать сторону) / China, July, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion

In June, China hosted the BRICS summit, which brought together the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, just a few days before the G7 meeting. This iteration of the BRICS summit was noteworthy in multiple ways.

First, it was held against the backdrop of the Ukraine conflict. Second, Russia recently defaulted on its sovereign debt commitments. Third, India is beginning to feel the pinch of striking a balance in an increasingly bipolar world order.

China had invited several countries to attend the BRICS foreign ministers' meeting in May, and both China and Russia have voiced support for expanding the group. Developing countries have responded positively. In June, Argentina's president expressed an interest in joining the grouping, while Iran has applied to join.

It may not just be Taiwan watching developments in Ukraine closely. Several countries in the Global South are taking note of the economic blowback from the conflict as Russia experiences first-hand the impact of sanctions.

For China, the conflict underlines the need to shield itself from such a scenario and to explore options beyond its dual circulation strategy. Creating an alternative to the Western bloc, comprising countries that have had disputes with the West, is one such strategy. Argentina's Falkland Islands dispute with the UK and Iran's tension with the US are two examples.

Beijing has been vying for the mantel of leadership of the Global South. China's "century of humiliation" and its critique of Western nations' human rights abuses, and Russia's support of American whistle-blowers, make the two countries strong candidates to challenge the hegemony of the US-led Western alliance.

Russia or China are unlikely to challenge American hegemony through military power, given that the US has over 750 military bases around the globe while Beijing and Moscow together can count only a few bases in Asia, Europe and Africa. However, on trade and economics, Beijing can flex its muscles.

Both countries have emphasised the need to diversify their central banks' reserve currency holdings away from the US dollar. Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken of the need to hold commodities instead of sovereign currencies. China is systematically working towards internationalising the renminbi.

Western economists discount the possibility of the renminbi replacing the US dollar, arguing that China's monetary authorities lack autonomy and that the currency is not fully floated like other major reserve currencies.

These are valid points. Also, to truly internationalise its currency, China would have to overcome the "Triffin dilemma", whereby a country whose currency is an international reserve currency ends up with a persistent current account deficit, but failure to sell enough of the currency would destabilise the world economy.

Nevertheless, China is boosting the use of the renminbi in trade with other countries, particularly through its Belt and Road Initiative, and increasing its currency swaps with monetary authorities around the world. Moreover, Chinese goods and services can be found in every corner of the world.

Given that the fastest-growing economies are in the Global South, BRICS expansion could help prevent economic shocks from sanctions imposed by the West. Countries such as Iran, Venezuela and Argentina could remain in the global trade architecture or the closed loop that Russia and China seek to build through an expanded BRICS.

Belt and Road Initiative explained

However, not all nations in the Global South are completely behind the plan to replace the US dollar as the global reserve currency or to create an alternative world order. For one, India would not want a world dominated by its rival China.

India prefers a multipolar world, but as international relations scholar C. Raja Mohan put it, "if the logic of a multipolar world leads to a 'unipolar Asia' led by China, India might find itself in the fire rather than the frying pan".

An India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is different from the India led by Indira Gandhi, which was willing to side with the Soviets against the US in the 1970s. Modi's India wants to have its cake and eat it too – a seat at the high table on its own merit without any sacrifice of its non-alignment.

With the BRICS grouping upping the ante and the West keeping the pressure on India about its oil purchases from Russia, India, in trying to play cat on the wall, might find itself on a barbed-wire fence. With every move inflicting pain, it may have to jump off.

But onto which side will it leap? Recently, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on India's ambassador to China and spoke of the need to put the border issue in an "appropriate place" in bilateral relations.

To further complicate India's dilemma, the G7 launched another initiative, the Partnership for Global
Infrastructure and Investment, without elaborating on the status of its earlier platform, Build Back Better World. Will India sign on?

The rise of populism in the West and the diminishing appetite for involvement in world affairs, coupled with the US' withdrawal from the global trade architecture, have created a vacuum for China to fill. The groupings with various acronyms, which the US has come up with, will have to be institutionalised and their shelf life not limited to the Biden administration. Time will tell if the US is serious about refocusing on Asia.

Until then, China and Russia will capitalise on the US withdrawal and nations such as India will have to endure the pains that come with walking a tightrope or make the ultimate sacrifice of picking a side.
Are the BRICS Breaking Up? (БРИКС распадается?) / India, July, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion

India has always been the indispensable swing vowel in the BRICS acronym. If the bloc's current strategic direction and possible enlargement push the country toward the exit, the grouping will become not just unpronounceable, but also unviable.

NEW DELHI – The recent virtual BRICS summit, which brought together the heads of state and government of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, was interesting as much for what did not happen as for what did. The two-day gathering was marked by some constructive discussion but also platitudes and pablum, and concluded with a grandly titled but thoroughly anodyne "Beijing Declaration."

Few doubt the huge potential of the BRICS, which comprises the world's two most populous countries (China and India), a former superpower (Russia), and two of the biggest economies in Latin America and Africa. But the grouping's record since the first annual BRIC meeting in 2009 (South Africa joined the bloc the following year) has mostly been a story of lofty rhetoric and chronic underachievement.

The Beijing Declaration states that the BRICS High-Level Dialogue is an opportunity to deepen cooperation in the fight against COVID-19, digital transformation, supply-chain resilience and stability, and low-carbon development. All these goals are being pursued in a variety of multilateral forums.

More hypocritically, the declaration condemned terrorism and called for the finalization and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism within the United Nations framework. This rang rather hollow, since the summit took place just days after China blocked a joint proposal by India and the United States to designate the Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki as an international terrorist under the provisions of the UN Sanctions Committee.

India and the US have long regarded Pakistan, which notoriously sheltered Osama bin Laden, as an enabler of international terrorism. But Pakistan gets away with it because it is shielded by China at the UN.

This was not the first time that China has stymied proposals for the Sanctions Committee to list known Pakistan-based terrorists. It has repeatedly blocked efforts to designate as international terrorists Masood Azhar, chief of the UN-proscribed terrorist entity Jaish-e-Mohammed, and others associated with the equally murderous Lashkar-e-Taiba. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointedly stated at the BRICS summit that the group's members should understand each other's security concerns and provide mutual support in the designation of terrorists, adding that this sensitive issue should not be "politicized."

Can you access commentaries from leading thinkers around the globe?

It was against this background that China, the summit chair, floated a proposal to enlarge the group by accepting new members, and subsequent reports claimed that Argentina and Iran had applied to join. But the matter was not officially discussed at the meeting and featured only tentatively in the closing declaration.

Underlying the enlargement issue are two questions that go to the heart of the BRICS grouping. First, is it a largely economic organization or a geopolitical one? Second, if the BRICS is primarily a geopolitical bloc, will it become the principal vehicle for the emergence of a global axis led by China and Russia – a goal that China appears to support and that the proposed enlargement, and the putative candidates, seems intended to serve? In that case, what is India doing in it?

As to the first question, the BRIC acronym – created by then-Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill in 2001 – was initially impelled by a vision of economic cooperation. The four (later five) emerging markets' shared and compatible perspectives on issues of global governance reform certainly provided a raison d'être.

But their common concerns about the direction of global development and the power of the Western-dominated Bretton Woods institutions meant that the group's agenda was political as well. The BRICS seemed to be emerging as the premier platform of the Global South, articulating developing countries' dissent from the so-called Washington Consensus – a tendency underscored by the addition of South Africa, the only African economy in the G20.

In recent years, however, the global environment has changed dramatically. A backlash against globalization and a US-China trade war, as well as heightened suspicions among US policymakers of China's geopolitical intentions, have been compounded by military hostilities between China and India, including the killing of 20 Indian soldiers along the countries' disputed Himalayan border in 2020.

As a result, the BRICS appears to be undergoing an identity crisis. Indian foreign-policy mandarins initially saw the group as a useful platform to increase India's international influence, in keeping with its traditional role as a leader of the developing world. But India is plainly uneasy about efforts to turn the bloc into a geopolitical forum supporting Chinese and Russian interests – and to enlarge it to include other "like-minded" states such as Iran. (Brazil has also maintained a studied silence on Argentina's reported membership application.)

India is said to have had a crucial hand in the drafting of the Beijing Declaration's single reference to the bloc's enlargement, buried deep within the 75-paragraph document. Paragraph 73 states: "We support promoting discussions among BRICS members on [the] BRICS expansion process. We stress the need to clarify the guiding principles, standards, criteria, and procedures for this expansion process through [the] Sherpas' channel on the basis of full consultation and consensus."

Sir Humphrey Appleby, the famously circumlocutory British bureaucrat in the Yes Minister television series, could not have put it better, except perhaps for adding "in the fullness of time." The meaning is clear: "Full consultation" is a recipe for indefinite delay and the insistence on "consensus" means that at least one state will ensure that enlargement never happens.

It appears that China has not taken India fully into its confidence regarding BRICS expansion plans and the pending applications. India can scarcely be expected to welcome an enlargement of the BRICS that is intended to make the bloc more China-centric. There are also the inevitable concerns about whether, given China's patronage, Pakistan would be next in line to join.

India has always been the indispensable swing vowel in the BRICS acronym. If the bloc's current strategic direction and possible enlargement push the country toward the exit, the grouping will become not just unpronounceable, but also unviable.
President Xi Jinping and the BRICS-Developing Countries Dialogue (Си Цзиньпин и диалог между странами БРИКС) / Greece, July, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion

In Beijing, on the evening of June 24, 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired the High-Level Dialogue on Global Development in virtual format and expressed his views.

The following Presidents were connected: Abdelmadjid Tebboune (Algeria), Alberto Fernández (Argentina), Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Egypt), Joko Widodo (Indonesia), Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi (Iran), Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (Kazakhstan), Vladimir Putin (Russia), Macky Sall (Senegal), Cyril Ramaphosa (Republic of South Africa), Shavkat Mirziyoyev (Uzbekistan), as well as Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão, and Prime Ministers Hun Sen (Cambodia), Abiy Ahmed Ali (Ethiopia), Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama (Fiji), Narendra Modi (India), Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Malaysia), Prayut Chan-o-cha (Thailand).

Focusing on the topic "Promoting a Global Development Partnership for the New Era for jointly implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" leaders from all countries had an in-depth exchange of views on important issues such as strengthening international development cooperation and stepping up the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They discussed ways to promote development cooperation and reached broad and important common understandings.

President Xi Jinping announced the opening of the Dialogue. The leaders of the participating countries watched a video clip to recall the important moments of cooperation between emerging markets and developing countries in recent years.

President Xi Jinping delivered the speech entitled "Forging High-Quality Partnerships for a New Era of Global Development".

He emphasised that development is a timeless issue for humanity. Only through continuous development can people's dreams for a better life and social stability come true. Over the years, developing countries have worked unremittingly to explore development paths suited to their national realities and to pursue economic and social development. Such efforts have produced remarkable outcomes. Emerging markets and developing countries currently account for half of the world's economy and notable progress has been made in science and technology, education, social development, culture and many other areas.

Countries have met at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is eroding decades of gains in global development; the implementation of the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is encountering difficulties; the North-South divide continues to widen and crises are emerging in food and energy security. At the same time, people in all countries are keener about pursuing peace, development and cooperation; emerging markets and developing countries are more resolved to seek strength through unity, and the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is bringing greater opportunities to countries around the world.

President Xi Jinping underlined that this is an era rife with challenges, but it is also an age full of hope. There is a need to get a good grasp of the overarching development trend in the world; to firm up confidence and act in concert and with great motivation to promote global development and foster a development paradigm featuring benefits for all, balance, coordination, inclusiveness, win-win cooperation and common prosperity.

Firstly, international consensus on promoting development need to be jointly built. Only when people all over the world live better lives can prosperity be sustained, security safeguarded and human rights solidly grounded. It is important to put development front and centre on the international agenda in view of fully delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and building political consensus to ensure that everyone values development and all countries pursue cooperation together.

Secondly, it is crucial to jointly create an enabling international environment for development. If protectionist measures continue, anyone attempting to form exclusive blocs will end up isolating themselves. Maximum sanctions serve no one's interest, and decoupling and supply disruption practices are neither feasible nor sustainable. It is important to pursue development in real earnest and promote it in concert; to build an open world economy and shape a more just and equitable global governance system and institutional environment.

Thirdly, it is useful to jointly promote new drivers for global development. It is important to promote science, technology and institutional innovation; to speed up technology transfer and knowledge sharing; to boost the development of modern industries; to bridge the digital divide, and accelerate the low-carbon transition, with a view to achieving stronger, greener and healthier global development.

Fourthly, we need to jointly forge a global development partnership. Only by working together can we accomplish great things with a far-reaching impact. Developed countries need to fulfil their obligations; developing countries need to deepen cooperation, and the North and the South need to work in the same direction to forge a united, equal, balanced and inclusive global development partnership. In this process, no country or individual should be left behind. It is important that we support the United Nations in steering and coordinating global development cooperation, and encourage business communities, social groups, media and think tanks to take part in such cooperation.

President Xi emphasised that the People's Republic of China has always been a member of the big family of developing countries. China will take pragmatic steps to provide continued support to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The People's Republic of China will allocate more resources for global development cooperation. It will upgrade the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund into a Global Development Cooperation Fund. It will also increase its contribution to the UN Trust Fund for Peace and Development. Such efforts will further support cooperation within the Global Development Initiative (GDI).

China will work with all parties to advance cooperation in priority areas, and mobilise resources for development to deepen global cooperation on poverty reduction and eradication. It will build capacity for food production and supply, and promote clean energy partnerships. It will step up innovation, research and development, and joint production of vaccines. It will work on the conservation and sustainable use of land and marine ecology, and enhance literacy and citizens' skills. It will transform and upgrade the path to industrialisation at a faster pace, and enhance connectivity in the digital age to give new momentum to all countries' development. China will set up a platform for sharing experience and knowledge on international development, as well as a global development promotion centre and a global knowledge network for development to exchange governance experiences. It will host a global forum on youth development and take part in the launch of a global action plan on youth development, in a bid to pool as much strength as possible for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

President Xi Jinping emphasised that, as an ancient Chinese saying goes – "With one heart and one mind, we can accomplish everything we aspire for" -. the People' Republic of China will firm up confidence, and stride forward in pursuit of a high-quality partnership to usher in a new era of prosperity and development in which there are no countries in charge, and their colonies in obedience.

The personalities participating in the Dialogue made their own comments. They thanked the People's Republic of China for initiating and hosting this high-level Dialogue on global development and highlighted President Xi's insights on global development cooperation.

Emerging markets and developing countries are a crucial force in building a fairer and more balanced international order and promoting peace, security, equality and development. They need to strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and work with the international community to bring the issue of development to the fore so as to build a better world that meets the needs and expectations of most developing countries. This Dialogue has helped the parties to reach new understandings on international development cooperation; to safeguard the developing countries' common interests, and to give new momentum for maintaining world peace and promoting common development.

The Heads of State and Government participating in the Dialogue agreed that development is the foundation of security. They said that China's initiatives address the concerns and meet the needs of developing countries, and they support forging international consensus; mobilising resources for development; and accelerating the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They hoped to step up cooperation in several areas, including epidemic prevention and control, food safety and energy security.

The parties also expressed serious concerns about the negative impact and spillover of unilateral sanctions and the heavy toll paid by developing countries, which are more vulnerable than rich countries, and – as colonies – are in the grip of Western imperialism. The parties emphasised the need to practise true multilateralism, uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, support equity and justice, and advance reforms in the global governance system.

They argued that emerging markets and developing countries should coordinate and cooperate to the best of their abilities; strive for greater representation and voice in international affairs; ensure the continued sound functioning of the international economic and financial system; and work for the ongoing recovery and sustainable development of the world economy.

The BRICS and developing countries participating in the Dialogue fully expressed their political consensus on global development and the implementation of appropriate measures for practical cooperation in the priority areas under China's Global Development Initiative (GDI).
Fuzhou Initiative on Industrial Cooperation by BRICS Presidency (Фучжоуская инициатива по промышленному сотрудничеству председательства БРИКС) / China, July, 2022
Keywords: concluded_agreements

The BRICS High-Level Forum on Sustainable Development takes place in Fuzhou, from June 29th to 30th, 2022. The Forum has been written into the Beijing Declaration issued at the 14th BRICS Summit. As an important BRICS event held after the Summit, it is a positive response to the deepening consensus among BRICS countries and a strong action to implement the spirit of President Xi Jinping's BRICS series speeches and the Beijing Declaration.

The theme of the Forum is "shaping the future of BRICS value chains", and the mainline is "facilitating the recovery of world economy after Covid-19, promoting economic connectivity and mutual benefits to build a sustainable future together". The Forum actively promotes BRICS countries to leverage respective strengths and promote effective cooperation in the fight against Covid-19, accelerating digital development and transformation, strengthening resilience of industry chains and supply chains, and promoting green and low-carbon development. It builds an important platform for communication and cooperation among governments, the business community and research institutions. The Forum has reached broad consensus and achieved complete success. As the rotating chair, China issues the following initiative:

Over the past 16 years, the BRICS cooperation mechanism has developed into an all-round, wide-ranging and multi-level framework. It has made important contributions to continuously promoting world economic growth, improving global economic governance, accelerating the application of science and technology, enhancing cultural exchanges and safeguarding the overall interests of emerging market countries and developing countries. It has become an example for cooperation between emerging markets and developing countries and laid a solid foundation for the development of multilateral cooperation in the world.

We believe the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 epidemic has brought challenges to the economic and social development of all countries including BRICS countries. As leaders of emerging markets and large developing countries, BRICS countries should exchange on needs and cooperate in information sharing, vaccine research and development, and medical assistance, provide high-quality public health governance programs, improve global public health governance, revive economic activities and social activities, and foster a more secure and stable development environment.

We believe the fourth industrial revolution characterized by digitalization, networking and intelligence is booming, and a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation supported by IT application is accelerating. The global economic structure is facing profound adjustment, new competition tracks are emerging, which will create more new opportunities and impetus for economies including BRICS countries. BRICS countries should accelerate the development of digital economy, discuss common problems and deepen mutual cooperation to catch up with the express train of digital era development and share the dividends of digital economy.

We believe the original international division of labor and specialization mode is facing adjustment, the reconstruction of global value chain is accelerating, and the task of ensuring the security, stability and resilience of the industrial chain and supply chain is becoming more and more important. Faced with the spread of unilateralism and protectionism, BRICS countries should strengthen the promotion of multilateralism, comprehensively promote in-depth cooperation across the board, and build an industrial and supply chain cooperation system featuring complementation, resilience, and mutual benefit.

We believe BRICS countries should jointly build a community of life on earth, promote the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change, abide by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, create an effective cooperation mechanism, speed up the formation of a green development mode and lifestyle, and take active actions in industrial structure optimization, global energy governance, and climate change response, so as to jointly promote global sustainable development.

We emphasize that achieving mutual benefit and win-win results is an important goal of deepening BRICS partnership. BRICS countries should adhere to the cooperation idea of "putting pragmatism and innovation first", focus on coping with respective economic and social challenges, strengthen policy communication with each other, expand cooperation areas, tap cooperation potential and enhance cooperation effectiveness. To this end, China appeal and advocate:

——Better enhance institutionalized cooperation to promote post-Covid-19 economic recovery. We should by adhering to the principles of sharing, reciprocity and openness, building collaborative platforms, leveraging cooperation advantages, work hand in hand to strengthen industrial cooperation, and make development more resilient to inject strong impetus into economic recovery in the post-epidemic era and create the "BRICS Synergy" to deal with COVID-19 epidemic.

——Better promote diversified collaboration, and jointly strengthen economic bonds and achieve win-win results. We should uphold the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, innovate the investment and financing mode, promote the cooperation between government and social capital, improve the financial service network, and promote the establishment of a stable, sustainable and risk-controllable financial security system, encourage the New Development Bank to support related infrastructure construction in line with its mandate to form the "BRICS Model" of financial assistance for multilateral cooperation.

——Better promote digital transformation, and jointly create advantages in economic development. We should follow the trend of IT application, digitization, networking and intelligent application, break through digital technology barriers, promote common prosperity of the digital economy, connectivity of digital infrastructure, and shared benefit and governance of digital security to reach the "BRICS Practice" of international cooperation in digital economy.

——Better lead green development, and jointly build a sustainable future. The industrial interlink of BRICS countries will continue to inject healthy forces into important fields such as global climate governance, climate change response, sustainable development and etc., promote the development of green and low-carbon economy, expand green financing, improve industrial layout, promote BRICS countries to play a leading and exemplary role in low-carbon transformation of the world economy, and provide the "BRICS Plan" for low-carbon and green development.

To this end, we call on all member countries to give full play to their enthusiasm and creativity to promote pragmatic industrial cooperation among BRICS countries, and make "BRICS brand more influential".

China is willing to continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation to contribute wisdom and strength for the sustainable development of BRICS countries!
World of Work
BRICS media urged to focus on global development cooperation at high-level forum (СМИ БРИКС призвали сосредоточиться на глобальном сотрудничестве в целях развития на форуме высокого уровня) / China, July, 2022
Keywords: media, global_governance

BEIJING, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Media outlets of BRICS countries were urged on Friday to focus on global development cooperation at the Fifth BRICS Media Forum held in Beijing.

Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, attended the forum and delivered a speech.

Huang said that Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently made important speeches on strengthening BRICS cooperation and advancing global development. These speeches have drawn a new blueprint for and injected new impetus into BRICS cooperation and development, he added.

Citing the responsibilities and missions entrusted to the BRICS media by the times and the common expectations of people from across the world, Huang called on media outlets of BRICS countries to champion development, focus on global development cooperation, and work together to forge a united, equal, balanced and inclusive global development partnership.

Huang urged efforts to consolidate the foundation of solidarity, promote the pursuit of the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and provide more stabilizing and positive momentum for jointly building a community of security for humanity.

Huang also called for efforts to build a bridge of friendship, carry forward the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, and boost the BRICS cooperation.

Hosted by Xinhua News Agency, the Fifth BRICS Media Forum was themed "Building BRICS Consensus, Promoting Global Development." Nearly 300 representatives from more than 170 media outlets and institutions in 73 countries and regions attended the forum either online or offline.
Fifth BRICS Media Forum issues action plan (Пятый Медиафорум БРИКС обнародовал план действий) / China, July, 2022
Keywords: media, cooperation

BEIJING, July 8 (Xinhua) -- The Fifth BRICS Media Forum on Friday issued the Action Plan of the BRICS Media Forum for 2022-2023.

The world is enduring a new period of turbulence and transformation, and the international community's pursuit of peace and development, fairness and justice, democracy and freedom, and win-win cooperation has become all the more vital, says the action plan.

Noting that BRICS countries need dialogue and cooperation more than ever, the action plan urges the media organizations of the BRICS countries to play their role as bridges to generate strong synergy for ensuring a high-quality BRICS partnership and strengthening the BRICS mechanism to the fullest extent.

In order to usher in a new era of BRICS media cooperation, the BRICS Media Forum upholds the principle of joint development and mutual benefit, and is committed to supporting and facilitating BRICS media to jointly carry out a series of actions, the action plan says.

On sharing the BRICS stories and promoting peace and development, the action plan highlights issues such as peace, economic growth, solidarity against COVID-19, food security, climate change and digital governance. We will plan joint interviews, carry out cooperation on special editions, websites, and news feeds, and undertake joint production for special feature films and live broadcasts on trending topics at different locations. We will launch BRICS news cooperation projects, such as BRICS Influencers and BRICS Link, to promote the core theme of peace and development and generate positive synergy that will benefit the five countries, it says.

On promoting common values and upholding fairness and justice, the action plan says we will work unitedly to share the outcomes of BRICS civilization and wisdom, disseminate the stories of our common values, promote cultural exchanges and mutual learning among our five countries, and foster the common values of humankind. The BRICS media will enhance solidarity and speak with a united voice on major regional and international issues, and champion the legitimate demands of emerging markets and developing countries. We will strengthen cooperation to tackle fake news, clarify fallacies, reject doom and gloom, and oppose any deliberate smear campaigns. We will increase the influence of BRICS perspectives in the international arena, and work together to maintain order in international communication.

On exploring IT empowerment and innovative cooperation models, the action plan says BRICS media outlets are encouraged to optimize their own strengths. We will strengthen mutual learning and exchanges on the application of new technologies and media, such as AI anchors, satellite news, smart content production, smart media broadcasting, and integrated media products, and forge collaboration in areas such as international social media platforms to jointly create a new model of media cooperation.

On promoting the high-quality development of the forum, the action plan says the BRICS Media Forum will implement the XIV BRICS Summit Beijing Declaration, and continue to hold the BRICS international journalism training program. The forum will progressively expand to include more media organizations from emerging markets and developing nations to create larger BRICS media cooperation. Through initiatives like the BRICS Media Joint Photo Exhibitions and other projects, we will actively expand practical cooperation in areas such as news reporting, think tank exchanges, information services, personnel training, and digital media.

The BRICS Media Forum was proposed by Xinhua News Agency in 2015 and jointly initiated with mainstream media outlets from Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa.

This year's event was a high-level media dialogue and exchange event following the 14th BRICS Summit. It was attended by nearly 300 representatives of over 170 media outlets and institutions from 73 countries and regions.
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