Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 21.2018
2018.05.21 — 2018.05.27
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Modi meets Putin in 'informal' meeting in Sochi ("Неформальная" встреча Моди и Путина в Сочи) / India, May, 2018
Keywords: top_level_meeting, vladimir_putin, quotation, narendra_modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Sochi, Russia today for informal talks with Russian President President Vladimir Putin in a visit billed as "further strengthening the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia".

The trip was planned over the course of a few weeks following Putin's re-election and at his invitation; it is likely to have high on its unofficial agenda significant Russian arms sales to India.

"Our Defense Ministries maintain very close contacts and cooperation. It speaks about a very high strategic level of our partnership," Putin told Modi.

He said that the two strategic allies had worked together in many multilateral platforms such as BRICS – along with Brazil, China and South Africa – as well as meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly every year.

Modi thanked Russia for helping India join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The last time the two leaders met was at the September 2017 BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China.

One of the more important issues to dominate talks is the conclusion of Russian arms exports to India, including the advanced anti-missile S-400 weapons system.

With a range of 400 kilometers, S-400 Triumf is designed to shield from air strikes, strategic, cruise, tactical and operating tactical ballistic missiles and medium-range ballistic missiles.

The S-400 is believed to be able to engage all types of aerial targets including aircraft and VLO (Very Low Observable) craft. The S-400 can seek and destroy targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 32 km.

Military analysts say that acquiring the S-400 'Triumf' air defense missile systems will "drastically" boost India's war potential, capacity and capability.

But India has lately come under pressure from the US to cancel the arms weapons purchases from Russia on the pretext that it could violate US congressional sanctions on Moscow.

The two countries have been trying to finalize the arms deal, particularly of the S-400 system, since 2015.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's answers to media questions on the sidelines of President Vladimir Putin's meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sochi, May 21, 2018 (Ответы на вопросы СМИ Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова «на полях» встречи Президента России В.В.Путина с Премьер-министром Индии Н.Моди, Сочи, 21 мая 2018 года) / Russia, May, 2018
Keywords: sergey_lavrov, quotation, mofa

Question: Could you share the outcomes of today's talks with us?

Sergey Lavrov: The talks were long, candid and friendly. Both leaders will continue to talk in informal settings.

In this group we discussed, in fact, all areas of our particularly privileged strategic partnership – this is how we refer to the Russia-India relationship. We focused particularly on the economy, in part the steady growth in trade of about 20 per cent last year and about 40 per cent in the first months of this year. We spoke in detail about the steps to be taken to ensure a strong economic foundation for the summit, which will be held in India in early October. In this regard, we noted the successful work of the joint Priority Investment Projects Group and the activities of the corresponding departments of our respective governments in developing a new mechanism. I'm talking about the action strategy for trade, economic and investment cooperation.

Energy issues were discussed extensively. Oil supplies from Russia to India increased tenfold over the past year. There are major plans for continuing cooperation between our oil corporations, primarily, Rosneft, which now enjoys an established presence on the Indian market. With regard to gas, Gazprom renewed this year the agreement with its Indian partners on supplying liquefied natural gas. Gazprom Neft has interesting plans and is also conducting negotiations with its Indian partners.

Well, we also covered the high-tech sphere such as nuclear power. All technical issues regarding the construction of the fifth and sixth units of the Kudankulam NPP have been worked through. The practical work is about to begin. We talked about plans in the sphere of peaceful use of nuclear energy. India is serious about taking an active part in implementing them.

In addition, we covered cooperation in the sphere of outer space exploration, including cooperation under our GLONASS project, aircraft construction, the automotive industry, pharmaceuticals and the chemical industry.

President Putin and Prime Minister Modi discussed our interaction in international affairs, such as at the UN and as part of the Russia-India-China troika, BRICS, and the SCO of which India became full member last year. We discussed preparations for the next SCO summit, which will be held in Qingdao, China, in early June. A number of documents will be signed there.

Russia and India focus particularly on the action programme to combat extremism, separatism and terrorism. We reaffirmed our support for the Indian initiative, which has been discussed at the UN for several years now, on developing a comprehensive convention on combating terrorism. We fully support it.

Much of the discussion revolved around the trends that we observe in the Asia-Pacific region (APR). President Putin and Prime Minister Modi expressed their unequivocal support for the new security and cooperation architecture in the APR to be based on the principles of non-alignment, openness and equal and indivisible security for all. In this vein, the sides mentioned the trends that are unfolding in Eurasia.

We noted with satisfaction that all formalities in contacts between India and the EAEU have been finalised. Talks are planned to be held in the autumn on creating a free trade zone between the EAEU and India. All these processes are in harmony with the developments in the SCO and relations between our countries and ASEAN members. This "major Eurasian project," as President Putin called it some time ago, is based on "real-life needs," does not shut the door in anyone's face, and is open to all countries which can cooperate in this vast geopolitical space on mutually beneficial terms.

We discussed a number of other areas of our specific interaction in regional and international affairs, in particular, we confirmed that Russia and India will firmly oppose attempts to politicise the OPCW activities, which we recently observed.

Overall, the talks were fairly extensive. I am convinced that the ongoing informal communication between the leaders of Russia and India will be useful and will certainly shape further guidelines for promoting our strategic partnership.

Question: Are you going to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now?

Sergey Lavrov: That is off topic.

Ambassador Anatoly Antonov's answers to media questions regarding BRICS conference in Washington, DC (Ответ посла Анатолия Антонова на вопросы СМИ о конференции БРИКС в Вашингтоне) / Russia, May, 2018
Keywords: quotation, mofa, top_level_meeting, economic_challenges

On May 17 the VI Annual Conference "Doing Business with the BRICS" concluded in Washington. Could you tell us about it?

This Forum organized by an American NGO "Eurasia Center" was founded back in 2013 with support from the Russian Embassy in the U.S. Since then it has established a reputation as the main Washington conference on the BRICS. It is primarily oriented on business and expert communities. Members of diplomatic missions and academic circles from all countries of "the Five" traditionally partake in the event.

In my opinion, the conference gives the U.S. public a unique opportunity to get first-hand information on strategic partnership of the BRICS, on the progress that has been achieved by our alliance in every closely intertwined direction of the pentalateral cooperation - political, economic and social. Not to mention that it is all done jointly and in a constructive way by all embassies of the BRICS countries.

During the conference representatives of Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa also discussed the situation in national economies.

Every country of "the Five" is an indisputable economic leader it their regions. Industrial and, more importantly, innovational potential of the BRICS countries keeps growing - they successfully compete with the most developed international players in manufacturing many types of high-tech products. It is also being noticed by international financial institutions. For instance, the World Bank gave Russia 35th spot in the Doing Business 2018 rating, ahead of other alliance partners - the Bank's representatives discussed this issue during the forum.

What significance does Russia attach to its BRICS membership?

Deeper strategic partnership in BRICS is one of the priorities of Russia's foreign policy. Over the recent years the alliance has "matured" turning into a full-scale mechanism of cooperation. Two summits of the BRICS leaders are held each year - the main one taking place on the sidelines of the "G20" conferences, over 20 meetings on the ministerial level, more than 100 events gathering specialists and experts. A broad framework of specialized partnership has been established, contacts and dialogue between the governments, business circles, scientists and members of the civil society.
We closely interact within the pentalateral format in international organizations - the UN, WTO, IMF and others. We coordinate our steps on pressing issues of international agenda, on combating terrorism and drugs, international information security.

The establishment of the New Development Bank by BRICS countries and a 200 billion dollar Reserve Currency Pool has become momentous for reforming the outdated global financial system, dominated by the Western countries.

I would like to note that the core philosophy of the alliance implies openness. More and more countries show interest to the activities of "the Five", to the mechanisms the BRICS develops and its institutions. The "BRICS-plus" concept that was adopted during the last year's summit in Xiamen facilitates it. It is aimed at establishing "outer circles" of the friends to "the Five", creation of a dialogue venue for regional integration unions of states with emerging and developing economies from different parts of the world.

What are your expectations from the XX BRICS Summit that will take place on July 25-27 in Johannesburg?

I am certain that the anniversary BRICS summit will prove to be quite fruitful. Today, under the chairmanship of our South-African friends, the preparations for the summit are fully underway. In the spotlight - announcement and beginning of new projects of cooperation aimed at prosperity growth and better living conditions for our citizens.

A lot of interesting goals are being set for "the Five", for instance, to use the benefits of the Fourth industrial revolution. It coincides with our efforts to adopt digital economy.

Meanwhile, a series of important ideas are being considered on increasing pentalateral cooperation in peacekeeping, using the vastly rich tourism potential of our countries, joint production of vaccines. We expect that our leaders will adopt Russian proposals during their meeting to establish Energy Research Cooperation Platform and a BRICS Business Women Alliance, as well as to increase pentalateral cooperation in international information security.

Important steps in preparation for the Johannesburg summit will be the meeting between BRICS foreign ministers on June 4 in Pretoria and the conference of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues on June 28-29 in Durban. During these events the parties with discuss the most pressing issues of international agenda and current global challenges.

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
The Costs of Obtaining and Maintaining a Patent in the BRICS Economies (Затраты на получение и поддержание патента в странах БРИКС) / USA, May, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, economic_challenges, innovations
Author: Anthony de Andrade & Venkatesh Viswanath

BRICS is an acronym for an association of five countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The building block for BRICS was laid more than a decade-and-a-half ago. In a paper that he authored in 2001, Jim O'Neill (the then-Chief Economist at Goldman Sachs) coined the term BRIC, labeling the first four economies as "emerging superstars most likely to dominate the 21stcentury globalized economy" (Ian Bremmer; 2017), with South Africa to be added later.

What began as informal annual meetings between the Foreign Ministers quickly transpired into formal meetings at the level of the Heads of States, with the holding of the First Summit in 2009 in Yekaterinburg, Russia. South Africa subsequently got inducted into the group in 2010, which led to the acronym being changed from BRIC to BRICS.

Though Goldman Sachs subsequently shut down its BRICS Investment Fund towards the end of 2015, the five economies continue to be prime and lucrative targets for investment.

Economic Potential and Significance

Over the last 25 years, the BRICS economies have been at the forefront of a paradigm shift in the sands of the global economy towards developing economies. This is exemplified by their share in the global economy, which has increased by more than two-and-a-half times during this period, and stood at approximately 30% in 2014 (Daniel Mminele; 2016).

As per the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), China and India are expected to sustain their growth this year as well, while Russia and Brazil are expected to bounce back after navigating the high seas of economic turbulence last year. In the words of Federico Bonaglia, Deputy Director of OECD Development Center, the "BRICS economies play a very important role by injecting dynamism into the world economy" (Financial Tribune; 2017).

Patenting in the BRICS Economies

The State Intellectual Property Office ("SIPO") of China is part of the "IP5" group, which also includes the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Japan Patent Office, the European Patent Office, and the Korean Intellectual Property Office. The group is a forum of the five largest Intellectual Property offices in the world and was "set up to improve the efficiency of the examination process for patents worldwide."

For the last few years, the SIPO has been in the midst of a meteoric explosion in patent application filings which, in turn, has almost single-handedly been powering the global growth in patent applications. In 2015, it became the first ever Intellectual Property office to record more than one million patent application filings in a year.

This record in 2015 was further followed by a robust growth of 21% in 2016. As per the World Intellectual Property Indicators 2017 report published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, close to 1.47 million patent applications were collectively filed in the BRICS jurisdictions in 2016, with China alone accounting for 1.3 million patent applications.

Patent Grant Times and Patent Backlog

Of the five BRICS economies, Brazil and India hold large stocks of pending applications. In fact, the WIPO report referenced above-identified India and Brazil as among the slowest offices to reach a final decision on a patent application in 2016. On the other hand, patent backlog does not seem to be as serious an issue in China and Russia.

A variety of measures have been initiated in India and Brazil in recent times to tackle the patent backlog menace and to speed up patent grant timeframes. The recruitment of 458 new examiners at the Indian Patent Office is beginning to bear fruit and is resulting in the quicker processing of applications. Likewise, the year 2017 marked a 7.6% decrease in the backlog in Brazil due to the recruitment of 210 examiners and the simplification of processes.

Further, in January 2018, the Brazilian Patent Office commenced a pilot measure aimed at expediting the patent grant process. This pilot measure involves the issuance of a pre-examination opinion based on prior art indicated by other Intellectual Property offices (Di Blasi, Parente & Associados; 2018). In addition, the Brazilian Government also stirred the hornet's nest with its announcement that it is considering the adoption of an emergency proposal to grant all pending, non-pharmaceutical patent applications (Ricardo Nunes & Rafael Salomão Romano; 2018).

Unlike the other four economies, South Africa follows a depository system and, thus, patent backlog is of no concern right now. However, the Department of Trade and Industry, in its draft Intellectual Property policy, has proposed the introduction of substantive search and examination, which could cause substantial delays in the patent grant process, especially in the early stages (Bheki Zulu, Maanda Phosiwa, and Mehluli Ncube; 2018).

The Costs of Patenting in the BRICS Economies

Let us now study the costs involved in obtaining and maintaining a patent in the BRICS economies. Since a patent is typically maintained for at least six to ten years, we shall consider the costs from March 2018 through March 2027. There are three categories of costs involved: official fees, attorney charges, and translation costs.

For the purposes of this article, we shall consider a patent specification drafted in English comprising 45 pages (including five pages of drawings), 15 claims, and three independent claims, which is to be filed electronically by a company (i.e. large entity) in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

For the above scenario, the total costs to file a patent application, get the patent issued, and maintain the patent are approximately $41,000. These estimates are based on the values found within the fee schedules supplied by at least five independent Intellectual Property law associates in each jurisdiction and are inclusive of Value Added Tax (added to the attorney charges and translation costs) in China and Russia.

As shown in Table 1, the estimated costs are spread across the five different stages of the patenting process: Filing, Examination, Prosecution, Grant, and Annuities/Renewal Fees/Maintenance Fees.

Patent Filing and Translation Costs

The estimated filing costs are inclusive of the official fees for each page of the specification in excess of 30 pages in China and India, and the attorney charges for handling the excess pages; the official fees for each claim in excess of 10 claims in China and India, and the attorney charges for handling the additional claims; Power of Authority stamping charges in India; and the official fees for each claim in excess of 10 claims in Russia.

Translation of the specification into the official language is mandatory in Brazil, China, and Russia. The costs of translating 40 pages of a patent specification into Portuguese, Chinese, and Russian constitute a handsome proportion of between 60% and 75% of the total filing costs.

Patent Examination Costs

The estimated costs of requesting a substantive examination are inclusive of the official fees for requesting an examination of each claim in excess of 10 claims in Brazil and the official fees for requesting an examination of each independent claim in excess of one independent claim in Russia. In Russia, where the official fee depends on the timing of the request for examination filing, it is assumed that the request is not filed at the time of filing the patent application.

Patent Prosecution, Translation, and Grant Costs

The estimated prosecution costs are based on a formal objection being issued in South Africa, and between 1.5 and 2.5 office actions with substantive objections being issued in Brazil, China, India, and Russia. These costs are inclusive of the attorney charges for reporting an office action, preparing a response, and processing the response.

As is the case with filing, translation is also required during prosecution in Brazil, China, and Russia. Assuming 10 pages of translation per prosecution action, the estimated translation costs constitute between 21% and 45% of the total prosecution costs.

With the exception of South Africa and India, an official grant fee (or registration fee or issue fee) is charged in the other three jurisdictions.

Patent Maintenance Costs

The estimated patent maintenance fees, when expressed as a percentage of the total estimated costs, are more or less similar in China, India, and Russia, and approximately vary between 18% of the total estimated costs in Russia, where the patent maintenance fees doubled with effect from October 6, 2017, to 23% of the total estimated costs in China.

In China, where patent maintenance fees begin at the grant stage, with the first patent maintenance fee being payable along with the official grant fee in respect of the year in which the patent has been granted, the estimated patent maintenance costs are based on a patent being issued in 2022. Likewise, in Brazil, where the quantum of patent maintenance fee to be paid depends on whether the application is pending or whether the patent has been granted, the estimated patent maintenance costs are based on a patent being issued in 2026.

In Brazil and South Africa, the estimated patent maintenance fees constitute approximately 29% and 41% of the total estimated costs, respectively.

Patenting is a game of strategy, one that involves a cocktail of considerations, including business considerations, market considerations, and last but not least, budget considerations. The world is a global digital village in which companies know no boundaries, with the entire world being their playground. In such a scenario, it is imperative that due deliberation be given for the inclusion of vibrant economies with high growth rates and high potential for growth, such as the BRICS economies, in the formulation of a global patent filing strategy.

However, developing a patent filing strategy that includes one or more of the BRICS economies could be highly challenging due to the presence of a bundle of varying national legislations, each mandating its own set of procedures. Having a precise idea of the stage-wise costs that could be incurred will go a long way in facilitating strategic decision-making and budget forecasting. This will also ensure that no major setbacks or shocks occur downstream during the patenting process, such as a high variance occurring between the budgeted spend and the actual spend, which could force the underlying teams to scramble back to the drawing board to determine cost-cutting avenues.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's participation in a BRICS Council of Foreign Ministers meeting (Участие Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова в заседании Совета министров иностранных дел БРИКС) / Russia, May, 2018
Keywords: mofa, sergey_lavrov, top_level_meeting

On June 4, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend a meeting of the BRICS Council of Foreign Ministers held in Pretoria, South Africa.

The BRICS ministers will discuss a wide range of issues pertaining to the maintenance of international peace and stability, the global economy, interaction between the BRICS countries and the coordination of their positions in the complicated conditions of global political turbulence. They will hold in-depth talks on the situation in the world's trouble spots and common goals in the face of new challenges and threats, primarily efforts against international terrorism and for international information security. The ministers will highlight preparations for the 10th BRICS summit, which will take place in Johannesburg on July 25-27.

One of Russia's priorities is to promote strategic partnership among the BRICS countries. Over the past years, this group of five large rising economies has developed from an interest club into a comprehensive mechanism of multifaceted strategic partnership. The BRICS leaders meet twice a year, once for their summit meeting and also on the sidelines of the G20 meetings, as well as holding some 100 official events, including about 20 ministerial meetings. The group has developed a network of industry-specific cooperation, contacts and cooperation between their business and research communities and civil societies.

The five BRICS countries are working towards indivisible security, stronger international stability in all dimensions, collective efforts to settle crises by political and diplomatic means, and multilateralism. They reject military interventions, unilateral economic enforcement measures, protectionism and unfair competition. The BRICS countries are working together to protect the system of multilateral trade based on the central role of the WTO as the only universal platform for formulating the rules of global trade.

The BRICS countries are working to find new sources of economic growth. The group played a major role in promoting the reform of the IMF. It has created the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement to help modernise the architecture of global governance and financial security. The five BRICS countries support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The BRICS countries are focused on consolidating and diversifying the mechanisms of multifaceted cooperation and finding new spheres of cooperation. BRICS is open to the world and is consistently expanding its ties with concerned countries and integration associations.

NDB president meets Brazil's Minister of Foreign Relations in Shanghai (Президент НБР встретился с министром иностранных дел Бразилии в Шанхае) / China, May, 2018
Keywords:ndb, top_level_meeting

On 21 May 2018, Mr. K.V. Kamath, the NDB President met Mr. Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, the Minister of Foreign Relations of the Federative Republic of Brazil in the NDB Office in Shanghai.

During the meeting, the NDB President provided an update on the Bank's operations and its plans for 2018-2019, including the opening of Americas Regional Office (ARO) in Brazil. Current and potential projects in Brazil were discussed.

Americas Regional Office will increase operational capabilities of the NDB and facilitate identification and preparation of bankable projects in Brazil. Together with the Africa Regional Center opened in Johannesburg, South Africa, the ARO will progressively support a growing range of the Bank's operations.

"NDB has a highly professional team. The bank knows the needs and challenges of emerging and developing economies. Brazil's aim to working closely and in cooperation with the bank is very strong. In the same way, we are confident on NDB's resolve to support projects beneficial for the Brazilian people", minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira underlined.

The New Development Bank is a multilateral development bank established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in 2014. The Bank is mandated to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
BRICS forum presents award to late actress Sridevi (Форум БРИКС вручает награду покойной актрисе Шридеви) / India, May, 2018
Keywords: social_issues

New Delhi: Late veteran actress Sridevi was posthumously conferred with the BRICS Business Forum Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement in Indian Cinema. Reena Marwah, sister of actor-producer Boney Kapoor, husband of late Sridevi, received the award and memento from Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Dr. Jitendra Singh and Larisa Zelentsova, President of the International Alliance of BRICS (Strategic Projects) and Representative in ECOSOC UN.
Sridevi passed away on the night of February 24 in Dubai, where she had gone to attend a family wedding. Her last rites took place at Vile Parle's Seva Samaj Crematorium and the Hindu Cemetery with full state honours in Mumbai on February 28.

The veteran actress was earlier posthumously honoured with the 'Best Actress' award for her performance in her last movie 'Mom', at 65th National Film Awards held in New Delhi earlier this month.

During her five decade long career in films, Sridevi, 54, starred in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam, and Kannada films. She was widely regarded as Indian cinema's first female superstar. Prior to her tragic demise, she was a recipient of a National Film Award, two Filmfare Awards and three Filmfare Awards South.

In 2013, the Government of India awarded Sridevi the Padma Shri, the country's fourth highest civilian accolade for her contributions to the entertainment industry. Honorary awards were also conferred on her by the state governments of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

Sridevi was also voted 'India's Greatest Actress in 100 Years' in a CNN-IBN national poll conducted in 2013 on the occasion of the centenary of Indian cinema.She was married to the film producer Boney Kapoor, with whom she had two children.

The BRICS Alliance Business Forum was formed on the basis of the idea that innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration are the only decisive factors in the shaping of strong economies. The BRICS Alliance Business Forum aims to bring together business leaders, business facilitators, investors, entrepreneurs, and professionals from around the world.
African News Agency signs strategic partnership with TV BRICS (Африканское информационное агентство подписывает стратегическое партнерство с ТВ БРИКС) / South Africa, May, 2018
Keywords: concluded_agreements
South Africa

CAPE TOWN - The African News Agency (ANA) on Thursday signed a historic partnership with TV BRICS to promote cultural exchange, and to distribute African content amongst the people of the BRICS nations.

TV BRICS chief executive Pavel Pautov said that modern media, including social media, were being developed by revolutionary methods but all were formed on the quality content bases, which might be distributed in both traditional and new media.

"TV BRICS and ANA join their cooperative efforts in order to provide the quality television and digital product to their audiences in BRICS countries. We are thankful for this opportunity to establish a relationship with such a recognised media partner as ANA."

The signing of the partnership comes on the eve of South Africa hosting a series of BRICS events in July. These include the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg and the BRICS Business Council and 3rd BRICS Film Festival in Durban.

Pavel Pautov (left), CEO of TV BRICS, signs the agreement with Amit Makan CEO of ANA Video. PHOTO: Courtney Africa/ANA Commenting on the partnership, Grant Fredericks, ANA chief executive, said that the ANA-TV BRICS partnership was part of a strategic alignment in terms of providing a broad base of viewpoints and further fostering important international exchange co-operation agreements.

The five areas of co-operation include joint content production, joint multimedia platforms, experience exchange and human resource training, joint festivals and competitions, and content and information exchange.

The total estimated population of BRICS countries is three billion, including nearly 1,5 billion internet users, making this an important opportunity to communicate with this audience.

Amit Makan, chief executive of ANA Video, said: "This strategic content partnership between TV BRICS and the African News Agency (ANA) will be of immense benefit to South African, African and BRICS audiences in the broadcast and online television space, and will deepen mutual respect, cultural exchange, and understanding amongst the people of the BRICS nations. Furthermore, it is in alignment and in support of South Africa's international relations policy of South-South cooperation."

TV BRICS is an initiative proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the intended goal to form a common informational space amongst BRICS countries to speed up the processes of economic development and improve the welfare of people.

On the establishment of TV BRICS, chairperson of the South African chapter of the BRICS business council, Dr. Iqbal Survé, said: "This is a significant initiative and an important step towards deepening political, economic and cultural cooperation amongst BRICS countries and of course, showing what is happening in these countries."

The content TV BRICS is interested in includes culture, history, education, health, sport, economics and technology about and from BRICS countries. TV BRICS will be broadcast in Russian, Chinese, Portuguese and English. The official launch of the international network and public TV channel TV BRICS will take place in Russia as part of the 12th BRICS Summit in 2020.

South African filmmakers and content producers with an interest in contributing short form or long form video content for distribution across TV BRICS and the African News Agency networks can contact Lola Mashabane

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