Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum

Monitoring of the economic, social and labor situation in the BRICS countries
Issue 29.2022
2022.07.18 — 2022.07.25
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Why China wants to expand BRICS (Почему Китай хочет расширить БРИКС) / India, July, 2022
Keywords: brics+, expert_opinion

China's purpose to expand BRICS is to promote its agenda and grand strategy more forcefully through the BRICS mechanism and stage and diplomatically ease the containment of the US.
The recently concluded 14th BRICS Leaders' Meeting in Beijing has once again brought the issue of BRICS expansion into the limelight. This is the second time since the 2017 Xiamen Summit that China has expressed its interest in expanding the group of emerging economies. There have been reports that Iran and Argentina have also announced their interest in formally joining the group. At a time when China and India are locked in a deadly stalemate at the Line of Actual Control, the Chinese proposal to expand BRICS has raised concern in New Delhi. As India determines its stance on this contentious issue, it is important to look into the factors driving China's BRICS strategy.

Chinese analysts are of the opinion that the economic distress in these countries has been causing domestic political changes, which, in turn, is weakening the BRICS countries' common identity, position, and enthusiasm to continue promoting the cooperation mechanism.

The growing chorus in China is that of late, BRICS has started showing signs of weakness, has been in retreat, and is lacking coherence in actions. Therefore, by replenishing fresh blood—attracting new members—China plans to inject new impetus into its development. As per the Chinese assessment, the economic performance of BRICS including China, in the past seven or eight years, has deteriorated. In other words, "golden BRICS" has turned into "stone BRICS" (金砖变成石砖). The era of rapid growth of BRICS seems to have passed, most strikingly for member countries like Brazil, South Africa, and Russia. While Brazil's economy grew at an average annual rate of 1 percent in 2017, South Africa's average annual GDP growth has been around 1.2 percent during the same time. Meanwhile, Russia's GDP grew 0.7 percent in 2014, -2 percent in 2015, 0.2 percent in 2016, and 1.8 percent in 2017.

Chinese analysts are of the opinion that the economic distress in these countries has been causing domestic political changes, which, in turn, is weakening the BRICS countries' common identity, position, and enthusiasm to continue promoting the cooperation mechanism. For example, Brazil and South Africa, which have poor economic performance and unstable domestic political situations, are unwilling to prioritise the BRICS agenda, which they believe will weaken their foreign policy flexibility, and thereby, jeopardise their national interests.[1]

Now, with the pandemic and the Russia–Ukraine war, the situation has turned grimmer with the original international competitiveness of the BRICS countries clearly losing traction. On the contrary, the economies of developed countries, represented by the United States (US) and the West, are gradually showing signs of recovery. Still occupying a leading position in a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation, the US has begun to try and regain its leadership of the global economy.[2] At a time when the overall strength of the BRICS countries has been declining and facing heightened competition from traditional developed country-led cooperation mechanisms, China feels that limiting the BRICS mechanism to its original five members will further reduce its overall global influence and right to speak at global platforms. Hence, China's interest in further expanding BRICS members.

Still occupying a leading position in a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation, the US has begun to try and regain its leadership of the global economy.

The second reason is the intensifying China–US competition. Chinese observers note how in the Obama era, the G2 proposition had weakened the significance of BRICS for Chinese foreign policy. However, under the Trump presidency, as the meaning of G2 quickly turned from high-level cooperation to high-decibel confrontation, a larger, better coordinated BRICS became China's priority. It was also in 2017 when China, for the first time, proposed the concept of an expanded BRICS. Now, with Biden in power, Chinese observers believe that the 'new Cold War'—initiated during the Trump era—has been taken to a higher level.

For instance, in the backdrop of the Russia–Ukraine war, Europe has been dragged into a new Cold War environment, wherein a cohesive western bloc has been formed, comprising the US and Europe, like the old Cold War era. The Russian–Ukrainian war, they note, has become an excellent glue between the US and Europe. On the other hand, it is argued that in Asia, the US is driving more and more countries—Japan, Australia, India, New Zealand, and South Korea—into 'smaller circles' like the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, AUKUS, and even into North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Of particular concern to China is how amidst heightened geopolitics, trade conflicts, the impact of the epidemic, and industrial upgrading, the global industrial chain is being restructured at an accelerated pace and efforts are being made to replace the existing 'US+West+China' industrial model by newer models, particularly a 'US+West+India' model. This, they argue, is aimed at isolating China and delivering a blow to China's power and position in the upcoming fourth wave of industrialisation. It is against this background that China wants to expand BRICS, promote " a community of supply chains interests," and get more and more emerging economies from all over the world to join the BRICS (read China's) supply chain. By deeply embedding these countries in a China-led supply chain, potential competitors like India can be neutralised, and any effort of excluding or replacing China in the current round of reorganisation of supply chains can be thwarted.

Of particular concern to China is how amidst heightened geopolitics, trade conflicts, the impact of the epidemic, and industrial upgrading, the global industrial chain is being restructured at an accelerated pace and efforts are being made to replace the existing 'US+West+China' industrial model by newer models, particularly a 'US+West+India' model.

To sum up, for China, the purpose of the new round of BRICS expansion is to diplomatically ease the containment of the US and promote China's agenda and grand strategy more forcefully through the BRICS mechanism and stage, while preventing existing BRICS members, particularly India, from drifting too far into the US/western camp.[3]

[1] Li Yiping and Fu Yuheng , "国际合作中的领导权竞争:以"一带一路"倡议与金砖国家合作的战略对接为例", Southeast Academic Research, 2019, (03), 118-129+248

[2] Zhao Chunzhe, "China's thinking and path design for improving BRICs cooperation platform", 全球化 2018, (11),81-93+134-135

[3] Wang Zhuo, "Study on Sino-Indian Relation from the Perspective of BRICS", Journal of Changsha University of Science and Technology (Social Science Edition), 2022,37(03):98-107

Building BRICS: Why are Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey considering joining the group? (Строительство БРИКС: почему Саудовская Аравия, Египет и Турция рассматривают возможность присоединения к группе?) / Saudi Arabia, July, 2022
Keywords:brics+, expert_opinion
Saudi Arabia

At a time when the organizations involved in global and regional cooperation seem to have lost momentum in their efforts to find tangible solutions to the conflicts, poverty, climate emergencies and food crises that many countries around the world are facing, BRICS is looking to expand and introduce an alternative global governance. At the same time, its attempts are considered a challenge to the existing world order.

BRICS is a heterogeneous organization composed of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Established in 2006 by the first four countries, it was called BRIC until South Africa joined in 2010. The members hold summits every year and take turns hosting them; This year's gathering was in Beijing and the 2023 summit is scheduled to take place in South Africa.

The member countries, which collectively represent about 27 percent of the world's geographic area and are home to 42 percent of the global population, share significant structural features, such as rapidly growing economies, substantial military capabilities, and increasing political influence in global governance institutions.

According to the International Monetary Fund, China accounts for more than 70 percent of the group's economy, India about 13 percent, Russia and Brazil about 7 percent each, and South Africa 3 percent.

Lately, BRICS has once again caught the attention of the media after the president of the organization's International Forum, Purnima Anand, revealed that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt plan to approach BRICS about official membership. Her statement came soon after Russia's announcement that Argentina and Iran had begun the preparatory process for joining BRICS. The applications are the first expansion move since South Africa joined more than a decade ago.

"All these countries have shown their interest in joining and are preparing to apply for membership," Anand told Russian media. "I believe this is a good step because expansion is always looked upon favorably; it will definitely bolster BRICS' global influence."

She added that while Riyadh, Ankara and Cairo have "already engaged in the (BRICS membership) process," she doubted that all three would join simultaneously.

During the 14th BRICS Leaders' Meeting in Beijing in late June, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized the acceleration of the organization's expansion process. In May this year, the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal, the UAE, Thailand and other guest countries attended a BRICS Foreign Ministers' Meeting for the first time.

In 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a guest at the 10th BRICS summit, in Johannesburg, during which he said: "I wish they (BRICS members) would take the necessary steps to let us (Turkey) in and we could take our place in BRICS." He noted that Turkey considered the summit an opportunity to develop economic, investment and development cooperation, and that his country also aimed to enhance cooperation with BRICS nations in the energy field. Erdogan has also raised Turkey's possible membership application during talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Taken together, all these developments indicate that BRICS could see an expansion process but it might not happen overnight.

The impetus for a BRICS expansion has grown stronger against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Sinem Cengiz

International media outlets are taking an interest in this possible trend. US magazine Newsweek, for example, said that as NATO's "largest expansion in decades" takes place, "Beijing and Moscow were looking to take on new members" in their own blocs and BRICS was mentioned.

The impetus for a BRICS expansion has grown stronger against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, intensifying competition between China and the US, and the increasingly intense confrontation between East and West.

Both East and West aim to consolidate their camps by expanding their networks of friends and partners. BRICS members aim to recruit "node" countries that occupy key strategic locations and growing economies. It is no surprise, therefore, that there is interest in bringing Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia into the camp.

There is some debate about the potential contributions of these three countries, which have a combined population of about 220 million, to BRICS if they were to become permanent members. Much of the discussion has centered around material incentives, such as a variety of economic benefits, reduced dependence on other nations, and multifaceted foreign policy options.

Among the three, Saudi Arabia is one of the world's largest exporters of crude oil, holding 15 percent of global oil reserves, and a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Meanwhile, Russia is a member of OPEC+. This is a larger grouping that includes the 13 members of OPEC plus 10 other oil-producing nations, with the latter led by Russia.

Egypt, the largest of the three potential BRICS members in terms of population (about 102 million), is also an important petroleum producer and exporter.

Turkey, which has a population of more than 85 million, is a member of NATO and so occupies a unique position in the confrontation between East and West.

In the past decade, the trend in Turkish, Egyptian and Saudi relations with Russia, China and India has been positive and they are increasingly entwined in terms of trade and defense. Trade volumes between the two camps has risen significantly.

Although traditionally Western allies, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been actively seeking alternative partners. In part, their tilt toward China, Russia and India is a result of the changing role and position of the US in the region and the resulting shifts in relations with Washington.

BRICS membership might bring them political and economic benefits, but how the expansion process will actually play out remains to be seen.

  • Sinem Cengiz is a Turkish political analyst who specializes in Turkey's relations with the Middle East. Twitter: @SinemCngz
Political West concerned as BRICS offers alternatives which nullify sanctions (Политический Запад обеспокоен тем, что БРИКС предлагает альтернативы, которые аннулируют санкции) / Russia, July, 2022
Keywords: political_issues, expert_opinion

Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst

A measurable unit of true geopolitical power is assessed through economy, finances, military, technologies and other parameters. Being able to exert more power than others has always been the driving force behind all changes in human history. Resources are essential for a (super)power to be able to portray its system as superior (and impose it elsewhere). Whoever gets the largest amount of resources nearly always comes on top. Depending on how these resources are then redistributed, leading powers can be seen as beneficial or malignant for the world. Naturally, there are many gray areas in-between.

Our planet has been through many global and regional stages, which modern-day historians classify using the prefix "Pax" to describe times when certain powers dominate(d) regions or even the world. Thus, in historiography, we regularly use terminology such as "Pax Romana" (Ancient Roman dominance), "Pax Mongolica" (Mongol), "Pax Hispanica" (Spanish), "Pax Britannica" (British), etc. The term itself in this context can be rather confusing at times, as it literally means "peace" in Latin. This usually doesn't include actual peace, as most of the aforementioned empires engaged in policies which often led to the death, destruction and genocide of indigenous societies they targeted for conquest. Additionally, the power of imperial entities usually didn't extend beyond their immediate region, making it possible for them to coexist, with little to no interaction (i.e. the Roman Empire and Ancient China).

However, with the rapid technological advances of the last two centuries, empires have become more powerful, seeking dominance beyond regional borders, paving the way for the rise of true global (super)powers. The British Empire is often considered the first global empire, as it was able to control much of the world through its naval power. Although the "Pax Britannica" effectively collapsed after WWII, many think it survived in the form of "Pax Americana", the US global dominance. Although the belligerent thalassocracy in Washington DC rejects the term, seeking to distance itself from the negative connotations of the extremely damaging Western colonialism, it's nearly impossible to escape this analogy, no matter how many layers of apparent "independence" America gives to its numerous satellites.

The "benefits" of "Pax Americana" are felt all across the globe on a daily basis, as the US has invaded and dismantled dozens of sovereign countries, leaving death, destruction and chaos in its wake. To defend themselves, many countries resorted to building strong militaries, often at the expense of socio-economic development. Others renounced their sovereignty, completely or partially, to get a better standing within "Pax Americana" or even get "their piece of cake".

This is how "Pax Americana" differs from other stages of imperial dominance. Entities under occupation usually aren't part of the US legally speaking, but it's quite clear who's in charge. This also explains why these formally "independent" countries often employ internal and foreign policies which not only aren't in their interest, but actively go against it, causing long-term damage. The imperial metropole doesn't care what happens to its vassals, as long as it profits.

With this predatory system behind most world problems, a need for a fairer and more stable global system emerged. Instead of having "one master to rule them all", this new system allows the existence of multiple power poles which get to keep their respective value systems and vision of future development. This certainly doesn't exclude cooperation on the highest level, but it does protect the true diversity of our planet - the diversity of civilizations, ideas and peoples coexisting peacefully.

As we all know, it's called multipolarism, practically embodied in the form of BRICS+. Encompassing the vast majority of the world population, along with actual, measurable economic power, BRICS isn't simply a rival to the political West. Most alarmingly for the imperialist power pole, it offers clear alternatives (economic, financial, technological, security, etc.), as well as a level of strategic independence the political West would never accept.

In this regard, Russia's military might or China's economic power aren't the only perceived existential threats to the political West. The true threat is precisely the alternative they can offer, shielded by their power, ensuring sovereignty and independence, two of the greatest geopolitical challenges for the so-called "rules-based world order". Middle Eastern trips by Putin and Biden clearly show which system is preferable to the world. As Biden failed to accomplish anything in Saudi Arabia, Putin signed a massive $40-billion gas deal with Iran, in addition to other agreements, including complete dedollarization of Russia-Iran trade.

For its part, the US is openly threatening Iran with yet another war in the Middle East. The excuse is Iran's nuclear program, but the real reason is precisely the BRICS+ alternative which would nullify sanctions. To make matters worse for the imperialist thalassocracies, this alternative is spreading like wildfire to countries whose socio-economic development has been hampered by the political West. Once this happens, the multipolar world will negate any possibility of aggression against these countries, depriving the political West of its plunder-based system.

While countries like Russia, Brazil, Iran, etc. offer essential commodities and natural resources, China and India offer manufactured goods which make our world work. In stark contrast to this stands the political West, with its incessant wars, coups and instability on the global level, all done to sustain what Russian President Vladimir Putin defined as "the economy of imaginary entities". This is certainly true, as the political West produces very little in terms of actual value for the world. Quite the opposite, it keeps printing its fiat currencies and using this effectively worthless paper to obtain actual commodities which others need to extract and/or build. And any attempt to break the chains may cost entire countries their sovereignty or even existence. Precisely BRICS+ is neutralizing this system as we speak.
Powering up BRICS (Активизация БРИКС) / China, July, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion

Group should strengthen cooperation for a greater say in global energy governance

As an important part of the world economy, BRICS countries-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa-play an important role in the international energy market. The BRICS countries are highly complementary in the energy sector, and the potential for their energy cooperation is huge.

According to data released by the UK oil giant BP in its Statistical Review of World Energy 2022, Russia was the world's second-largest crude oil exporter and the largest natural gas exporter last year, while China and India were the world's largest and third-largest crude oil importers respectively. China surpassed the United States to become the world's largest importer of crude oil, both in terms of total imports and net imports. In addition, China and India were also major buyers of natural gas.

At present, the BRICS countries, especially China and India, are in a stage of rapid economic growth, and their demand for energy will continue to rise in the future. There is thus immense potential to be tapped.

But despite the progress made in recent years, the influence of BRICS energy cooperation on the global energy pattern is still limited. Due to historical reasons, the energy trade among the BRICS countries has not been fully developed. According to the BP report, although Russia was the world's largest oil exporter, including crude oil and refined oil, in 2021, 52.62 percent of its crude oil exports went to Europe, and more than 70 percent of its refined oil products and natural gas exports headed to the US and Europe. Only 30.2 percent of Russia's crude oil exports went to China, while exports to other BRICS countries such as India only took up a tiny proportion of Russia's crude oil exports. Although China and India were the world's largest and third-largest net importers of crude oil, their imports mainly came from the Middle East, West Africa and Central and South America. With the recent changes in the global energy supply pattern due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it is expected that more Russian oil and gas will flow to the BRICS countries such as China and India in the future.

From the perspective of global energy supply and demand, the world's two most populous and fastest-growing energy-demanding economies are China and India. China is the world's largest energy consumer and a major source of global energy growth over the past two decades. As China is shifting to a cleaner, low-carbon energy structure, its demand for natural gas will continue to rise rapidly. China's natural gas market is likely to maintain double-digit annual growth in the next few years. China plans to increase the proportion of natural gas in its primary energy consumption to about 15 percent by 2030 from the present less than 9 percent. Although the total energy consumption in India is relatively low, with its large population base, the nation would see huge energy demand if it could maintain a high economic growth rate.

The energy transition of BRICS countries is of great significance to controlling greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change globally. Among the BRICS countries, Russia and China have rich experiences in the construction of nuclear power plants. China has the world's largest industrial production capacity in terms of wind power and photovoltaic power, with its annual installed capacity also topping the world. In addition, China has rich experience in the construction and operations of power infrastructure. BRICS countries can take advantage of the opportunities from the Belt and Road Initiative to strengthen regional cooperation in energy production capacity.

There is broad room for BRICS cooperation in energy security. In 2016, over 30 percent of the global oil supply was shipped via the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. China is not only a major buyer of Russian oil and gas, but also a key channel for its energy exports to the East Asia. In order to ensure energy security, the BRICS countries, especially China, need to further diversify their sources of energy supply. It fits into the common interests of BRICS countries with respect to energy security to strengthen the control of energy routes and the protection of pipeline transportation.

But challenges exist to the energy cooperation among BRICS countries. The development of the international landscape is beneficial to energy cooperation among BRICS countries, however, they will need to make efforts to strengthen their energy ties.

On the one hand, the BRICS countries should increase their strategic mutual trust. At this stage, the primary task of the BRICS, a grouping of developing countries, is boosting their economies and overcoming the middle-income trap. It is important for the countries to realize that they stand to gain from energy cooperation. Through the establishment of a community with shared energy interests based on a reasonable pricing system and stable supply, the interests of the BRICS countries in the energy sector can be linked together.

On the other hand, countries should make full use of their complementary strengths in the energy sector and strengthen bilateral and multilateral regional cooperation. In particular, it is important to strengthen regional cooperation in technology and production capacity among the BRICS members by taking advantage of the opportunities generated by the Belt and Road Initiative. Meanwhile, the countries can work together in establishing a joint energy fund to promote investment and construction of energy infrastructure.

To sum up, the BRICS countries, with their large share of supply and demand in the global energy market, have the potential and conditions to strengthen their energy cooperation and play a more prominent role in the global energy governance. The BRICS members are highly complementary in the energy sector and have broad prospects for regional energy cooperation. But there are also some practical constraints. In order to better promote BRICS energy cooperation, the governments of BRICS countries need to fully consider and balance various factors in their policies.

The author is head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

Contact the editor at

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Targeting the US Dollar's Hegemony: Russia, China, and BRICS Nations Plan to Craft a New International Reserve Currency (Нацеливание на гегемонию доллара США: Россия, Китай и страны БРИКС планируют создать новую международную резервную валюту) / Saint Kitts and Nevis, July, 2022
Keywords: economic_challenges, expert_opinion
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Source: /

While inflation data in Europe and the U.S. has risen significantly higher last month, Russia and members of the BRICS countries revealed leaders in the five major emerging economies are in the midst of "creating an international reserve currency." Analysts believe the BRICS reserve currency is meant to rival the U.S. dollar and the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) currency.

Vladimir Putin Reveals the Creation of a New International Reserve Currency at the 14th BRICS Summit — Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia Consider Joining BRICS

During the last month, the West has been struggling with red hot inflation and energy prices skyrocketing higher. Politicians in the U.K., Europe, and the U.S. have been trying to blame the economic calamity on a number of things like the Ukraine-Russia war and Covid-19.

Data from last month's consumer prices in America and Europe have climbed to all-time highs and many analysts say Western countries are in a recession or about to experience one. Meanwhile, at the end of June, members of the BRICS nations met at the 14th BRICS Summit to discuss world affairs.

The five leaders of the BRICS nations from China, Russia, Brazil, India, and South Africa. During the BRICS Summit, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that the five-member economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa plan to issue a "new global reserve currency."

"The matter of creating the international reserve currency based on the basket of currencies of our countries is under review," Putin said at the time. "We are ready to openly work with all fair partners," he added. Additionally, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are considering joining the BRICS group. Analysts believe the BRICS move to create a reserve currency is an attempt to undermine the U.S. dollar and the IMF's SDRs.

At this year's BRICS Summit, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a new international currency developed by BRICS was in the works. "This is a move to address the perceived U.S.-hegemony of the IMF," the global head of markets at ING, Chris Turner, explained at the end of June. "It will allow BRICS to build their own sphere of influence and unit of currency within that sphere."

While the news of a reserve currency created by BRICS may be a surprise to some, specific accounts about the member countries countering the U.S. dollar have been reported on for quite some time. At the end of May 2022, a Global Times report noted members were urged to end their dependence on the dollar's global dominance.

Russian Business Relations and BRICS Countries Intensify — China's President Xi Jinping Says Countries That 'Obsess With a Position of Strength' and 'Seek Their Own Security at the Expense of Others' Will Fall

Putin explained the following month that "Contacts between Russian business circles and the business community of the BRICS countries have intensified." The Russian president further noted that Indian retail chain stores would be hosted in Russia, and Chinese cars and hardware would be imported regularly. Putin's recent statements and commentary at the BRICS Summit have made people believe the BRICS members are not "just a 'talk shop' anymore."

In addition to South Africa, Russia has also increased foreign aid and has delivered weapons to Sub-Saharan African countries. Furthermore, Putin and other BRICS leaders have been targeting U.S. hegemony and exceptionalism in specific statements published by the media.

Putin has criticized and condemned the U.S. and West for financial sanctions on various occasions throughout the years. At this year's St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin addressed the crowd with a 70-minute speech and talked about the U.S. ruling the world's financial system for years. "Nothing lasts forever," Putin said. "[Americans] think of themselves as exceptional. And if they think they're exceptional, that means everyone else is second class," the Russian president told the forum attendees.

Speaking with Russian ambassadors in a biennial speech, Putin said the West was weakening a great deal in terms of economic power. "Domestic socio-economic problems that have become worse in industrialized countries as a result of the (economic) crisis are weakening the dominant role of the so-called historical West," Putin remarked to the ambassadors. "Be ready for any development of the situation, even for the most unfavorable development."

Russia and Putin have been saying that the U.S. dominance in the world of finance has been dying for years now. In October 2018, speaking at the Valdai forum, Putin said the U.S. sanctioning specific countries (including Russia) would undermine trust in the U.S. dollar.

The Russian president noted that most of the fallen empires have made the same mistake. "It's a typical mistake of an empire," the Russian leader declared at the time. "An empire always thinks that it can allow itself to make some little mistakes, take some extra costs, because its power is such that they don't mean anything. But the quantity of those costs, those mistakes inevitably grows." Putin continued:

And the moment comes when it can't handle them, neither in the security sphere or the economic sphere.

Moreover, in June, Bloomberg published a report about the BRICS Summit and noted that China's president Xi Jinping suggested that NATO was responsible for antagonizing the Russian Federation. Xi also said that certain countries that bolster exceptionalism will falter by suffering from security vulnerabilities.

"Politicizing, instrumentalizing and weaponizing the world economy using a dominant position in the global financial system to wantonly impose sanctions would only hurt others as well as hurting oneself, leaving people around the world suffering," Xi detailed. "Those who obsess with a position of strength, expand their military alliance, and seek their own security at the expense of others will only fall into a security conundrum."

The Financial World Splits in Half: Alternative Payment Rails, Stockpiling Gold, and the Clash of a Robust Dollar and Ruble

The strengthening of the BRICS nations has been going on well before the conflict in Ukraine began. For instance, in 2014, Russia fully developed the System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS), and later the Mir payment system was launched. That same year, in response to the annexation of Crimea, Russia started to stockpile gold in vast amounts.

Financial messages using SPFS have increased a great deal over the years alongside the use of CIPS and the Mir payment system. China has been hoarding massive amounts of gold as well, as both countries hiked their gold reserve purchases a great deal a few years before the war. Russian banks also joined the China International Payments System (CIPS) making it easier for the two countries to trade. In April last year, China opened its borders to billions of dollars of gold imports, according to a report from Reuters.

Both China and Russia have been stockpiling gold over the last few years. Since World War I, the U.S. dollar has been the world's global reserve currency and America emerged as the largest international creditor. Fast forward to today, and the dollar is booming against a number of other currencies, and the USD is the most robust it has been in an entire generation. The U.S. dollar currency index (DXY) gained over 10% this year and outpaced strong currencies like the Japanese yen.

Just recently, the euro met parity with the dollar, and other currencies like the Indian rupee, Polish zloty, Colombian peso, and the South African rand have faltered against the greenback in recent times. However, the Russian ruble has been a strong competitor to the dollar this year and has been one of the best-performing fiat currencies in 2022.

With inflation soaring and interest rates getting hiked by the Federal Reserve, Kamakshya Trivedi, the co-head of a market research group at Goldman Sachs stressed that it's been a "pretty tough mix" to deal with. Despite the uncertainty, the analyst at Goldman Sachs thinks the dollar, at least for now, will remain robust. But in comparison to the greenback's recent spike in value, most of that rise is in the past, Trivedi remarked.

"For now, we still expect the dollar to trade on the front foot," Trivedi wrote on July 16. "There might be a bit more to go, but probably the largest part of the dollar move may well be behind us."

TAGS IN THIS STORY Brazil, brics, BRICS currency, BRICS Nations, BRICS Summit, China, China's President, Conflict with Ukraine, Currency, Dollar dominance, East, economics, Egypt, end of dollar, Euro, Euro Parity Dollar, Europe, Global Economy, IMF, IMF's SDRs, India, NATO, new currency, Putin, Russia, russian ruble, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Special Drawing Rights, Turkey, U.S.-hegemony, ukraine war, US Dollar, USD, Vladimir Putin, West, Xi Jinping
What do you think about the BRICS nations creating a new international reserve currency to rival the U.S. dollar and IMF's SDRs? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

New Development Bank (NDB) Approves USD 875 Million for Water, Sanitation, Ecotourism and Transport in Brazil, China and India (Новый банк развития (НБР) одобрил выделение 875 миллионов долларов США на водоснабжение, санитарию, экотуризм и транспорт в Бразилии, Китае и Индии) / China, July, 2022
Keywords: ndb

The New Development Bank (NDB) has just approved five new projects totalling USD 875 million for water, sanitation, ecotourism and transport. Investments will support commitments by Brazil, China and India towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In Brazil, NDB will channel USD 300 million that will contribute to connecting 592 thousand households to water supply and 727 thousand to sewage collection networks in the state of Sao Paulo. It also promotes environmental protection by augmenting wastewater treatment capacity, among other development outputs. The project will be implemented by the Water and Sanitation Company (SABESP).

In India, NDB will direct USD 79 million for the Meghalaya Ecotourism Infrastructure Development Project. Investments will foster much needed infrastructure in Meghalaya state that will lead to the establishment of 5 ecotourism circuits. The project includes the construction 114km of roads and bridges. NDB will also direct USD 70 million to the Lamphelpat Waterbody Rejuvenation Project. Investments will contribute to the development of the waterbody, greenspaces and tourism facilities. A technology-driven real time flood management system with early warning capacity will also be set up and thus improve efficiency in flood prevention, as well as timely delivery of relief and recovery efforts to the flood affected region.

In China, NDB approved EUR 265 million for the expansion of the Lanzhou Zhongchuan International Airport and RMB 805 million for the expansion of the Xi'an Xianyang International Airport. The two projects combined will contribute to the construction of five new runways with associated taxiway system, two new terminal buildings, apron with 187 aircraft stands, cargo facilities and supporting infrastructure, with considerations of energy conservation, low carbon emission, and optimization of resource consumption. After the expansion, both airports will be able to serve the projected demand at least till the year 2030. The design capacity for annual passenger throughput of Lanzhou Zhongchuan International Airport will increase by over 4 times to 38 million and that of Xi'an Xianyang International Airport by about three times to 83 million.

With these five new projects, NDB's cumulative approvals have now reached nearly USD 32 billion, contributing to the infrastructure and sustainable development areas that will maximize positive impacts on people and economies in emerging markets and developing countries.
Breaking bottlenecks (Устранение узких мест) / China, July, 2022
Keywords: economic_challenges

WTO's long-term development prospects buoyed by MC12

The World Trade Organization's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) was recently held in Geneva, Switzerland, with agreements reached on a series of key trade initiatives such as fisheries subsidies, health and pandemic response, e-commerce, food security, environmental sustainability and services domestic regulation. Against the backdrop of the complicated international situation, these outcomes have given a strong boost to the international community's confidence in the organization's long-term development.

In the face of multiple crises including geopolitical conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic, food shortages and surging inflation, safeguarding the global multilateral framework is still a consensus among the vast majority of WTO members.

In intensive final negotiations over fisheries subsidies, most WTO member economies, with the bigger picture in mind, made coordination and concessions with each other, finally reaching a decision that all parties agreed upon. The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies is the first new multilateral deal successfully negotiated under the WTO since the landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement in 2013, marking an important outcome following 21 years of negotiations over fisheries subsidies.

Currently, the WTO is striving to go beyond traditional trade issues and focusing on trade settlement models under new circumstances. The inclusiveness of the multilateral trading system has been manifested with more attention paid to issues involving developing countries and sustainable growth.

To enhance efficiency and promote updated international trade rules, the WTO is using more flexible measures such as plurilateral trade negotiations and the issuance of joint statements to more effectively advance multilateral trade negotiations and to reshape its leading role in global trade. Since October 2021, participating members of the WTO have issued the Joint Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development, Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation, and Joint Initiative on E-commerce, representing the latest progress in these areas and injecting fresh momentum into the organization's development.

The three pillars of the WTO are multilateral trade negotiations, dispute settlement and the trade policy review mechanism. From a long-term perspective, the global trading system has its limitations and core issues related to WTO institutional reforms can hardly make breakthroughs over a short period of time.

The most pressing task is to break the impasse of the suspension of the Appellate Body and resume the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism. As a matter of fact, prior to the MC12, many members had submitted statements to the WTO Secretariat, expressing their shared aspiration for an early resumption of the dispute settlement mechanism. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and 44 African countries issued a joint statement, calling for accelerating WTO reforms and urging members to reach a consensus on the resumption of a multilaterally participated dispute settlement mechanism and improvement of the WTO's trade policy monitoring at an early date.

The WTO's difficulties have much to do with the United States. The US has, for the 54th time, blocked a proposal to commence the selection process to fill vacancies on the Appellate Body, obstructing the normal functioning of the WTO and severely undermining the organization's core functions.

The WTO's trade policy review mechanism is also facing new challenges. The fisheries subsidies deal reached at the recently concluded MC12 is different from previous preferential tariff reduction agreements as it involves more behind-the-border measures, imposing strict restrictions on a country's domestic industrial policies and environmental protection policies and putting forward higher requirements for all countries' trade policy transparency. Furthermore, if a country violates WTO rules with overfishing and other behaviors damaging the sustainable development of global fisheries, it will have a direct negative impact on the country's ocean environment and fishery development and indirect impact on other countries and the world at large.

As the world's second-largest economy and biggest developing nation, China will play an increasingly important role in the WTO's long-term development.

To start with, China has been an active participant, staunch supporter and major contributor in the multilateral trading system. Since its accession to the WTO in 2001, China has firmly upheld the WTO rules and earnestly fulfilled its commitments upon entry into the WTO. The WTO has thus far carried out eight trade policy reviews for China, with members widely commending China's role and performance. China has not only fulfilled its commitments to the WTO in trade and investment facilitation including tariff reduction and market opening-up, but also is playing a positive role in new trade issues such as The Expansion of the Information Technology Agreement, trade facilitation agreement, and investment facilitation.

Second, China is an important participant of and policy coordinator in the global economic governance system. As an important member of the G20 and BRICS, China has deeply integrated into the global economic governance system, maintaining good interactions and policy communications with its trading partners. As an active coordinator, China advocates the WTO not being politicized. It advocates safeguarding the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, supports free trade, opposes abuse of "national security" as an excuse for levying high tariffs on other members and imposing discriminative investment restrictions. Furthermore, China advocates rules-based WTO reform to push the multilateral trading system toward a more free, open, fair and inclusive direction for development.

Lastly, China is a provider of public goods in global economic and trade governance. China aims at building an institutional open economy, with wider-range, broader-scope opening up at a higher level. As the world's second-largest economy, China's further opening-up is bound to accelerate the process of economic globalization and trade liberalization. China is stepping up efforts to expand its free trade agreements network with trading partners across the world. The country has ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement and the implementation of the RCEP agreement is well underway. It has applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement. Such high-standard regional and bilateral trade agreements will pave the way for WTO's long-term development.

Chinese solutions and Chinese wisdom-such as the China-proposed APEC Connectivity Blueprint 2015-2025 in Digital Era and "BRICS+" cooperation model-have become public goods offered by China for improving global economic governance, effectively making up for deficits in global governance, trust, peace and development.

Such proposals highlight China's promotion of an inclusive multilateral trading system that is manifested with more attention paid to the sustainable growth of developing countries. The WTO has 164 member economies and their combined trade volume accounts for 98 percent of the world's total, making the organization the most representative one in the global trade. Therefore, its efficient functioning is vital to facilitating the smooth operation of the global trade system and coping with crises.

The author is an assistant research fellow with the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.
NDB at 7: New Development Bank celebrates seven years of accomplishments (НБР в семь: новый банк развития отмечает семилетие достижений) / China, July, 2022

The New Development Bank (NDB) is celebrating its seventh anniversary with a journey of achievements. The Bank – established by the BRICS countries – started its operations in July 2015. Over the past seven years, NDB has evolved from a start-up to a major provider of development solutions. It operates in countries that exhibit great economic dynamism and have a strong demand for infrastructure.

NDB recently completed its initial capitalization of USD 10 billion of equity contributed by founding members. Since its foundation, the Bank has approved nearly USD 32 billion for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in four continents. The Bank has become an agile, lean, modern and fit-for-purpose institution.

NDB's project portfolio features investments in areas such as clean energy, urban mobility, water, sanitation, transport, social and digital infrastructure. Projects supported by NDB will help build or upgrade 15,700 km of roads, 850 bridges and 260 km of rail transit networks. This is larger than the diameter of planet Earth. They are also expected to avoid 13 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year and increase drinking water supply capacity by 209,000 m3/day, among a range of other development results.

These are projects that support the commitments by NDB member countries towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are implemented using country systems for environmental, social, governance (ESG) and procurement practices, without imposing policy prescriptions or conditionalities to the operations. Over 20% of project approvals are denominated in local currencies, helping clients to mitigate foreign-exchange risk and supporting the development of domestic capital markets.

In 2016, only about one year after starting operations, NDB made its inaugural bond issuance – a Green Financial Bond of RMB 3 billion. NDB was the first international financial institution to issue such instrument in China's Interbank Bond Market. The Bank has since then raised over USD 10 billion in domestic and international capital markets, including the first-ever SDG bond following the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) SDG Impact Standards.

Credit rating agencies have assigned NDB a very high rating – several notches above the average of its member countries. NDB embraces prudent risk management policies, has large capital buffers and adopts very strong liquidity metrics. The Bank abides by high standards in terms of governance, procurement and social responsibility.

In 2021, NDB admitted Bangladesh, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay as new members. They add over 280 million people that can benefit from NDB's mission, while strengthening the Bank's global outreach. Also in 2021, the Bank moved to its permanent headquarters, a modern architectural landmark located in Shanghai.

The recently approved 2022-2026 General Strategy aims at providing USD 30 billion over the next five years. Over this period, NDB will expand operations with the private sector, multiply development impact and direct 40% of its approvals to climate change mitigation and adaptation. NDB is embarking on a new phase in its journey to become a premier development institution for emerging economies.

World of Work
A Comparative Study of Prenatal Maternal Health Policies in Brazil, Russia, China (Сравнительное исследование пренатальной политики охраны здоровья матерей в Бразилии, России и Китае) / Russia, July, 2022
Keywords: social_issues, expert_opinion

Karolina Koval and Laura Torres, Fudan University, China – special for InfoBRICS

Support for maternal health is essential to address the world's demographic challenge. The social protection of motherhood and childhood is a subject of special attention on the part of the state, as the health and well-being of women and future children is guaranteed by the growth of the healthy population of the country. The state of maternal health has been one of the most important activities of WHO since 1948. The UN is currently an active participant in the protection of motherhood in the international arena. Maternal health is at the top of the Millennium Development Goals.

However, firstly we should determine what prenatal maternal health to research our topic is. Prenatal maternal health is the health of women during pregnancy period. Policy of prenatal maternal health encompasses the health care dimensions of family planning, preconception, prenatal care in order to ensure a positive and fulfilling experience in most cases and reduce maternal morbidity and mortality in other cases. Generally, adequate prenatal care encompasses medical care and educational, social, and nutritional services during pregnancy.

Every day, approximately 830 women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. That is why it is necessary to care about maternal health before giving birth. The main purpose is to reduce the number of deaths of women that occur as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Increasing access to reproductive services (family planning, contraceptive methods, prenatal and antenatal care) and providing women with the appropriate information and care to promote health to help achieve universal access to reproductive health.

We decided to analyze the policies of maternal health in such countries as Brazil, Russia and China. This is due to several facts. First, women are a socio-demographic group in particular need of social protection in market conditions. Women perform the main social and family function - childbearing. Second, these countries have big territories and a lot of changes for the last time. Third, they have same goals of development due to BRICS cooperation and of course, they are active Parties in United Nations.

The aim of this work is to study the social protection of maternal health in Brazil, Russia and China.

To achieve this goal it is necessary to solve the following tasks:

- describe the different directions of development of social protection of prenatal maternal health.

- to assess the regulatory framework at the present stage.

- to analyze programmes and measures for the social protection of prenatal maternal health.

The maternal health policies progress varied widely across countries, even where levels of income are similar. For example, by contrasting the evolution of this policies in Brazil and China, the later had a relatively higher drop in the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR). In order to improve maternal health statistical correlations, show several factors that have to be tackled and changed. Improving certain variables have shown to have a great impact in the main factor used to measure maternal health is the MMR. The MMR measures the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Whether a policy worked or not, it can be evaluated through the improvement of these variables and ultimately in the reduction of the MMR. It is also suggested that one important variable is financial support, especially for the poor. It leads to a greater access and use of maternal health services. Such a support could be for example reducing user fees or giving free healthcare for women during and shortly after their pregnancy.

Other factors that are commonly known to have to be improved are on various levels and sectors. A good health information system is needed, in order to fathom out problems and conduct research. A high ratio of health workforce per population, coverage of medical products and vaccines, economic development or specifically socio-economic development, poverty reduction, education (for women) and gender empowerment are factors whose improvement have a positive impact on maternal health.. Concerning the individual access to antenatal care during pregnancy, it is important to receive at least four antenatal care visits according to previous WHO and UNICEF recommendations. Current WHO recommendations demand ate least eight antenatal care visits. But each country has their own standards, for instance, China has four visits as its standard, in Brazil they consider ideal seven visits. (what is each country's standard? Is it 4/5??). During childbirth the attendance of skilled care is crucial, like midwives, trained nurses or specialized doctors. Skilled health workers also look out for complications; hemorrhage accounts for 27.1% of worldwide maternal deaths, eclampsia for 14.1% and sepsis for 10.7%.

The WHO (2011) also reported, after assessing policies from many countries, that there was no standard formula and countries employed different approaches, some addressed particularities and other were flexible to changeable conditions. However, after conducting an analysis over the countries that most succeed with their national policies, the WHO (2014) pointed out that the progress in some countries was led due to a multisectoral action, because the determinants to improve maternal health were within and beyond the health sector. Another key aspect when implementing these policies are the use of systematic data reviews and meta-analysis combined by improving the quality of the health interventions that are delivered (WHO, 2014b). In sum, as it is further detailed in by the WHO (2013), the analytical framework to follow up on these policies considers the MMR as dependent variable, and the independent variables range from factors related to investment in the health sector which universal access to services (service delivery, health workforce, information, medical products, financing, health system governance), sectors outside health (infrastructure development, education, environmental conditions, national capacities) and other cross-sectoral enabling factors for health (population dynamics, women's socioeconomic status, levels of inequality, economic development, governance and leadership).

Nevertheless, there are some evaluation shortcomings when evaluating maternal health policies, which include limited measures of enabling factors such as value for money (because it varies from place to place) and the adaptive capacities to implement actions and regulate standards (it is also different for many countries) (WHO, 2014c). Even with limitations, research methods for evaluating these policies can be from a range of strategies, such as quantitative mapping of trends, econometric modelling, and Boolean, qualitative comparative analysis, literature review with narrative evidence synthesis, and country-specific literature and data review. Lastly, considering evaluating and success of these policies, the MEASURE Evaluation (2003) supported from the USAID, highlights that one of the most important factors to follow up on these policies are the completeness of the maternity registered data, as it will be frequently the main resource to extend the evaluation to several key-issues. For instance, MEASURE Evaluation studied MMR, perinatal health information system, availability and use of maternity services, midwifery care, among other issues. In the following topics, this paper will assess the maternal health policies structured by Brazil, China and Russia, and compare the strategies with each other.

Overview of three countries, their political and policy structure


Brazil figures among the biggest Latin American Country in terms of economic growth and development, it is also the biggest one in populational size with an amount of around 210 million habitants. However, the country still struggles to reach the development goals aimed under the UN framework. The country did not reach the goal of having a maternal mortality ratio of no more than 35 deaths per 100 thousand live births, according to the WHO, this number nowadays is of 44 deaths. The maternal health policies from the Brazilian government traces back from its dictatorial state, in 1983, when the Program for women's health was created. It aimed prenatal, childbirth and puerperium care, besides cancer and sexually transmitted diseases, adolescent care, contraception, among other areas. The Brazilian health policy was reviewed again in 1988, with the new Federal Constitution. The Constitution conceptualized collective health in a broader sense, as it was recognized as a citizen right the access to health and health services were defined as social benefits. Moreover, it introduced the goal of a Unified Public Health System, which had as guiding principles: decentralization, universal, integral, and equanimous access, and dependent on social participation.

Following the principles established by the Constitution, the maternal health would get governmental attention again only in 2000, when the National Program for the Humanization of Antenatal - Delivery and Post-Partum Care' was created. This program was seen as the turning point for maternal health interventions. Again, the general health policy of the country was reviewed, in 2010, by the establishment of the health care network, which created one health center in each district, and it was organized in various ways so as to provide interventions and services of varying levels, integrated by logistical and management systems to ensure all-round care. The idea here was to guarantee that all citizens had access to health care, even if their original municipality did not own such resources, this individual would be relocated to a facility that would allow the delivery of the health care service as provided by the Constitutional rights. However, Brazil still faces challenges to reduce social inequalities when delivering health services, as well as to guarantee the provision of services in the most remote regions of the country.


China is in a unique position in the world. In the 1960s and 1970s it was still one of the poorest countries in the world. The vast regional differences and income differences due to the fast-economic development created big inequalities. But China's circumstances also grant it a favorable starting position: China has a strong government that is able to efficiently tackle certain societal issues. From 2002 to 2017 the Chinese government rose its expenditure for health and family planning from 3% to 7% of its total expenditures. China had and still has a low fertility rate due to the one-child-policy that was only abolished recently ranking 182 out of 223 countries worldwide. A low fertility rate generates a low maternal mortality ratio, as women get fewer children. The economic growth led hundreds of millions of Chinese outside poverty, creating a new middle class. These are factors that generally underpin improving health.

The health care system that was created between 1998-2007 and in 2013 covered 95% of the population. This was to a big part an achievement by creating a rural health insurance in 2003. It is a three-tier service network split in three levels: the province level hospitals and the prefecture and county level hospitals provide basic healthcare services and treat emergency cases. Township level health care centers or village clinics are responsible for some public health services and common diseases. This scheme is paralleled within the Mother-Child-Health system. The facilities on the higher levels give guidance and take over severe cases from the lower level facilities. The important actors concerning maternal health in China are National Health and Family Planning Commission under the roof of the State Council managing the National Programme for Women's Development and the central government with its with year plans and programs, like the Healthy China 2030 program.


Russia has undergone significant economic and social changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Over the past 20 years, the country has gone from a globally isolated, centrally planned economy to a market-based, globally integrated economic system. Since 1999, the Russian economy has started to recover. However, the demographic situation is not affected. In the period from 1992 to 2010, the natural decline in the population of Russia amounted to 13.1 million people. In this regard, a number of important social programmes in support of demography and health care have been adopted.

Today in Russia there are three levels of government: Federal (Central) and regional authorities (the authorities of constituent entities of the Russian Federation: 21 republics, 6 regions, 49 provinces, 10 Autonomous parts, an Autonomous subjects, cities of Federal significance - Moscow and Saint Petersburg) and local authorities (local self-government bodies of districts, cities, towns, and villages). After the collapse of the USSR, along with the decentralization of power in the country, there was a decentralization of the health care system. The health care system has the same structure as the government: there is a Federal (Central), regional (subjects of the Russian Federation) and local health care.

In accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Federal government is responsible for the regulation and protection of human and civil rights and freedoms, coordination of health issues (together with the authorities of the Russian Federation). In addition to the Constitution, the main guidance document is the law "Fundamentals of the legislation of the Russian Federation on the protection of public health", adopted in 1993. According to article 41 of the Constitution, all Russian citizens have the right to free medical care. Including pregnant women.

Thus, citizens of the Russian Federation receive free emergency and medical care in state and municipal medical institutions. Financing of the health care system is carried out mainly through taxes, contributions to the Federal Compulsory health insurance Fund and extra-budgetary payments.

Description of policy in each country


As the new laws were adopted, in the 2000's, the maternal health policy was further improved in 2011. The government, though the Ministry of Health, introduced the Stork Network (RC), with a view of providing care in such a way as to ensure that women have the right to family planning and humane care during pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium and that children have the right to a safe birth and growth and healthy development. Among the RC guidelines are: assessment and classification of risk and vulnerability; broader access to and improvements in the quality of prenatal care; registration of the pregnant woman at a major hospital and safe transport; good practices and safety during labor and delivery; and good quality child healthcare during the first 24 months of life.

The whole network is divided in three moments of the pregnancy and one regarding the provision of the service: I – Prenatal; II – Labor and birth; III – Puerperium and child health care; and, IV – Logistic system: Transportation and regulation. This division was designed to work with the public service costs and benefits distribution. Most of the investment comes from the federal government, but a small fraction is responsibility of State or Municipal level. If the municipality doesn't have the healthcare services needed it must cooperate with another region that owns the service and ensure the provision to the pregnant woman. The maternal health policy progress is measured based on the National Program of Access and Quality Improvement (Indicators are drawn from the national database records) and evaluation is conducted based on the "Stork Network" regulation.

As for social protection guarantees regarding maternal health, the Brazilian policy provides a maternity leave 120 days, which the mother can start 28 days prior to the labor. Besides, the mother cannot be fired while pregnant and also 5 months after giving birth. The mother also has the right of changing the work position if it brings risks to the pregnancy. After giving birth, until the baby completes 6 months, the mother can be dismissed from work daily for 1 hour to breast feed. After the changing policies, the country made it to increase in the number of women's seeking for prenatal care: 1,2 (1995) to 10,95 (2010). However, in terms of reaching equality and decreasing inequality in the provision of health care services remained a challenge to the country. Considering, for example, this same indicator, it suggests issues with regional and socioeconomic disparity, as the north and northeast regions of Brazil (where the poorest population is concentrated) had a level of less than 7 health interventions during prenatal care.


A comprehensive policy framework concerning maternal health was established in China in 1994 (Law on Maternal Health Care). It made sex-selected abortions illegal, focused on service standards through creating the Safe Motherhood Programme, promotes a higher access to information, nutrition and maternal services. The recurring and improving National Programme for Women's Development in 1995, 2000 and 2011. With the programs women's health was declared as one of the priorities and was included in China's national economic and social development plans. One goal is for example to reduce the maternal mortality ratio to less than 20 per 100,000 livebirths. Especially the so-called migrant workers give a lot of space for improvement. Another goal is to reduce rural urban disparities. These goals have been tackled by expanding maternal health care and improving the facilities of maternal health care and their access. A special focus was put on the numbers and the quality of health care workers.

The Health China 2030 plan established by National Health and Family Planning Commission in 2016 set as its goal to have 2.5 physicians or physicians' assistants per thousand population until 2020. 16 provinces have already met that goal. China's health insurance covering 95% of the populations includes maternal health components. Together with China's Safe Motherhood Program which supports facility-based births for poor people and rural population, it led to an increase in institutional deliveries to up to 95%, and nowadays 99.9%. In correlation the maternal mortality ratio declined from around 120 to around 60 per 100,000 livebirths.

One way to better maternal health was the establishment of part-time working Maternal and Child Health Clinicians. These have helped to fill the gap in rural areas, where there are no professional cadres. As the Chinese government is a strong government able to tackle specific issues, it tackled maternal health through specific policies. The government is "financing specific services (safe, facility based deliveries, immunizations, integrated management of childhood diseases, and more recently, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission), allocating resources (including doctors) for poor and remote areas and creating a structure to coordinate efforts to improve the indicators". Hospital delivery has become a universal standard in China.


After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in a period of acute economic crisis, there is a high level of maternal death and demographic crisis. In this regard, the government has agreed on measures to prevent this situation and has developed programmes and amendments to laws.

According to article 23 of the Federal law of the Russian Federation No. 323 on protection of health of citizens the state provides women during pregnancy, in time and after childbirth, with specialized medical care in institutions of the state or municipal health care system. Pregnant women also have the right to work in conditions that are appropriate to their state of health, cannot be dismissed or are not employed because of their physiological condition. Employers are obliged to provide paid maternity leave to pregnant women (Сonstitution of RF, 2014).

Among the main medical, social and legal acts of protection of motherhood and childhood should be highlighted the law of the Russian Federation "On additional measures for the protection of motherhood and childhood", which provides for the duration of maternity leave in 70 calendar days before childbirth and 70 days after childbirth, and in cases of complicated childbirth — 86 days, at birth 2 children and more — 110 days. A one-time benefit (50% of the minimum wage) was introduced in addition to the maternity benefit. Moreover, the resolution of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation "On urgent measures to improve the status of women, the family, protection of motherhood and childhood in rural areas" establishes annual leave for women of at least 28 calendar days, guarantees a 36-hour working week, provides for hygienic and socio-legal standards for work in hazardous industries.

The presidential decree "On urgent measures to ensure public health" provides for a set of state measures to protect motherhood and childhood. The main legislative acts on health care, labor, social support, etc. create prerequisites for the strengthening of the health of women and children. Thus, prenatal maternal health is protected by a wide network of different medical Institutions. For example: 1) Antenatal clinic, which is provision of medical and preventive care to women during pregnancy and after childbirth; psych prophylactic preparation of pregnant women for childbirth and newborn care. Provision of medical and diagnostic assistance to women with gynecological diseases; etc. 2) Maternity hospital is health care institutions, the number of births in which is from 500 to 2500 per year, having in its structure the Department (chamber) of intensive care and intensive care for women. 3) Perinatal center is assistance during pregnancy and childbirth to patients at high perinatal and obstetric risk, including for women with diseases of other organs and systems, diseases of the reproductive system, infertility, as well as preterm birth from 22 to 34 weeks of pregnancy, providing all types of obstetrics. The separation of perinatal care has improved maternal health in the regions and rural areas, as well as contributed to the efficiency of staff in this sphere.

Besides, the order of the Ministry of health and social development of the Russian Federation of 2006 "On standards of medical care in normal pregnancy" defines list of medical services and a list of medicines provided to pregnant women free of charge. It provides doctor visit, medical tests and research, manipulations and procedures, vitamin and mineral complexes, additional food and medicine. In the special issuing points for pregnant and lactating women, the following products can be obtained: dry milk mixtures, purees and juices from vegetables or fruits (6-7 liters of juice). In addition to the free provision of necessary assistance, women are socially protected during pregnancy and after childbirth.

If a woman applies to the women's consultation in the early stages of pregnancy (up to 12 weeks) and timely dispensary registration, she can receive a one-time allowance in the amount of the minimum wage (in addition to the maternity allowance). With the passage of mandatory medical examinations of the pregnant woman maintains her average earnings. Of course, these measures are of great help even to those women who have financial difficulties. Thus, the financial situation should not affect maternal health. This is the main goal of the Russian government to prevent maternal mortality.

Comparison across countries

The Brazilian MMR was one of the biggest national health targets in the last decades, the country had a significant decrease since the 1990's. The creation of the women's health programs and the reform in the national health system are seen as the factors that helped to reach such changes (LEAL et al., 2018). The country had, in the period of 1990 to 2015, a reduction of 56% of maternal deaths, and according to the Ministry of Health, when analyzing the national health information system these numbers keep falling when comparing the evolution year by year. Besides, for the death records, among the poorest women their death had relations not with issues before the birth, but due to complications after it and, for some cases, it also had connections with clandestine abortions. For women from higher socioeconomic status, the majority of the death records had to do with internal bleeding due to high rates of unnecessary caesarean births. The country also has a rate of 92% of maternal deaths are considered to be able to be preventable.

As for China, declaring hospital delivery to a universal standard has made it possible to reduce the reasons for maternal mortality over the last two decades. Over 75% of maternal deaths are considered to be able to be preventable. By introducing hospital delivery as a universal standard (the overall hospital delivery rate was increased to 99.9%), direct obstetric causes decreased from 71.3 % of the mortality ratio in 2000 to 53.9% in 2017. Almost all Eastern and central China in 2016 had 100% births attended by skilled health personnel. The region with the lowest rate was Tibet that was reaching as much as 98%. These factors have reduced the maternal mortality ratio from 88.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 19.6 in 2017. The correlation between the differing of provinces in hospital delivery rate and in maternal mortality ratio leads to the conclusion, that hospital delivery rate is an independent variable for maternal death. The Chinese maternal mortality ratio is quite low compared to the average upper middle income countries, and much lower than those of the world average or BRICS-nations like South Africa and India.

UNICEF and WHO used to recommend a minimum of four antenatal care visits by skilled health personnel. China achieves as much as a coverage of 81% in that area. An increase in those numbers over the last years is due to China's systematic maternal care management demanding five antenatal care visits and due to a strong enforcement of this in rural China, and in the western and central provinces, which lagged behind compared to urban areas or eastern provinces. For Brazil, this coverage is around 98,7%, the major issue is to reach out for the mothers who live in the most remote or poorest regions of the country. But the WHO'S new recommendation is of at least eight antenatal care visits. Here China lags behind: only 33 percent of women giving birth received at least eight antenatal care visits in 2013. A number that clearly has to be improved. A big regional disparity can be seen concerning antenatal care visits. Concerning women having at least one antenatal care visit the percentages by provinces reach up to 98.0-99.9 percent in some eastern provinces, while Tibet is as low as 89.5 percent. A big urban rural divide cannot be seen within at least one visit antenatal care percentages, but in higher antenatal care visits the rural population lags behind. For Brazil, this coverage is around 75%, the main problems for those individuals who did not had the minimum visits were for the reason that many mother's in order to get the service would have to peregrinate to other locations or they were not aware of the provision of the services.

In the case of Russia, it should be noted that the social policy in the sphere of maternal health protection is similar with China and Brazil in many respects: maternity leave, free medical care during pregnancy and childbirth, payment of maternity leave, payment of one-time benefits are provided. However, there are many differences between, namely:

1. The protection of women in Russia is at a higher level, as in Russia any woman has the right to receive benefits, only the amount of this benefit cannot always provide a decent standard of living. In China, however, protection is provided only to women who work, usually in large cities, while the rural population, for the most part, does not receive any guarantees in the event of pregnancy and childbirth.

2. The difference of mentalities - in Russia more attention is paid to the upbringing of the child directly in the family, next to the mother, hence the leave to care for a child up to 1.5 years and from 1.5 to 3 years. Statistics show that most women remain on parental leave until they reach 1.5 years of age. Up to 3 years to stay at home does not allow the economic situation - the allowance is deplorable.

In China, the focus of state policy in General on "work without interruption" and the long existence of the "One family - one child "programme. Hence the "fear of pregnancy" on the part of women and the provision of short leave by the state, although it can be provided to the father, too, as well as the desire of women to quickly go to work, as a long absence affects career growth and bonuses.

3. The result of the reforms should be an increase in the birth rate. The main difference is that in China, the permissible number of children is strictly regulated and now limited to two, and in Russia, the maximum number of children in the family is not regulated, on the contrary, many children are welcome.

According to forecasts, about two million children were to be born in China in 2015. China is ready to increase the birth rate in 2015, across the country purchased new hospital beds and trained midwives, with special attention to issues of childbirth after the peak of fertility.

1 million 947 thousand children were born in Russia in 2014, such a number of births have not been in the history of Russia. For the third year in a row, the birth rate in the country is at 1.9 million, and its total coefficient has increased significantly and is 1.76. One of the factors that continue to influence the increase in the birth rate is the maternity capital. Also, the level of medical care should not be underestimated.

4. The amount of insurance premiums in Russia is higher than in China, but this is due to the fact that in Russia and the unemployed who have registered with the employment service are entitled to payments, while in China payments are made only to employees whose employers paid contributions to the maternity insurance Fund.

5. The main measures that need to be taken for further development: in China it is necessary to develop social insurance in remote areas from big cities (rural areas). Currently, not all the population is covered by these social benefits. In Russia, it is necessary to increase the minimum benefit to the average earnings by region. The current minimum benefit cannot be a real incentive for the birth of a child.


In Brazil, many challenges are still to be faces, for instance the delivery of the services suffer from regional and socioeconomic disparities. Besides, the country still has a high rate of births that are done by the use of caesarian interventions and had a tendency to increase. Besides, the assessment and evaluation of the programs should be carried in a national coverage, for example, in Brazil the assessments were not conducted in all twenty-seven federal states. Still, the country has made great efforts to improve its service structure, and has been conducting national programs to increase its specialized maternal health workforce and changing its regulation to increase the amount of "natural" births.

Generally, one can say even though China has improved a lot over the past decades, a higher government financing should be China's goal to further improve maternal health. Especially the distribution of health workforce and access to antenatal care visits resulting in disparities across provinces should be tackled more efficiently by the Chinese government. But concerning the urban-rural-divide the government has done a good job as in most factors' disparities have practically vanished.

Of, course the system which protect prenatal maternal health in Russia has many improvements and positive influences. First, the maternal mortality rate has a strong tendency to decrease, in 2012 by 27.2% from 44.2% in 1999 to 31.9% in 2003 per 100 thousand live births (Russian Federal State Statistics Service, 2012). Second, approved scheme of dynamic monitoring of pregnant and women, gynecological patients, the recommended structure, equipment list and equipment of centers for infertility treatment, etc. Аnd the same time the proportion of persons receiving social assistance among those who are not poor on the basis of current income is even higher than the proportion of recipients among the poor. Also still there is a big issue of demographic crisis and high level of abortions. According to Russian statistics, a large number of abortions leads to high mortality of women. In addition, the exclusion of family life from the intervention of public institutions very often leads to negative consequences. In this regard, the state should take measures not only at the medical level, but also social.

Looking into all countries, all had a significant decrease in the mortality rates, but researchers and health specialists, especially from the WHO, credit such result not only to the healthcare policy, but also to multisectoral changes, such as labor rights and educational level. Besides, in terms of data gathering the three countries lack of local surveys, therefore it would be relevant for all countries to disseminate population-based surveys, in all of its regions, especially for the remote areas. Lastly, within the BRICS framework, these countries could work together to exchange their best practices and specialized knowledge regarding maternal health policy.

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