Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum

Monitoring of the economic, social and labor situation in the BRICS countries
Issue 45.2022
2022.11.07 — 2022.11.13
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Moscow, November 8, 2022 (Выступление Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова и ответы на вопросы СМИ на совместной пресс-конференции с Министром иностранных дел Республики Индия Субраманьямом Джайшанкаром, Москва, 8 ноября 2022 г.) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: sergey_lavrov, speech

Ladies and gentlemen,

We held meaningful and practical talks with Minister of External Affairs of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in a traditional friendly and sincere atmosphere. Our countries are united by historical ties that represent mutual respect, self-sufficiency and immunity to the fluctuations of the geopolitical environment.

We agreed that the strengthening of the Russia-India privileged and strategic partnership meets the vital interests of our nations and helps maintain international and regional security and stability. We were pleased to note the rhythmic, regular and intensive character of our political dialogue at both the top and Foreign Ministry levels.

We were happy to note the positive dynamics in trade. By September 2022, trade was 133 percent of the same period in 2021, at almost $17 billion. We are confident that we will soon bring it to $30 billion, reaching a goal set by the Russian and Indian leaders.

We agreed that the Intergovernmental Russian-Indian Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation plays a key role in our trade, economic, investment, logistics, transport and high-tech cooperation. Today, Mr Jaishankar held a meeting with his counterpart – Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov (both are co-chairs on the commission). Mr Jaishankar described the dialogue as useful and substantive.

We discussed in detail the status of and prospects for the ongoing talks on launching the North-South international transport corridor and other aspects related to logistics in our common region.

We noted good prospects of energy cooperation, including an increase in Russian hydrocarbon exports to the Indian market and mutual participation in the plans for extraction, in part in the Far East and on the Arctic shelf of the Russian Federation. We talked about effective cooperation in civil nuclear industry, in part, the successful construction of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. We discussed further steps in this area, in part, a site for building another Russian-designed nuclear power plant that can provide India with clean and safe energy in the future.

We discussed in detail the status and prospects for military-technical cooperation and joint production of modern weapons. We attach much importance to space exploration in such areas as satellite navigation, space science and manned programmes.

We emphasised the importance of intensive talks on signing a free trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union and India.

We praised our interaction in the world arena, including at the UN, BRICS, the SCO and the G20, as well as other multilateral platforms.

We paid much attention to the developments in Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa.

For our part, we confirmed our high assessment of the position of our Indian friends on the situation in Ukraine and around it. We informed Mr Jaishankar about the course of the special military operation, aimed at reaching the goals set by President of Russian Vladimir Putin in his speech on February 24 of this year.

We discussed the situation that had taken shape due to the attempts of our Western colleagues to strengthen their dominant role in world affairs and prevent democratisation of international relations under the pretext of the developments in Ukraine.

I believe the talks were productive and confirmed our mutual striving to promote interaction in all areas. We will continue our contacts, in part, at the upcoming ASEAN and G20 multilateral events.

Question: The situation in Afghanistan continues to be a source of concern for both India and Russia. What do you think about future cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi on the Afghan issue in the context of today's discussion?

A regular session of the Moscow format consultations on Afghanistan is scheduled for mid-November. Apparently, the new Afghan authorities have not been invited to this meeting even though the Taliban took part in the Moscow format session in 2021. Please, comment on this decision. Why was it made?

Sergey Lavrov: As we noted in our opening remarks, we had discussed in detail the situation in Afghanistan and the tasks facing the international community in its efforts to help the Afghan people stabilise the situation and achieve national accord on the future of their country.

We are working with the Taliban in our ministry. Our Indian friends are also taking the necessary steps in this area. We have not yet achieved the desired result. We do not believe our colleagues that are in power in Kabul are moving fast enough in fulfilling their announced commitments to their people. I am referring to the need to consolidate the ethno-political unity of the Afghan people and ensure the inclusive character of power in the country. We continue working in this vein. Thus, a regular Moscow format session will take place as early as next week. Our Indian partners will be represented, as will the other participants in these sessions.

We maintain regular contact with the Taliban representatives that will be told about the agenda of the Moscow format meeting. We have no secrets from them. We will conduct a detailed briefing for both the Taliban and the other political forces in Afghanistan.

Question: Can you please describe what you see as the development priorities for the SCO today? Are they security issues or the need to promote economic cooperation?

Could you tell us about the progress on BRICS expansion so far? Have concrete dates been set for admitting new members to BRICS, in particular, Algeria, Iran and Argentina? What industries or sectors might contribute to facilitating the admission of these countries? Can you list any countries that might, in the near future, also expect to be admitted to BRICS?

Sergey Lavrov: Being a diverse association, the SCO addresses, among other issues, security matters, which this organisation was initially created for, that is, to ensure order along the borders of the Central Asian countries, the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation. This objective has long since been successfully achieved.

As the SCO evolved, not only has it paid increasingly more attention to the issues of heading off and neutralising new challenges and threats, such as terrorism, extremism and separatism, but it has also capitalised on its comparative advantages. The SCO member countries, which occupy the larger part of Eurasia, are keen to use these advantages to develop their economic ties, boost trade and create additional transport infrastructure that will help minimise costs, increase profits and provide benefits to each of our countries.

If, in addition to land routes, we consider the possibilities of using the Northern Sea Route, it will make prospects look impressive. We are working with our Indian friends on this, that is, using the Northern Sea Route and hydrocarbon deposits that are located on Russia's shelf.

I would like to note that, in addition to cooperation in ensuring security and stability, and promoting economic and investment ties, and infrastructure projects in our common region, cooperation in education and culture within the SCO is also being developed, including among political science centres and culture ministries. Exchange programmes, exhibitions and concert tours are obviously in demand.

As an institution, BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – is equally useful, and we need it just as much. Interest in this global association is high and continues to grow. You mentioned several countries, including Algeria, Argentina and Iran, which are showing an interest in this format. In reality, there are over a dozen countries like this. Last June, a regular BRICS summit took place in a video conference format, with China holding the BRICS Presidency. In addition to the event per se, during which the leaders of the five countries discussed this association's internal affairs and approved a declaration where they outlined their plans for the future, a summit in a BRICS+ format was held. In addition to the five BRICS countries, it was attended by the leaders of 13 countries. These countries are well known, and they include nations representing all, without exception, developing regions in the world: Asia, Africa and Latin America. We welcome their interest.

Before we give specific details as to how and when BRICS might expand, we, the five BRICS countries, have agreed to coordinate the criteria and principles that we should be guided by when considering applications. We have already received some official applications for membership. Given this, we expect the work on coordinating the criteria and principles that should underlie BRICS expansion to not take much time, but first, we need to understand how this association will continue to develop in a potentially expanded format.

China, Russia and South Africa Perspectives on BRICS Expansion (Китай, Россия и Южная Африка: взгляды на расширение БРИКС) / Nigeria, November, 2022
Keywords: brics+, expert_opinion

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh

Within the current global geopolitical changes, growing support is fast underway to give enough preparations for Saudi Arabia and possibly a few others to join BRICS, an organization made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. China will hand over the chair to South Africa early 2023.

China and Russia have been pushing for the expansion of BRICS, soliciting support for the multipolar system of global governance instead of the existing rules-based unipolar directed by the United States. Often explained that a bigger BRICS primarily offers huge opportunities among the group members and for developing countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a plenary session of the Valdai International Discussion Club held October 27 reaffirmed Russia's unshakable support Saudi Arabia joining BRICS. "Yes, we support it, but this requires a consensus of all the BRICS countries," he said.

According to him, Saudi Arabia is a rapidly developing country, which is due not only to its leading position in the hydrocarbon market. "This is also due to the fact that the Crown Prince, the government of Saudi Arabia have very big plans for diversifying the economy, which is very important. They have entire national development plans designed for this goal," the Russian President said.

He expressed confidence that, given the enthusiasm and creativity of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, these plans will be implemented. "Therefore, of course, Saudi Arabia deserves to be a member of major international organizations, such as the BRICS, and such as the SCO. Most recently, we determined the status of Saudi Arabia in the SCO and will develop relations with this country both bilaterally and on multilateral platforms" Putin added.

With the current global unstable and volatile situation creating skyrocketing uncertainties in global economic recovery, China have unreservedly shown its contribution for strengthening BRICS. For 16 years since its inception, China offers the largest financial support for the BRICS National Development Bank, contributed tremendously to other directions including health, education and economic collaboration among the group.

That is why BRICS has gained extensive recognition. More and more countries are willing and interested to become members of BRICS, make joint efforts to overcome difficulties and challenges, and realize common development and prosperity.

On May 19, China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi chaired a video conference dialogue between foreign ministers of BRICS countries and their counterparts from emerging economies and developing countries. It was the first BRICS Plus dialogue at the level of foreign ministers. Participants in the dialogue came from BRICS countries as well as invited countries such as Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal, United Arab Emirates and Thailand.

According to Wang Yi, the dialogue's importance was to further expand cooperation between the BRICS countries and other emerging economies and developing countries. In addition, Wang Wenbin during his weekly media briefing on October 20, explained that as the BRICS chair for this year, China has actively supported the BRICS in starting the membership expansion process and advanced the "BRICS Plus" cooperation.

During the 14th BRICS summit successfully held in June 2022, President Xi Jinping noted at the meeting that BRICS countries gather not in a closed club or an exclusive circle, but a big family of mutual support and a partnership for win-win cooperation. At the summit, BRICS leaders reached important common understandings about BRICS expansion and expressed support for discussion on the standards and procedures of the expansion.

"This has been well received in the international community and many countries have expressed interest in joining the BRICS. China supports and welcomes this. Going forward, China will work with fellow BRICS members to steadily proceed with the BRICS expansion process and enable more partners to join this promising endeavor," Wenbin said at the media briefing.

Despite its large population of 1.5 billion which many have considered as an impediment, China pursues an admirable collaborative strategic diplomacy with external countries and that has made it attain superpower status over Russia. A careful study and analysis monitored by this author vividly show that muscle-flexing Russia largely lacks public outreach diplomacy, Russia contributing towards its own "cancel culture" policy, and this is seriously detrimental to the emerging new global order.

South Africa was a late minor addition to the group, to add a bridgehead to Africa, says Charles Robertson, Chief Economist at Renaissance Capital. All the BRICS countries are facing economic challenges that need addressing urgently. The BRICS is keenly aware of the importance of contributing to Africa's development agenda.

"Therefore, it could expand because the BRICS are under-represented in the global financial architecture. Europe and the United States dominate institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and to some extent many others," explained Robertson in an emailed query.

According to him, "Russia and others in the BRICS would like to see larger power centres emerge to offer an alternative to that Western dominated construct. That is reasonable enough – providing there are countries with the money to backstop the new institutions, such as China supporting the BRICS bank, and if the countries offer an alternative vision that provides benefits to new members."

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has repeatedly said that BRICS as a dynamic group would usher in a new global development era that promises a system of more inclusive, sustainable and fair principles. BRICS group, in an expanded form, can support a sustainable and equitable global economic recovery.

For South Africa, Ramaphosa further believes that the BRICS is simply a highly-valuable platform fixed to strengthen ties with partner countries in support of South Africa's economic growth and for discussing global economic problems and challenges, and for strengthening the role of developing countries.

After his official visit to Saudi Arabia mid-October, President Ramaposa, said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud had expressed the desire to join BRICS. "The Crown Prince did express Saudi Arabia's desire to be part of BRICS. They are not the only country seeking membership in BRICS," according to the local radio station ABC.

Ramaphosa reminded that South Africa will hold the BRICS rotating-presidency in 2023. "That BRICS summit next year under the chairship of South Africa, the matter of expanding BRICS is going to be under serious consideration. A number of countries are consistently making approaches to BRICS members, and we have given them the same answer, that it will be discussed by the BRICS partners and thereafter a collective decision will be made," the president elaborated.

Historically, the first meeting of the group began in St Petersburg in 2005. It was called RIC, which stood for Russia, India and China. Then later, Brazil joined and finally South Africa in February 2011, which is why now it is referred to as BRICS.

The acronym BRICS is derived from the member-countries names in English. The organization seeks to develop comprehensive cooperation among members in the economy, finance, education, science, culture and other areas. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) collectively represent about 26% of the world's geographic area and are home to 2.88 billion people, about 42% of the world's population.

Opinion Nigeria

Algeria Formally Submits Application to Join BRICS (Алжир официально подал заявку на вступление в БРИКС) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: brics+

Ahmed Adel, Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher

The Algerian newspaper Al-Shorouk reported that the North African country has officially applied to join the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). According to the country's special envoy for international cooperation, Leila Zarrougi, Algeria has submitted a formal request to join the BRICS group.

It is recalled that Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune stated in August that his country was ready to join BRICS, noting that almost all the conditions were in place. Later, the Russian ambassador to the Arab country, Valerian Shuvaev, said that Russia had no objection to Algeria joining BRICS.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in September that Algeria is a "great developing country and a representative of emerging economies." Wi added that China "is ready to work with Algeria to play a constructive role in achieving global peace and development."

The North African country has been looking for new economic and political alliances to replace its 2005 Association Agreement with the European Union, which it considers a "failed bet."

On September 7, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra stressed that his country wants to join BRICS since it represents an "economic and political power." He also said that potential membership could "happen fast" and stressed that Algeria "seeks to raise its national income in a way that enables it to join the BRICS group," noting that it is working to achieve this goal.

The idea of incorporating new members to BRICS has been raised by Beijing since May. The Chinese believe that expansion would help increase the group's influence, as well as demonstrate its inclusive and open nature. Beyond Algeria, several countries, such as Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Iran, have expressed their willingness to join or have already submitted formal applications.

According to World Bank data for 2019, the five current members of BRICS represent 42% of the world's population, 24% of the world's GDP and more than 16% of global trade. Between 2009 and today, BRICS has managed to increase its coverage of the global GDP to just over 25%. All this will obviously increase as more countries become members.

Tebboune said his government is determined to export $7 billion of non-hydrocarbon products by late 2022. This comes as the World Bank said in early October that developing oil exporters, such as Algeria, are expected to witness an average economic growth of 4.1% this year and 2.7% in 2023.

For their part, the IMF forecasted that the growth rate of Algeria's GDP will reach 4.7% at the end of 2022, one of the fastest-growing rates in the world. The IMF published an interactive map that divides growth rates into five descending categories, from fastest to slowest. Algeria was placed in the second category, topping the Maghreb and Western Mediterranean regions and was also considered one of the fastest growing in the Arab World.

In the Maghreb, Morocco was projected by the IMF to reach 0.8%, Tunisia 2.2%, Libya -18.5%, and Mauritania 4%. In the entire Western Mediterranean region, Algeria also topped Italy's 3.2%, France's 2.5%, and Spain's 4.3%. Algeria was placed by the IMF to be among the six Arab economies that will record the highest growth rates in the mentioned period. According to the IMF's World Economic Outlook, Algeria's projected achievement of 4.7% by the end of the current year would rank the country second in North Africa after Egypt (6.6%).

Algerian economics specialist Ezz El Din Dedan said the Arab country "was able to control economic indices over the past three years, despite the collapse of energy prices." He pointed out that "with the recent recovery of oil and energy prices globally amid the war in Ukraine, there is a significant increase in Algeria's foreign exchange earnings, and this is what gives the country a margin of greater financial movement in economic decision-making."

By joining BRICS, Algeria will further strengthen its economy by having greater opportunities to engage in trade with the world's two most populated countries, India and China, as well as other important economic players like Russia, Brazil and South Africa, and perhaps even other future member states, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and Argentina. Algeria feels confident it can balance its relations with the West, but also recognises that important financial centres are emerging all over the world, and are not solely in Europe and North America anymore. The North African country hopes to exploit these new opportunities.

Russia hopes discussion of BRICS expansion criteria will not take long — Lavrov (Россия надеется, что обсуждение критериев расширения БРИКС не заставит себя ждать — Лавров) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: brics+, quotation, sergey_lavrov

"The interest to this global association is quite high and continues to grow," the top diplomat noted

© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS
MOSCOW, November 8. /TASS/. BRICS member states intend to negotiate the criteria and principles of potential expansion of the association shortly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during the meeting with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

"Before we talk about how and when will the BRICS expansion begin exactly, we have agreed to negotiate the criteria and principles of reviewing this kind of applications between the five member states," Lavrov noted. "Considering that we already receive official applications, we expect, of course, that the negotiations of the criteria and principles will not take too long. We must first understand how this association will develop in its potential expanded membership."

According to Lavrov, BRICS, which unites Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is in rather high demand.

"The interest to this global association is quite high and continues to grow," he noted. "Not only Algeria, Argentina and Iran - in fact, there are more than a dozen of such states."

The Russian Minister noted that the June BRICS online summit, where the leaders of the five member states adopted a declaration outlining the future plans, was followed by a BRICS+ summit, attended by leaders of 13 states.

"This list is well known, it includes countries representing all developing regions of the world without exception: Asia, Africa, Latin America, and we welcome such interest, of course," Lavrov underscored.

Russia hails Algeria's decision to apply for BRICS membership, says diplomat (Россия приветствует решение Алжира подать заявку на членство в БРИКС, заявил дипломат) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: brics+

On Monday, Algerian officials filed a formal application to join the BRICS club

MOSCOW, November 8. /TASS/. Moscow welcomes Algeria's resolve to join the BRICS association (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), Russia's Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told journalists on Tuesday.

"We enjoy good relations with Algeria and maintain a trust-based dialogue," he noted. "This issue is being considered within the framework of the collective work in BRICS."

"We welcome the aspriation of our friends, partners and like-minded parties to join the work within such formats as BRICS and the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization] as well as other formats, where we actively work," he added.

On Monday, Algerian officials filed a formal application to join the BRICS club, the Al-Shorouk information portal reported, citing the special envoy of the country's Foreign Ministry for international partnership, Leyla Zerrougui.

According to the calculations of TASS made on the basis of IMF data for 2022, BRICS countries would account for two-thirds of the world economy, if new members, namely Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and Algeria, joined the association.

Previously, Iran and Argentina also applied to enter the BRICS club. Egypt, Turkey and the UAE also voiced their intention to join the association.

On September 26, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov reported that BRICS members had begun work on the possible expansion of the association. However, earlier he pointed out that quick decisions on this matter should not be expected.

BRICS Is Becoming the Big Kid on the Block: Implications for Australia (БРИКС становится большим парнем на районе: последствия для Австралии) / USA, November, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion

By Murray Hunter

US sanctions as a weapon of war are having an unexpected affect. Russia, China, and Iran are developing alternative routes of trade and finance, and cooperation with other nations. Perhaps the biggest product of sanctions has been to encourage the rapid development of BRICS plus, now a very strategically important block.

BRICS was formed in 2001 as an economic association between Brazil, Russia, India, China, and later South Africa to promote cultural, trade and political cooperation between the members. BRICS has created a development bank, a Contingent Reserve Arrangement, a BRICS payment system, and a BRICS basket reserve currency. The estimated population of the grouping is 3.2 billion people, or 42 percent of world population. BRICS combined GDP represents around 26 percent of total world GDP.

BRICS is becoming closely interconnected with the members of the 9 member Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), where influence across the Pan-Eurasian region is strong, Iran just being added as a new member. The SCO grouping has grown from the original Russo-Chinese security alliance, where central Asian Republics now have a multilateral platform for dialogue. This is a platform where India and Pakistan, as well as Iran and Saudi Arabia are holding bilateral talks.

Geo-political and geo-economic cooperation has been enhanced with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), where trade can expand into Africa and South America.

Iran and Argentina have applied for BRICS membership, while a host of nations including Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, and Turkey are in close dialogue with BRICS.

Observers within the region state that interest in joining BRICS increased greatly after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are rumoured to be advanced on their respective negotiations to join BRICS within the next couple of years.

This would radically shift alignment within Eurasia where there would be a strong nexus between Riyadh, Tehran, Ankara, Moscow, Beijing, and Delhi. The objective here is to develop a commodity trade regime that would bypass the US Dollar. This would severely weaken primacy of the US Dollar as an international currency.

There are already moves by Russian, Chinese, Indian, and Turkey to use Rubles, Yuan, Rupees, Turkish Lire, and Rials as trading currencies backed by commodities and gold. Banks are bypassing the SWIFT system for their own. The system is also accommodating payments with commodities.

Since the Nord Streams incident, Turkey is interested in taking the lead as Russia's gateway to the EU for gas exports. Turkey can then become the gateway to the EU from both Russia and Azerbaijan. This will connect Egypt, Greece, and make Turkey a major hub in Europe for energy. Russian pipelines to Turkey via TurkStream and Blue Stream pipelines already have a capacity of 39 billion cubic metres per annum. Balkan Stream will deliver gas to Europe. There are plans to rapidly expand these capacities.

These relationships are also benefitting this grouping militarily. Iran is now supplying Russian forces with a modified Shahed-136 kamikaze drones, proving much more effective than Russian drones on the battlefield.

Consequences for Australia

The rapidly changing regional order needs a new and up to date analysis. Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Thong's visit to Beijing at the invitation of Xi Jinping this month, signals an improvement in bilateral relations. China's diplomatic, trade and investment relationships with the rest of ASEAN are now very strong. China is not seen as the adversary in the region, in the way Australia sees China. The recent announcement of stationing potentially nuclear armed B-52 bombers at Tindal Airbase in the Northern Territory, can be seen as provocative in the region. The Australian Government consideration to send advisors to Europe to train Ukrainian troops, complementing an already wide array of consultants, advisers, and mercenaries, together with weapons is not an act that will contributing to the lowering of tensions.

With India's embracing of BRICS, it's commitment in time of any conflict to the QUAD must be looked at very closely. The QUAD is portrayed as an important strategic agreement to Australia.

We have witnessed China de-couple trade with Australia. Why buy beef from Australia when it can be bought from Brazil? Expect more de-coupling as China utilizes the Belt and Road even more. With the sharp change in China's business ideology, public enterprises are growing in influence and importance. Australian corporations must see these shifts and try to couple up with this change in the nature of China trade.

According to BRICS diplomats within ASEAN, Australian trade diplomats are already fighting a de facto trade war, where the booty is market-share. For example, trade diplomats have long informally agreed which markets should be deemed traditional for products from respective exporting countries. Breaking these informal agreements is considered an act of war, be it for beef, lamb, fruits, or services. Australia will not be retaliated by one country, but all the BRICS members, if it breaches these understandings. This is a trade war Australia cannot win and is damaging Australia's reputation, where ordinary citizens are not even aware of.

The US pivot Mark I, II, & III to the Indo-Pacific in contrast, lacks the lustre of the Chinese advance into the region. They have been based upon the premise of competing rather than cooperating in mutual coexistence. One of the US misunderstandings is that China is not alone, it's bringing a new trade regime with it to the region. Australia may have US military hardware on its territory, but through the cultural, political, and economic paradigms within the region runs the risk of isolating itself. These are areas the US alliance cannot assist Australia.

Murray Hunter has been involved in Asia-Pacific business for the last 30 years as an entrepreneur, consultant, academic, and researcher. As an entrepreneur he was involved in numerous start-ups, developing a lot of patented technology, where one of his enterprises was listed in 1992 as the 5th fastest going company on the BRW/Price Waterhouse Fast100 list in Australia. Murray is now an associate professor at the University Malaysia Perlis, spending a lot of time consulting to Asian governments on community development and village biotechnology, both at the strategic level and "on the ground". He is also a visiting professor at a number of universities and regular speaker at conferences and workshops in the region. Murray is the author of a number of books.

Eurasia Review

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
BRICS to account for about 40% of world economy in case of expansion — TASS estimates (На БРИКС в случае расширения будет приходиться около 40% мировой экономики — оценки ТАСС) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: economic_challenges, rating

The share of these countries in the world annual harvest of wheat exceeds 51.4%, and in the harvest of rice - 56.1%

MOSCOW, November 8. /TASS/. BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will account for about 40% of the world economy, if new members (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and Algeria) are included. This is according to calculations TASS made on the basis of IMF data for 2022.

If we consider the GDP at purchasing power parity of these states, this figure would exceed 38%.

They also account for 45% of the world's population and 37.5% of the land mass.

The share of these countries in the world annual harvest of wheat exceeds 51.4%, and in the harvest of rice - 56.1%.

On Monday, the Algerian authorities filed an official application to join the BRICS group, the Al-Shorouq information portal reported, citing the special envoy of the country's Foreign Ministry for international partnership, Leyla Zerrougui.

Previously, Iran and Argentina also applied for accession to BRICS. Egypt, Turkey and the UAE also voiced their intention to join the association.

On September 26, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov reported that BRICS countries had begun work on the possible expansion of the association. However, earlier he pointed out that quick decisions on this matter should not be expected.

Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, November 9, 2022 (Брифинг официального представителя МИД России Марии Захаровой, Москва, 9 ноября 2022 г.) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: mofa, speech

Question: In view of Lula da Silva having been elected the new president of Brazil, should we expect a new dynamic in Russia-Brazil bilateral cooperation and the dialogue within BRICS?

Maria Zakharova: First of all, I would like to draw your attention to the extensive commentary concerning the second round of the general elections in Brazil that was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website on October 31. The commentary offers our assessment and analysis.

We hope to see further consistent development of Russia-Brazil strategic partnership and a constructive cooperation between our countries within international frameworks. We assume that the specific modalities of bilateral cooperation will be determined as the new administration forms and builds its foreign policy.

As concerns our dialogue in BRICS, Lula da Silva was one of the originators of this organisation and was actively involved in creating its unique multilateral framework.

Our experience of working with Brazil within this association of five nations shows that Brazilian officials invariably support promoting cooperation within BRICS across three major tracks, which are policy and security, economy and finance, culture and humanitarian contacts. We assume that this stance is not subject to change in domestic or foreign policies as Brazil's participation in BRICS serves its own national interests and supports Brazil's role as one of leading actors on the international platform and a developing economy.

We expect that the same approach will be fully maintained after the inauguration of President-elect Lula da Silva.

Africa's voice matters too, says Guinea-Bissau's leader (Голос Африки тоже имеет значение, считает лидер Гвинеи-Бисау) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: quotation, brics+

PARIS, November 11. /TASS/. African nations have their own views on global events, and their opinions should be listened to, Guinea-Bissau's President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, who is also Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said at the Paris Peace Forum on Friday.

"It is important to listen to the African voice," the Guinea-Bissau leader said.

"I do not agree when I am told, 'You must think like us," he said.

"It does not work anymore. The world order has changed," Sissoco Embalo said, referring to the Western line.

According to the president, it is crucial to take the opinion of BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) into account.

"Such countries as Algeria, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia are willing to join BRICS, and maybe Guinea-Bissau will do the same if we have oil and gas in the future," Sissoco Embalo said. "However, it is of paramount importance that we have respect for each other," he added

As the president emphasized, peace "is not only an issue for Europe, but also for Africa."

"Since the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict, everyone has forgotten about the coronavirus pandemic, but it has not gone yet," he underlined.

"I believe that we must work on a solution together. That is impossible to do without Russia, which is also crucial for Europe's security as well," Sissoco Embalo told participants of the Paris Peace Forum.

World of Work
Joint satellite cluster to ensure BRICS' sustainable development, says Roscosmos chief (Совместный спутниковый кластер обеспечит устойчивое развитие БРИКС, заявил глава Роскосмоса) / Russia, November, 2022
Keywords: space, cooperation

It is stressed that the feasibility of carrying out joint space programs largely depends on the international situation

MOSCOW, November 9. /TASS/. The agreement on a joint orbital cluster of Earth's remote sensing satellites of member states of the BRICS association (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will ensure their sustainable social and economic development, Roscosmos Head Yury Borisov said at a meeting of the association's space chiefs on Wednesday.

"This year, a mechanism for implementing the agreement has been created: a joint committee on cooperation in outer space has been established and a corresponding task force has been set up, authorized organizations have been appointed to facilitate ongoing interaction in space surveys of declared territories and an exchange of data obtained," the space agency Roscosmos quoted Borisov as saying in his welcome address to participants in the BRICS forum on the use of the orbital cluster of Earth's remote sensing satellites held on November 8.

The forum was also attended by head of the China National Space Administration Zhang Kejian, President of the Brazilian Space Agency Carlos Augusto Teixeira de Moura, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, acting CEO of the South African National Space Agency Andiswa Mlisa and acting Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs Niklas Hedman.

As part of the next stage of their interaction under the agreement, the BRICS member states could coordinate their activity in processing space imagery results and sharing experience in creating and using apps for applicable purposes, the Roscosmos chief said.

The feasibility of carrying out joint space programs largely depends on the international situation, Borisov stressed.

"In this regard, I deem it necessary to stress the need to align the positions of BRICS countries and coordinate efforts to promote them at international and regional forums, primarily, at the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its subcommittees across the entire range of scientific-technical and legal issues concerning our common interests," the Roscosmos chief pointed out.

The BRICS agreement on the orbital cluster of Earth's remote sensing satellites was inked by the association's space chiefs on August 18, 2021. The deal stipulates an exchange of data of the BRICS orbital constellation of Earth's remote sensing satellites to help address the issues of climate change, environmental protection and the cleanup of natural and man-made disasters.

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