Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 47.2018
2018.11.19 — 2018.11.25
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's opening remarks at talks with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu, Moscow, November 21, 2018 (Вступительное слово Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова в ходе переговоров с Министром международных отношений и сотрудничества ЮАР Л.Сисулу, Москва, 21 ноября 2018 года) / Russia, November, 2018
Keywords: mofa, cooperation, sergey_lavrov

Madam Minister,

My dear Lindiwe,

We are happy to welcome you to Moscow.

Today we have a good opportunity to review our cooperation under the agreements reached by President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa in Johannesburg last July. At that time, our leaders reaffirmed their desire to continue promoting our partnership based on long-time traditions linked, in part, with our cooperation during the struggle of your people against apartheid and colonialism. Of course, this is highly symbolic now that you are celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth together with us and all your friends. I would like to convey special gratitude to our friends in South Africa for their attention to our common history. I know that a monument with the names of Soviet servicemen who died in the struggle for the liberation of southern Africa, including in Angola and Mozambique, will be unveiled in Pretoria in the near future.

Now we have a very positive agenda, which is confirmed by your participation earlier today in a regular meeting of the Russia-South Africa Combined Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation, which was also attended by Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kobylkin.

We maintain very substantive cooperation in high-tech and have signed an agreement on the use of nuclear energy for oncology treatment.

We have a working group on space exploration.

Representatives of your provinces regularly visit regions of the Russian Federation. Our MPs maintain close contact. We are looking forward to seeing your representatives at a conference to be held by the State Duma of the Russian Federation in the near future, in the first half of December.

The Young Diplomats Forum attended by representatives of your foreign ministry took place in Sochi a week ago.

Naturally, today I hope to discuss in detail our continuing close cooperation at international organisations. Yesterday, we acted as one in the OPCW to uphold the immutability of the convention signed and ratified by all countries. Now that international law and the international system based on the results of World War II are being subjected to very serious trials, foreign policy coordination is much needed, both in bilateral relations and through BRICS.

I can certainly assure you that students at my alma mater, MGIMO, are very much looking forward to your lecture tomorrow.

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Russia & South Africa look to corner platinum metals market (Россия и ЮАР планируют монополизировать рынок платиновых металлов) / Russia, November, 2018
Keywords: trade_relations, economic_challenges

The volume of trade between Russia and South Africa increased by 26 percent to almost $800 million in the first nine months of this year, according to Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dmitry Kobylkin.
"The trade turnover between our countries is quite good. We hope it will reach $1 billion by the end of the year," he said, adding that South Africa accounted for 20 percent of Russia's total trade with all countries in the region.

South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu stressed that Moscow and Cape Town have "deep diplomatic and historic ties."

He said: "We believe there is more that can be done in trade; we can export a number of our agricultural products. We can also build partnerships on water and agricultural technology, and education and skills development."

The sides have signed a roadmap for the implementation of joint projects in the market of platinum group metals, as well as agreement on exploration, extraction and processing of mineral resources until 2025.

South Africa and Russia are by far the world's biggest producers of platinum. The precious metal has a wide industrial use in the automotive industry, dentistry, weaponry and aeronautics.

"Russia and South Africa, possessing rich reserves of mineral resources, have long traditions in the development of the mining industries, as well as a high level of technological knowledge, have the opportunity to promote the growth of the market of platinum group metals through partnership and cooperation," said the document, which was released after the ministries meeting.

Moscow and Cape Town are working on joint projects in nuclear energy, subsoil use, oil and gas, as well as projects in agriculture, Kobylkin noted. The two members of BRICS have inked agreements on cooperation in agriculture and water resources during the bloc's recent 10th summit in Johannesburg.
BRICS Tourism Spend Registering a Strong Growth by 2025 (Расходы на туризм в БРИКС сильно вырастут к 2025) / India, November, 2018
Keywords: rating, research, economic_challenges

BRICS denotes a grouping of five emerging economies of the world that are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. As these five countries are showing a positive economic outlook and strong potential for growth, they are the obvious choice as being the most sought after and attractive tourist destinations, both inbound and outbound. A rising affluent and middle class in all these five countries, especially China and India holds a great potential for the development of tourism in this bloc of countries.

BRICS Tourism Spend Analytics: Drivers and Restraints

Sound economic fundamentals and rising economic prosperity of BRICS nations is one of the key driving factors for the development of tourism in this bloc. There is a rise in disposable income in these countries and a new affluent middle class has emerged in these countries that spends greatly on tourism and leisure. Especially, countries such as China and India are leading the world in terms of outbound tourism and are showing promising growth even in the inbound tourism sector. However, external factors such as terrorism may make a dent in the inflow of tourists in this bloc of nations. Also, the tourist infrastructure in countries such as India is still developing and may not be developed as per the desired levels. This may act as a restraint in the development of tourism in BRICS. However, tourism being an important sector of the economy of BRICS, all the concerned governments are encouraging the development of tourist infrastructure and spending on the development of adequate facilities for the international travellers.

BRICS Tourism Spend Analytics: Key Statistics

As per the data provided by the World Travel and Tourism Council, the direct share of travel and tourism to the India's GDP was INR 2668.3 Bn in the year 2015, which comprised 2.0% of the total GDP of India. This is forecasted to increase by 7.1% in the year 2016 and is projected to rise by 7.9% per annum during the forecast period of 2016-2026 and reach a figure of INR 6115.5 Bn in the year 2026, and will comprise 2.4% of the total GDP.

In the year 2015, visitor exports in India generated INR 1249.3 Bn, which comprised 4.2% of the share of the total exports. This is forecast to grow by 5.3% in the year 2016, and is projected to grow by 7.2% per annum, reaching a figure of INR 2625.6 Bn in the year 2026, which will comprise 3.8% of the total exports of India.

As per the data provided by the World Travel and Tourism Council, travel and tourism contributed BRL 190.5 Bn to the Brazilian GDP in the year 2015 that comprised 3.3% of the entire GDP of Brazil. This is forecast to fall by 0.9% in the year 2016 and is projected to rise by 2.9% per annum during the forecast period of 2016-2026 and reach a figure of BRL 251.8 Bn in the year 2026, and will comprise 3.7% of the total GDP.

In the year 2015, visitor exports in Brazil generated BRL 20.4 Bn, which comprised 2.7% of the share of total exports. This is forecast to grow by 8.2% in 2016, reaching a figure of BRL 47.3 Bn in the year 2026, which will comprise 3.5% of total exports of Brazil.

According to World Travel and Tourism Council data, the share of travel and tourism to Chinese GDP was CNY 1407.9 Bn in the year 2015 that comprised 2.1% of the total GDP of China. This is forecast to rise by 6.1% in the year 2016, and is projected to grow by 7.4% per annum during the forecast period of 2016-2026 and reach a figure of CNY 3064.3 Bn in the year 2026, and will comprise 2.6% of the total GDP.

In the year 2015, visitor exports in China generated CNY 384.6 Bn, which comprised 2.6% of the share of total exports. This is forecast to grow by 2.1% in 2016, reaching a figure of CNY 404.2 Bn in the year 2026, which will comprise 1.9% of total exports of China.

As per the World Travel and Tourism Council data, the share of travel and tourism to Russian GDP was RUB 1106.3 Bn in the year 2015 that comprised 1.5% of total GDP of Russia. This is forecast to rise by 1.5% in the year 2016, and is projected to grow by 3.4% per annum during the forecast period of 2016-2026 and reach a figure of RUB 1574.1 Bn, and will comprise 1.8% of the total GDP.

In the year 2015, visitor exports in Russia generated RUB 826.0 Bn, which comprised 3.5% of the share of total exports. This is forecast to grow by 6.4% in 2016, reaching a figure of RUB 1592.3 Bn in the year 2026, which will comprise 6.1% of total exports of Russia.

According to the data provided by World Travel and Tourism Council, the share of travel and tourism to South African GDP was ZAR 118.6 Bn in the yeah Ar 2015 that comprised 3.0% of the total GDP of South Africa. This is forecast to rise by 3.9% in the year 2016, and is projected to grow by 3.8% per annum during the forecast period of 2016-2026 and reach a figure of ZAR 178.3 Bn, and will comprise 3.4% of the total GDP.

In the year 2015, visitor exports in South Africa generated ZAR 115.0 Bn, which comprised 9.1% of the share of total exports. This is forecast to grow by 5.1% in 2016, reaching a figure of ZAR 211.6 Bn in the year 2026, which will comprise 11.8% of total exports of South Africa.

This comprehensive report equips readers with lucid information and analysis on the sector. Future Market Insights' experienced travel and tourism analysts bring to you accurate and unbiased information to help you make crucial decisions with confidence.

The report offers a 360° view – bringing to the fore key drivers, restraints, opportunities, and challenges prevailing in the sector. To offer readers actionable insights, detailed information on historical trends, current scenario, and future projections is provided in the report.

The report specifically focusses on the leading companies operating in this sector, highlighting their key developmental strategies. A holistic analysis of the leading players is highlighted to help decision makers understand the overall competitive landscape.

This is Why BRICS Countries Offer Favorable Global Expansion Opportunities (Вот почему страны БРИКС предлагают хорошие возможности для глобального расширения) / United States, November, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, economic_challenges
United States

BRIC is an acronym that stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China. In other words, it's a term used to define and group together the world's leading emerging economies. BRICS includes all of the aforementioned countries and, in 2010, expanded its definition to include South Africa. Indeed, BRICS countries offer a wide range of different global expansion opportunities that some organizations are unlikely to find anywhere else.

An Overview of BRICS Countries

Analysts have long predicted that the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China would be among the most dominant in the world by as soon as 2050. in 2010, all five countries were among the fastest-growing emerging markets. But the important thing to note is that this grouping is one based entirely on potential; BRICS is not a political alliance, nor is it any type of formal trade association. Despite no formal alliance, these countries meet often to ensure that each is acting in the interests of other members.

Despite the fact that the combined GDP of BRICS is far larger than analysts originally predicted, there's still a common perception that the group has failed to live up to its own hype. Many analysts (from the west in particular) continue to highlight the potential weaknesses that seem to be inherent to the group. These include factors like disagreements over the shape that UN Security Council reform should take, significant economic instabilities, among others.

On other metrics, however, BRICS' appears to be a success. The five countries have a combined GDP of about $18 trillion, roughly 23.2% of the gross world product. They have an estimated $4.46 trillion in combined foreign reserves, and it is expected that they will continue to grow at a rate of about 5.3% over the next few years.

The main long-term goal of BRICS is to help facilitate a much-needed level of cooperation between the member nations for the purposes of development, to better support various projects, to help provide financial assistance, infrastructure development, and more. Many of its short-term agenda goals also related to development. China, for example, provided Russia an opportunity to expand using its One Belt, One Road initiative, otherwise called OBOR. Brazil and South Africa leverage BRICS for regional security and development.

The first official summit was held in 2009 and featured a short declaration that contained 15 identifiable promises. A few years later, that expanded to about 125 promises. The issues discussed involve everything from settling trade disputes to helping to secure countries like Syria.

According to one study, BRICS has a compliance rate of about 77% on average, with China sticking to its own promises the most and South Africa the least. Experts agree that this is roughly on par with the G7 over the same period of time.

The Impact of BRICS Countries

In terms of sheer worldwide impact, BRICS has been a success. Some even go as far as to say that an entire generation of investors and financial institutions have allowed it to change the way they view emerging markets.

Likewise, BRICS countries are attracting a significant amount of investment from all over the world; companies like Nissan and even large media groups like WPP have developed their own unique BRICS business strategies.

Break into BRICS with an Experienced Expansion Partner

While it's certainly true that expanding into a BRICS member country brings with it a wide range of advantages, it's also not a situation that one should attempt to go through without a certain degree of planning and preparation. To that end, working with a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) is a viable way for companies to test their expansion and growth potential into BRICS quickly and easily, all while mitigating risks.

Velocity Global's suite of global expansion services that includes its International PEO solution offer businesses looking to expand overseas the tools and support they need to grow with confidence. Whether you're considering expanding into a BRICS nation or one of the 185+ countries in which we operate as part of your global expansion, we can help get you there—in as few as 48 hours. Think you're ready to take on a new international market? Let's make it happen.
Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
South Africa's entrepreneurs remain elusive (Южноафриканские предприниматели остаются неуловимыми) / South Africa, November, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, economic_challenges, social_issues
South Africa
Author: Unéné Gregory

I can still recall a time when wanting to become an entrepreneur was a bit taboo. The common sentiment was for one to study further and get a "good steady job", preferably in government. In a time when job security seems to be a thing of the past and finding employment, even among the educated, becomes harder than finding the golden egg-laying goose, why is becoming self-employed still the last resort for most?

When we compare the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries, South Africa is the least populated and has the highest average annual salary of $18 300 a year.
But, at 27.5%, it also has the highest level of unemployment, which limits its capacity to increase the country's economic growth.

What are the other Brics nations doing differently to South Africa?

Part of the shift to democracy was placing greater emphasis on university qualifications over other post-basic education paths. Several artisan colleges and trade schools were either closed or merged with existing technikons or universities, creating many skills shortages. Yes, we are now trying to remedy this faux pas, but it will take some time.

Artisan professions are among the most useful skills for being self-employed: plumbing, carpentry, handicrafts, being a chef. The artisan sector is said to be the second-largest employer in developing countries, after the agricultural sector. Finding the exact number of artisans in most countries is difficult because such statistics are poorly documented.

In 2014, Brazil had about 8.5-million artisans who created a variety of handicrafts as their main source of livelihood, but it still faces a skills shortages. In India, it is estimated that 23-million people rely on creating handicrafts for a living and small, micro, and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) contribute 33.4% to its manufacturing output.

It is estimated that the number of registered artisans in South Africa has dropped from 30 000 in the 1970s to about 3 000 in 2000.

South Africa has similar developmental issues to Brazil and India. These include limited quality infrastructure and a low share of international trade. Imports to South Africa have surpassed its exports, so the country has a trade deficit.

Funding is one of the major problems facing SMMEs in the Brics countries.

Another problem in South Africa is its labour law, which owners of SMMEs say make it difficult for them to retrench employees if they can no longer afford to retain them.

One of the new buzz phrases is the fourth industrial revolution. How is South Africa equipping its youth to become creators of opportunity?

In Brazil, the average annual salary is $6 974 and the unemployment rate is 11.9%, as of September 2018. About 3.5-million SMMEs were registered as of 2007, employing 60% of the workforce and contributing to 40% to the gross domestic product (GDP).

Russia has had a 1.7% growth in GDP over the past year, .2% higher than that of South Africa. The average annual salary is $9 252 and the unemployment rate is 4.5%.

As of 2007, there were about 1.1-million registered SMMEs, accounting for 13% to 17% of its GDP and employing 45% of the workforce. There has been little government support in the way of stimulating entrepreneurship, and an additional problem faced by SMMEs in Russia is excessive bureaucracy.

One standout feature of Russia's SMMEs is their international reach at an earlier stage compared with those in other Brics countries.

In India the average annual salary is $1 434 and it has the lowest unemployment rate, at close to 7%, of the Brics countries. India's SMMEs employ 40% of the workforce and have had a 10% annual growth in overall numbers in the past few years.

Historically, there was more of a hands-off approach by the Indian government towards entrepreneurship, though the government recently introduced reforms to assist SMMEs, such as eradicating indirect taxes and pushing for more products to be manufactured in India.

China is one of the highest growth nations globally. It has focused its efforts on being a manufacturing powerhouse, catering to the world. This was made possible by government assistance to SMMEs for finance and technology to drive them to internationalise their products. The average annual salary is $13 530 and the unemployment rate is 3.9%. It is estimated that SMMEs employ up to 75% of the workforce.

As of 2016, there were about 2.3-million SMMEs in South Africa, and about 1.6-million are informal or survival businesses. This is comparable to India, which also has a high number of unregistered businesses. South African SMMEs contribute between 21% and 40% of the country's GDP and employ about 60% of the workforce.

South Africa's racially exclusionary past still affects the demographics of SMMEs, posing a problem for stimulating entrepreneurship among the historically sidelined.

There doesn't seem to be a clear-cut "right way" for stimulating and supporting entrepreneurship. Among Brics nations, it can be said that the spirit of self-reliance stems from there being almost no government support structures; people identify gaps in the market and opportunities for making a livelihood.

Why then in a country such as South Africa, where various programmes, funds and support structures are available, are entrepreneur numbers so low? Is it less about support mechanisms and more about the general attitude people have towards being self-employed and self-reliant?

Has the tender system, having created tenderpreneurs, inadvertently created a perception that being an entrepreneur means being a middleman or "selling" solely to government?

How do we help people to realise that they are ultimately responsible for their livelihoods and that skills such as creating cultural handicrafts have a global market?

Could the solution simply be for the government to stop trying so hard?

Unéné Gregory is the founder of Ambulation Technologies, a prosthetics start-up. She also writes for The Contemplating Entrepreneur blog

World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
China, Brazil to launch new Earth resource satellite (Китай и Бразилия запустят новый спутник Земли) / China, November, 2018
Keywords: space

China and Brazil will launch a new Earth resource satellite next year, according to an official with the China National Space Administration.

New Satellite

"The new satellite, the China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite-4A, or CBERS-4A, will be launched in the second half of 2019," said Li Guoping, the secretary-general of the China National Space Administration, in a recent interview with Xinhua prior to a symposium held in Beijing Thursday, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of China-Brazil space cooperation.

The CBERS satellites are Earth remote sensing satellites, specifically designed for Earth observation from orbit for non-military use, such as environment monitoring, meteorology and map making.

According to Li, CBERS-4A, the new satellite to be launched, is assembled and currently going through tests in Brazil. It is set to replace CBERS-4. CBERS-4, launched in December 2014, is currently in great condition although under extended service.

"The two countries will also start the final design and research of CBERS-5 and CBERS-6. The two satellites will be successors to CBERS-4A, which is designed to serve for five years," Li said.

China and Brazil inked the agreement establishing the joint research and production of the CBERS series in July 1988. The program has set a good example for cooperation among developing countries in the field of space technology, and has been praised as a model of "South-South cooperation."

Old friends

In July 1988, China and Brazil inked the agreement establishing the joint research and production of the CBERS.

CBERS-1, the first satellite in the program was successfully launched in October 1999, giving each country their first transmission-type remote sensing satellite. It was rated one of the top 10 scientific and technological advances of the year in China.

It was the first satellite jointly developed by China and another country, and set a good example for cooperation among developing countries in the field of space technology, and was praised as a model of "South-South cooperation."

Meanwhile, data from the CBERS satellites, according to Li, are provided to a number of Asia-Pacific and Latin American countries for free.

Future cooperation

"I think the cooperation between China and Brazil in space will last more than that. I hope it will last more than 100 years," said Jose Raimundo Coelho, president of the Brazilian Space Agency in an interview.

Both Raimundo and Li said that the two countries would continue to work together in order to consolidate and expand cooperation beyond the CBERS program.

In 2016, the space agencies of BRICS states announced plans to create a joint satellite constellation for Earth remote sensing. BRICS groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Each country will provide one to two satellites to the constellation, and the project will mainly provide service to developing countries, according to Li.

The CBERS satellites would be included in the constellation program.

"Our satellites have to be useful for the humankind. I believe the CBERS brand will have its role enhanced worldwide. Even more than it already is," Raimundo said.

Chinese cultural heritages in spotlight at BRICS photo exhibit (Китайское культурное наследие в центре внимания на фотовыставке БРИКС) / China, November, 2018
Keywords: social_issues

As one of the major BRICS cultural events held in South Africa this year, the photo exhibitVanishing Cultures of BRICS opened in Kimberley on Nov 14. Guests from the South Africa government and the Chinese embassy in South Africa attended the opening ceremony.

Ten photography works featuring traditional Chinese culture such as the shadow puppet, dragon boat and the Water-splashing Festival greet art lovers in South Africa. Zheng Wen, cultural counselor of the Chinese embassy, introduced the stories behind each photo.

A photo showing a dragon boat race, one of Chinese cultural heritages, at the exhibit. [Photo provided to] Carrying on the spirit of the last BRICS photo exhibit held in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, the event will continue to show the diverse cultures of BRICS countries. The exhibit will last a month.
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