Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 9.2019
2019.02.25 — 2019.03.03
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's opening remarks during talks with Foreign Minister of Angola Manuel Domingos Augusto, Moscow, February 28, 2019 (Вступительное слово Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова в ходе встречи с Министром иностранных дел Анголы М.Аугушту, Москва, 28 февраля 2019 года) / Russia, February, 2019
Keywords: foreign_ministers_meeting, sergey_lavrov, speech


Foreign Minister, my dear friend,

I am delighted to return the hospitality you showed me during my visit to Angola last year here in Moscow.

I remember our detailed, substantive talks very well, as well as my reception by President of Angola Joao Lourenco. All of this made an important contribution to the continued progress of our relations. Let me particularly note the meeting between the presidents of Russia and Angola in July 2018, on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg.

We value our relations going back many decades and based on the firm ties of friendship and mutual affection between Russians and Angolans, the roots of which can be found in the history of the joint fight against colonialism.

Today we have a good opportunity to build on the agreements reached by our presidents by discussing the entire range of bilateral relations and our close cooperation at international organisations.

I am very glad to see you.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's interview with Vietnam Television and China's CCTV and Phoenix TV, Moscow, February 24, 2019 (Интервью министра иностранных дел Сергея Лаврова телекомпании Вьетнамского телевидения и китайскому телевидению и телеканалу Phoenix TV, Москва, 24 февраля 2019 г.) / Russia, February March, 2019
Keywords: mofa, sergey_lavrov, speech

Question: From Vietnam you will go to China for a meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC). How important are these ministerial meetings in the RIC format? What are your expectations for the upcoming trilateral meeting?

Sergey Lavrov: RIC is a promising format, which has initiated many modern tendencies in politics. One of its founding fathers was Yevgeny Primakov when he held the post of foreign minister in 1996-1998. He proposed developing trilateral contacts between Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi. This initiative eventually reached the level of foreign ministers when we held the first unofficial contacts.

The first RIC summit was held in 2006. After that, our interaction gathered momentum at regular ministerial meetings, which were held once a year or every 18-24 months. The second RIC summit, which was held last year on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, has reaffirmed the three countries' role in the rising system of international relations, a system that is more democratic and fairer.

When Yevgeny Primakov advanced this idea, he foresaw that the growth of China and India and Russia's ability to overcome the problems of the mid-1990s would ensure the three countries' integral involvement in the development of a new system of international relations, not a unipolar or bipolar, but a multipolar world. The more there are poles – China, India and Russia are independent poles on the international stage – the greater the need to keep the system balanced. The development of contacts in this trilateral format is an attractive example for many other parts of the rising multipolar system.

RIC led to the creation of an important and rapidly developing group, BRICS. The addition of Brazil changed the abbreviation to BRIC, which turned into BRICS with the accession of South Africa. The group is well structured at the level of top leaders and regular meetings of foreign, economy and finance ministers. Moreover, this group is one of the poles within the G20, where it serves as a balancer. There is the Group of Seven (G7), which is promoting its own agenda, and there is BRICS, which the other G20 countries, including Argentina, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, support because they are focused on the positions which BRICS upholds and is promoting.

RIC is a member of the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the East Asia Summit and other organisations. The ability of our trilateral group to operate in all these formats serves as a stabilising factor of multilateral platforms. I hope that the ministerial meeting scheduled for next week will be very instructive. We are preparing a joint statement. Despite minor differences in the RIC states' positions, we always manage to coordinate joint decisions. It is an example of how compromises can be reached.

Question: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, as well as the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and China. Chinese-Russian relations, which have reached their historical high, have become a model of a new type of international relations. In early March, two sessions will be convened in Beijing, to discuss all the important issues of China's development, including diplomatic aspects. How do you assess Chinese diplomacy in recent years? How do you see the future of our relationship? How should we comprehensively develop our strategic partnership and mutual cooperation?

Sergey Lavrov: It seems to me that this is not an exaggeration. The leaders of Russia and China have more than once described the current stage in Russian-Chinese relations as friendly and close as never before, and as a strategic partnership. I believe that the intensity of the political dialogue between Moscow and Beijing is at a record level now. Last year, four meetings were held between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of China Xi Jinping. They exchanged state visits, then met twice on the sidelines of international events such as the BRICS and G20 conferences. Whenever our leaders participate in multilateral events, they always find time for a bilateral meeting. This way they keep in touch, frequently comparing notes, as we say, and understanding the nuances in each other's positions. It is definitely easier to work out collective approaches.

In addition to summits, the Russian and Chinese prime ministers meet annually, following the established mechanism of regular meetings. Various official bodies work before such meetings, and there are special commissions for the preparations. There are five intergovernmental commissions headed by deputy prime ministers, which cover specific areas of our cooperation from investment to cultural and cross-border projects. They cover each and every format of cooperation, including industry and high technology.

Now we are holding cross years of Russia-China interregional cooperation, a project that holds enormous potential for adjacent regions on both sides of the border. By the way, there is a special intergovernmental commission on interaction between the Russian Far East and the Baikal region with Northeast China.

Indeed, this year marks 70 years of our diplomatic relations. We are celebrating this anniversary and our intensified cooperation. There are special events planned – the list is now being coordinated. Russia and China closely coordinate their approaches in the UN and other organisations I mentioned (the SCO, the East Asian BRICS summits, the G20), in many cases they are the drivers of these interstate groups.

I very much hope that the policy Moscow and Beijing are now pursuing will continue and gain traction. This policy is to take into account the approaches of all participants in various associations, not to impose one's own point of view, as it sometimes happens in other organisations, to try to include in our collective position the requests of other members of BRICS, the SCO or other groups in which Russia and China interact. I think this is a good example of modern-day leadership.

China, Russia, India working for fairer order (Китай, Россия, Индия работают на достижение более справедливого порядка) / China, February, 2019
Keywords: foreign_ministers_meeting, expert_opinion, sergey_lavrov, wang_yi
Author: Fu Xiaoqiang

Multi-polarization and globalization remain the broader trend across the world, although the international community seems to be returning to the era of great-power competition. As the main forces behind the building of a new world order by promoting multi-polarization, China, Russia and India should strengthen their cooperation mechanism, deepen collaboration and clarify their respective priorities at different stages of cooperation through regular meetings among their foreign ministers.

But none of the three countries have forged closer relations to challenge the United States' leading role in what used to be a unipolar world after the end of the Cold War, nor have they attempted to reinvent the wheel.

Beijing, Moscow and New Delhi have expressed their willingness to collaborate. And as late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping stated, the "Century of Asia" will not be realized without the development of and cooperation between China and India.

Good collaboration at United Nations

China, Russia and India collaborated well at the United Nations and at other forums and occasions in the 1990s to counter the activities and conspiracies waged against them by the US-led West. In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, cooperation among China, Russia and India developed rapidly with the establishment of multiple cooperation mechanisms including BRICS, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the G20.

The strength of the West has largely weakened and the reshaping of the world order accelerated. As the three of the largest emerging economies, China, India and Russia recognized and addressed the need to improve friendly relations not only to advance each other's interests, but also to safeguard regional security and interests.

Of course, the US has been the common factor why China, Russia and India have deepened cooperation. Actually, the opposition to US policies, to a large extent, has helped push the three countries closer. In the long run, Washington would not allow New Delhi to challenge US interests, though of late it has been increasingly currying favor with the latter.

US' global outlook different from the rest

Generally, the contradiction between multi-polarization and a unipolar world, manifested as the contradiction between the emerging powers and the US, is the world's primary contradiction. Relations with the US are prioritized as the core issue in diplomatic strategies of the three countries, which hope to foster stable and healthy relations with the US. Still, none of the three countries can pin their hopes on the goodwill of the US.

China, Russia and India are able to unite developing countries and negotiate with the US-led West by developing an effective and strategic relationship and significantly increasing their collateral power on the global stage. Yet the three countries have no intention to form a coalition. They only want to establish a new center of strength in international relations. Promoting multi-polarization, albeit a long process, is the three countries' common goal. With that goal in mind, they should continuously enrich the strategic content of trilateral cooperation and resolve practical issues.

Trilateral cooperation entered a new stage after India became an official member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the meeting between Chinese and Indian leaders in Wuhan, Hubei province, in 2018. Given that the US is going its own way by championing the "America First" policy and opposing globalization, China, Russia and India must confront the challenge ahead and shoulder the responsibility of protecting developing countries' interests, safeguarding regional security and promoting a fair world order.

Shouldering common responsibilities together

First, the three countries should fulfill their common responsibility of promoting strategic stability in the "Indo-Pacific" region as they are not only the major countries in the region, but also key beneficiaries and guardians of the region's security and stability.

Based on its alliance with several countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the US attempts to promote the "Indo-Pacific" security framework with itself at the center. But regional security cannot depend on the US alliance system which prioritizes American interests.

Moreover, as independent powers China, Russia and India have never aligned with any group when it comes to strategic security. The non-aligned yet close strategic interactions among the three countries could shift the global balance of power and ensure strategic stability in the region apart from beefing up their respective national security.

Fighting extremism, terrorism and separatism

Second, the three countries face the common challenge of containing the spread of the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism. Central and South Asia are the two regions where the evil forces are very active.

Besides, with the Afghanistan issue hanging in balance and the US prepared to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and leave the country without resolving the terrorism issue, China, Russia and India should work closely with each other to promote stability in Afghanistan, prevent the evil forces from expanding their activities and provide a conducive security environment to help connect their regional development strategies.

Above all, the three countries need to comply with the reality of rising security demand and adjust to the new situation, marked by the war on terrorism, which the US is in no position to lead. The three countries should therefore provide public security goods by deepening their cooperation, for which they have to hold regular meetings, including at forums such as the SCO, and building a security environment conducive to the linking of development strategies.

Immense room for collaboration

Third, the three countries also have to strengthen their strategic cooperation. The demands from Eurasia and the domestic markets of China, Russia and India have provided much room for the three countries to link their strategies. China's Belt and Road Initiative, Russia's Eurasian Economic Union and India's Project Mausam overlap with each other. For instance, the three countries could promote collaboration to improve interconnectivity and regional development.

Given that the three countries are important driving forces of multilateralism and democratization of international relations, as well as key members of BRICS and the SCO, they can easily propel the development of the two new types of international organizations, by deepening strategic cooperation. And the strategic consensus reached by the three sides will be vital for voicing developing countries' collective concerns and appeals. In fact, the three countries have put forward a series of propositions that would benefit global economic recovery, financial stability and further develop globalization.

While pushing to link their respective development plans, the three sides should diversify and strengthen the meeting mechanism for their foreign ministers and enhance strategic collaboration and cooperation under multilateral frameworks such as BRICS, the SCO and the G20, so as to propel the reform of global economic governance system.

Yet cooperation among China, Russia and India does not mean the three countries aim to build a group against the US. The connotation and outward manifestation of trilateral cooperation have developed and expanded constantly. In the future, the three countries need to overcome resistance, give full play to the function of a new multilateral mechanism and strengthen strategic links and common development, in order to help shape a global order that's fair and reasonable.

The author is a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks between RIC foreign ministers, Wuzhen, February 27, 2019 (Выступление и ответы на вопросы СМИ Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова в ходе совместной пресс-конференции по итогам встречи министров иностранных дел РИК, Учжэнь, 27 февраля 2019 года) / Russia, February, 2019
Keywords: mofa, speech, foreign_ministers_meeting, sergey_lavrov

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is the 16th time that the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC) have held this meeting. Today we met in this wonderful part of China, where we enjoyed a warm welcome and hospitality of our hosts, to exchange opinions on the current global and regional topics, following on the results of an informal meeting the leaders of Russia, India and China held on November 30, 2018, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

We note with satisfaction that our positions are similar or identical on the most important and fundamental topics.

We hold similar views on the global developments that are related to the rise of a more democratic and fairer polycentric world order based on mutual regard for each other's interests, broad international partnership and respect for the specific cultural and civilisational features of the world's nations.

We spoke out in favour of strict compliance by all countries without exception with the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, including respect for the sovereign equality of states, non-interference in the internal affairs of others and non-use or threat of force. We expressed our grave concern about the striving of some countries to undermine the existing system of multilateral institutions and to replace international law with a "rules-based order." We pointed out the counterproductive nature of the attempts to destroy basic agreements in the field of global security and strategic stability and to call into question the internationally recognised framework for settling crises and conflicts.

We agree with our Chinese and Indian partners that our efforts within the framework of RIC to formulate and promote a constructive international agenda are especially important in the light of current global developments.

We have agreed to continue to coordinate our positions at the UN, G20, BRICS and the SCO, as well at the multilateral platforms in the Asia Pacific that are taking shape around the ASEAN nations.

We expressed our concern over the current dangerous trends that are unbalancing the multilateral system of global trade, the increased application of protectionist measures, trade wars and an increasing practice of illegal unilateral economic sanctions adopted in circumvention of the UN Security Council. We believe that all states must have equal opportunities as well as fair conditions to take part in global economic activities.

We pointed out the need to step up the common efforts of the RIC countries in the fight against the terrorist threat and the proliferation of the extremist ideology and drug trafficking. We held an in-depth discussion on international cybersecurity, highlighting the special importance of two resolutions adopted at the 73rd UN General Assembly: Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security and Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes. Talks are to be held at the UN on these resolutions, which were initiated by a group of countries, including Russia.

We talked at length about the crises in Afghanistan, the Korean Peninsula and Venezuela, as well as about the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including in the context of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear issue. We exchanged opinions on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, including the Palestinian problem, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. I updated my colleagues on the Sochi summit of the guarantor countries of the Astana Process on Syria held on February 14. We are grateful to our Indian and Chinese friends for the high appreciation of that event.

We have agreed to discuss the expansion of our trilateral cooperation to new cooperation spheres and avenues that are of mutual interest. In particular, we spoke about the merits of contacts between the secretariats of the national security councils and financial intelligence services, regular meetings of the members of our academic communities and youth forums. The next RIC youth forum will be held in Russia in 2019.

As Member of the State Council and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi has said, we also discussed the possibility of initiating the meetings of our defence ministers.

All the results of our consultations and talks have been incorporated and expanded upon in the Joint Communique, which will be posted later.

We will report to our leaders on the work we have done today. We will propose holding another informal meeting of the RIC leaders on the sidelines of one of the upcoming multilateral events.

It has been already announced that Russia will host the next meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China.

Question: The Russian Security Council reported that American military equipment and special forces have been sent to countries bordering on Venezuela. What steps is Russia taking or planning in response? According to the Security Council, that could potentially mean an upcoming intervention. What comments would you make on Washington's reaction to Moscow's warnings about a military intervention being unacceptable?

Sergey Lavrov: We are closely following the reports on what is really going on there. We see some completely shameless attempts to artificially create a pretext for a military intervention; we can hear direct threats from Washington that all the options remain "on the table." There is a confirmation to the threats you have just mentioned – military equipment sent and special forces exercising. At the same time, we also note the continuing provocations aimed at breaking through the border under the pretext of delivering humanitarian aid and on the expectation of casualties. That, in keeping with a well-tested scenario, will be followed by hysterical screams and an attempt at a militarily intervention.

We are actively working with all countries that are concerned as we are over the prospect of a military solution. It is no accident that the leadership of Brazil declared that they would neither participate in nor provide their territory for an American aggression against Venezuela. I have not heard similar statements from the leadership of Colombia yet, but maybe I have missed something. I proceed from the assumption that not a single South American country, including all members of the Lima Group, who actively support the holding of early presidential elections in Venezuela and support the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, has expressed support for a potential military intervention.

It seems to me that the US should heed the opinion of the region's countries. First of all, we recommend concentrating on the ideas contained in the Montevideo Mechanism formulated by Uruguay, Mexico, and the Caribbean Community countries, which implies holding a nationwide dialogue with the participation of all political forces. President Nicolas Maduro has repeatedly expressed his readiness for such a dialogue. Unfortunately, Juan Guaido and his entourage reject such proposals and demand that their ultimatum on holding early presidential elections be met.

Yet another disturbing circumstance is that Washington, encouraging members of the country's leadership to state in public that the days of President Maduro are counted, says directly that Cuba and Nicaragua will be next. That is, the Monroe Doctrine, which implies that the Americans should not allow anyone to sneak into South America, is paling before the doctrine that is taking shape right before our eyes. This doctrine means that the Americans are arrogating the right to use force wherever they please to overthrow regimes that for some reason they are not happy with. It goes without saying that international law will be undermined. The Americans are trying to replace it with the notorious "rules-based order." You can guess what rules the United States has in store for the Latin American region.

I really hope that all countries committed to the UN Charter will raise their voice to say that such an approach is unacceptable and will insist on the necessity of a nationwide inclusive dialogue. Venezuela's problems can be solved solely on the basis of the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, such as the sovereign equality of states, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, inadmissibility of interference in internal affairs, or just everything stipulated in this crucial international legal document. It is not accidental that the Venezuela section of the statement we have formulated today demands that this problem be solved on the basis of the UN Charter, which must be respected by all countries without exception, including the United States.

Question: You have long made it a rule to meet in this trilateral format. Are there any plans to organise a meeting of heads of state or defence ministers in the same format?

Sergey Lavrov: We have already released information that we have agreed to consider the possibility of developing mechanisms for meetings of the three countries' defence ministers. We will recommend that our leaders hold another informal summit on the sidelines of one of the upcoming multilateral events, where all the three leaders will be present.

The Ambassador's Conference (Rome, 30 October 2018): The outcomes of the Tenth BRICS Summit in Johannesburg (Конференция посла (Рим, 30 октября 2018 года): итоги десятого саммита БРИКС в Йоханнесбурге) / South Africa, February, 2019
Keywords: speech, off_docs
South Africa

REPORT of the BRICS Ambassadors' Conference promoted by the Embassy of South Africa in collaboration with SIOI and Eurispes and carried out in Rome on October 30, 2018.

The Report provides useful elements to better understand the strategy of the BRICS international coordination and the commitments that will be developed during 2019 with the chairmanship of Brazil. The Report also illustrates the assessments and proposals presented by the Italian side. The documentation is completed by the final Declaration of the X summit and a selection of press articles that introduce the problems of 2019.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
BRICS energy co-operation: Why Russia and South Africa still need each other (Энергетическое сотрудничество БРИКС: зачем России и ЮАР по-прежнему нужны друг другу) / South Africa, February, 2019
Keywords: cooperation, economic_challenges, expert_opinion
South Africa
Author: Luanda Mpungose and Anna-Maria Chkoniya

While the controversial $76-billion nuclear energy deal between South Africa and Russia is off the cards, the country — and by extension, the remaining BRICS nations — is still on Russia's horizon when it comes to energy partnerships. Looking back, the flawed nuclear deal offers lessons for future engagement on this front.

BRICS — the bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — represents some of the world's largest energy consumers and producers. By 2040 the BRICS nations will account for 45% of all global energy consumption and production, the Analytical Centre of the Government of the Russian Federation predicts.

These nations have energy strategies that have proven to be complementary, opening up opportunities for enhanced intra-BRICS energy co-operation to foster domestic energy security and stimulate economic growth among the bloc.

While the controversial $76-billion nuclear energy deal between South Africa and Russia is off the cards, the country — and by extension, the remaining BRICS nations — is still on Russia's horizon when it comes to energy partnerships. Looking back, the flawed nuclear deal offers lessons for future engagement on this front.

Moscow's growing need for diversification

Russia is one of the world's largest gas and oil producers and exporters, with significant proven reserves and extensive expertise and technological capacity. That's why the BRICS energy agenda is central for Moscow.

In 2016, petroleum and gas accounted for more than 50% of Russia's exports. The energy sector drove Russia's economic boom from 2003 to 2008 with high commodity prices. Russia's over-reliance on these industries, however, makes the economy vulnerable to changes in global energy commodity markets. The effects of the 2008 global financial crisis were somewhat mitigated by Moscow's National Stabilisation Fund. The Russian government has subsequently undertaken measures to reassess the role of oil and gas in the economy and render its energy security less vulnerable to shocks.

This diversification strategy has included a central role for nuclear energy. A key element of Russia's Energy Strategy to 2035 (first published in 2015) is developing and exporting nuclear energy goods and services, to spur infrastructure and technology development and drive economic growth.

This strategy of tochki rosta (points of growth) also aims to use energy infrastructure projects to spread economic and social development across Russia, as seen in the Power of Siberia Pipeline that will transport gas from Siberia (Irkutsk and Yakutia gas production centres) to consumers in Russia's far east (and China too). The pipeline, stretching over 3,000km, is a fundamental element of a 30-year gas supply contract with China to the value of $400-billion, which is expected to promote economic growth across Russia's far east.

As relations between Russia and its traditional energy partners in the European Union deteriorate, Moscow has had to reorient itself towards new partners. This new direction in Russian foreign policy, dubbed Povorot na Vostok (Russia's Pivot to the East), implies closer economic and energy ties to emerging and developing markets (including BRICS and African countries).

Moscow's engagement with Pretoria is part of this diversification strategy. But equally, Pretoria has a strong incentive to engage on energy co-operation with Russia. Starting in 2008, the country has been plagued by an electricity crisis due to ageing and insufficient generation infrastructure. The situation has illustrated the need to diversify and increase the country's electricity supply, which hampers economic growth. It is against this backdrop that Russia and South Africa began negotiations on a nuclear energy deal in 2010.

Pretoria looks to renewable energy

Despite nuclear energy being seen by some as less environmentally damaging than fossil fuels, as well as more reliable, the controversial negotiations between Russia and South Africa around a nuclear deal led to widespread condemnation and protests by civil society groups in South Africa. This deal was considered unsustainable for South Africa given the size of its economy and was declared unlawful and unconstitutional by the Western Cape High Court in April 2017.

Following Jacob Zuma's resignation and appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa as president of South Africa, the country has undergone a policy shift away from nuclear and has looked to renewable energy projectsinstead.

While nuclear seems off the radar for now, in January 2018 an agreement was signed between the Russian state energy company Rosatom and the South African government to construct small hydropower plants in Mpumalanga to power rural regions of the country. This is a key component of South Africa's energy security strategy. Each mini hydropower plant is expected to power 250 to 400 houses.

This project could be the first of several small hydro projects aimed at generating innovative and affordable energy in South Africa and across the continent. In its strategy to expand in Africa, Rosatom's CEO Dmitri Shornikov has announced scholarship opportunities for African students to develop research on nuclear energy.

The energy dialogue between Russia and South Africa is set to continue within the BRICS framework where natural complementary elements exist between all member states. The shelved nuclear deal holds key lessons too, to ensure that energy co-operation is approached with some level of rationality and understanding of differing country priorities.

First, large-scale projects and technology transfers need to carefully consider the economic size and priorities of the countries involved, to ensure viability. Second, there needs to be a careful study of policy changes in individual countries, particularly when there has been a change in government. Last, South Africa's nuclear energy deal ruling demonstrates the importance of due diligence before negotiations and agreements. DM

Luanda Mpungose is the Programme Officer for the African Governance and Diplomacy Programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs. Anna-Maria Chkoniya is a Masters graduate of the International Economic Policy programme of Sciences Po Paris and International Relations of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). They attended the 2017 BRICS Summer School in Shanghai, China.

Brazil, Russia, India and China—BRIC Definition (Бразилия, Россия, Индия и Китай - определение БРИК) / United States, February, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, economic_challenges
United States
Author: Christina Majaski

What Is Brazil, Russia, India, and China—BRIC?

BRIC is the economic initialization for the countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Economists believe these four nations will become dominant suppliers of manufactured goods, services and raw material by 2050. China and India will become the world's dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and services, respectively, while Brazil and Russia will become similarly dominant as suppliers of raw materials.

This growth is due to lower labor and production costs in these countries. The BRIC initialization expanded to include South Africa as the fifth nation in 2010. Many companies also cite BRIC nations as a source of foreign expansion, or foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities. Foreign business expansion happens in countries with promising economies in which to invest.

BRIC's Growth in Global Dominance

In 1990, BRIC countries accounted for 11% of global gross domestic product (GDP). By 2014, this figure rose to nearly 30%. These figures include a high in 2010, following a plunge in value, surrounding the 2008 financial crisis.

BRIC countries were originally projected to be the fastest growing market economies by Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs in 2001. The Goldman Sachs thesis does not argue that these countries are a political alliance, like the European Union (EU), or a formal trading association. Instead, it asserts they have power as an economic bloc. BRIC countries have not announced formal trade agreements, but leaders regularly attend summits together and often act in concert with one another's interests.

It has been postulated that by 2050 these economies would be wealthier than most of the current major economic powers.

Further, BRIC is now also used as a more generic marketing term. For example, Columbia University established the BRICLab, where students examine foreign, domestic, and financial policies of BRIC members.

Fast Facts

  • Refers to the idea that China and India will, by 2050, become the world's dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and services.
  • Brazil and Russia will become similarly dominant as suppliers of raw materials.
  • BRICs offer a source of foreign expansion opportunity or promising economies in which to invest.
  • BRIC expanded to include South Africa as the fifth nation in 2010.

Introduction and Early Writing on BRIC

In O'Neill's 2001 report, published by Goldman Sachs, he noted while global GDP was set to rise 1.7% in 2002, BRIC nations were forecast to grow more quickly than the G-7. The G-7 are a group of the seven most advanced global economies which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In the paper "Building Better Economic BRICs," O'Neill runs through four scenarios for measuring and projecting GDP, adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP). In these scenarios, the nominal GDP assumption for BRIC rises from the 2001 measurement of 8% in U.S. dollars (USD) to 14.2%—or, when converted at PPP rates, 23.3% to 27.0%.

In 2003, Dominic Wilson and Roopa Purushothaman wrote a report "Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050," again published by Goldman Sachs, claiming that by 2050 the BRIC cluster could grow to a size larger than the G7 when measured in USD. The world's most significant economies would, thus, look drastically different in four decades, with the largest global economic powers, by income per capita, no longer being the wealthiest nations.

The 2007 work, BRICs and Beyond focused on BRIC growth potential, along with the environmental impact of these growing economies and the sustainability of their rise. The report considered the Next 11, (N-11), a term for 11 emerging economies, in relation to the BRIC nations. The study also looked at the overall ascendency of new global markets.

Real World Example

O'Neill's BRIC thesis has been challenged over the years as the economic and geopolitical climate has shifted. Arguments include the notion that raw materials in BRIC nations China, Russia, and South Africa are limitless. Those critiquing the growth models say they ignore the finite nature of fossil fuels, uranium, and other critical and heavily used resources. It has also been argued that China outstrips the other BRIC members economies in GDP growth and political muscle, putting it into a different category.
NDB successfully placed 3 bln RMB bond In China interbank bond market (НБР успешно разместил облигации на 3 млрд юаней на рынке межбанковских облигаций Китая) / China, February, 2019
Keywords: ndb, rating, economic_challenges

The New Development Bank (NDB) successfully placed CNY 3 bln RMB-denominated bond in the China Interbank Bond Market on 25 February 2019. The bond was placed in two tranches with maturities of 3 years (RMB 2 bln) and 5 years (RMB 1 bln) and it was priced at the lower end of announced pricing range with coupon rates of 3% and 3.32% respectively.

"The NDB successfully raised RMB 3 bln at very attractive price levels, which marks another formidable milestone for the Bank. Pricing of the bond is a good reflection of the NDB's high credit quality," said Mr. Leslie Maasdorp, NDB VP & CFO. "In line with the NDB's General Strategy, the Bank intends to become a regular issuer in local currency markets of its member countries. The Bank is currently awaiting regulatory approvals to issue local currency debt in a number of markets of its member countries," he added.

The bond was more than 3 times oversubscribed with more than 20 orders from domestic state-owned, joint-venture and rural banks, fund companies, securities companies, foreign banks and sovereign funds. The orders were balanced from onshore and offshore investors. For tranche-1 (3-year bond), China Mainland represented 56% of investors, Europe – 21%, Singapore – 8%, Macau SAR – 8% and HK SAR – 7%, while for tranche-2 (5-year bond) China Mainland represented 57% of investors, Europe – 20%, HK SAR – 18% and Japan – 5%.

"We are very pleased with the outcome of the RMB bond issue. The Bank was able to diversify its investor base, and we are encouraged by the fact that a significant part of our investor base comes from regions outside of Mainland China. The geographical distribution reflects a strong demand from global investors for China local currency bonds issued by a highly rated international issuer," commented Mr. Leslie Maasdorp.

The NDB is the first overseas entity which received Renminbi Bond Programme approval by the National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors (NAFMII), with the total size of 10 bln yuan (approx. USD 1.5 bln), under the Interim Measures for the Administration of Bonds Issued by Overseas Issuers on the National Interbank Bond Market announced by People's Bank of China (PBOC) and China's Ministry of Finance (MoF). The Bond became the first offering of the Bank under the Renminbi Bond Programme.

"We are honored to be the first international issuer of Panda Bonds after a joint announcement of Panda Bond Interim Measures by PBOC and MoF. The NDB is committed to support China's efforts to internationalize its capital markets", said Mr. Leslie Maasdorp.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited acted as the lead underwriter and bookruner, Bank of China Limited, Agricultural Bank of China Limited and China Construction Bank Limited acted as the joint lead underwriters for the Bond.

In July 2016, the NDB successfully issued its first Green Financial Bond with the issue size of RMB 3 bln and tenor of 5 years in the China Interbank Bond Market.

Background information

The NDB was established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. To fulfill its purpose, the NDB will support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments. According to the NDB's General Strategy, sustainable infrastructure development is at the core of the Bank's operational strategy for 2017-2021. In August 2018, the Bank received AA+ long-term issuer credit ratings from S&P and Fitch.
BRICS countries to create own payment system to cut dependence on West (Страны БРИКС создадут собственную платежную систему, чтобы снизить зависимость от Запада) / Russia, March, 2019
Keywords: economic_challenges, digital, innovations

The five major emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – are developing a joint new payment system called BRICS Pay, the Russian media has reported.
BRICS countries want to create a special online wallet to integrate the payment systems of its five member states, Izvestia said on Friday citing the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). Russia's wealth fund is reportedly working on the project alongside its partners from China and India, who have the necessary technologies to launch the system.

The service will be similar to existing Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, allowing users to pay with a smartphone app no matter what currency the customer's account is linked to. A special cloud platform is to be created to link BRICS countries' national payment systems.

The pilot version of the payment system is to be tested in April in South Africa, who joined the bloc in December 2010, adding the last "S" to the acronym.

BRICS own payment system is to significantly reduce the dependence on transnational payment organizations, which is especially important amid geopolitical tensions, RDIF vice president told Izvestia. Meanwhile, the president of Russia's Chamber of Commerce said that the integration of the national payment systems is a top priority for the bloc given financial market volatility and the dollar rate.

The central banks of BRICS countries, as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), have been working on developing a joint payment space. However, the Central bank of Russia, as well as Russia's Finance Ministry, have not specifically discussed the creation of the online wallet yet, according to the outlet.

BRICS countries, excluding for South Africa, have their own domestic national payment systems – China has UnionPay, India developed RuPay and Brazil has ELO. In Russia, it is the Mir payment system, launched by the Central Bank of Russia in 2015, a year after Western sanctions against the country were introduced.
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