Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 11.2019
2019.03.11 — 2019.03.17
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Russian Deputy FM, Brazilian Top Diplomats Discuss Regional Situation (Заместитель министра иностранных дел России и ведущие бразильские дипломаты обсудили ситуацию в регионе) / Russia, March, 2019
Keywords: mofa, foreign_ministers_meeting, political_issues

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov discussed on Monday with Brazilian Foreign Ministry senior officials the development of bilateral relations along with the situation in the region, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"During the consultations, which were held in the inherent constructive atmosphere of the Russian-Brazilian dialogue, pressing issues relating to the bilateral cooperation, the international agenda, including taking into account Brazil's presidency of the BRICS, and the regional issues have been discussed", the statement said.

Later in the week, Ryabkov is expected to participate in the meeting of sherpas and sous-sherpas of BRICS countries that will be held in the Brazilian city of Curitiba on Thursday-Friday.

On Monday, Ryabkov met with Brazilian Secretary for Bilateral Negotiations in Asia, Oceania and Russia Reinaldo Jose de Almeida Salgado and was received by Brazilian Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Araujo.

According to a diplomatic source, cited by Sputnik, the political crisis in neighboring Venezuela was also one of the topics of Ryabkov's high-profile talks in Brazil — a country that, unlike Russia, recognized US-backed self-proclaimed president of Venezuela Juan Guaido.

Brazil has become a host nation for Venezuelan refugees and has also been a partner with the United States as Washington tries to deliver humanitarian aid into Venezuela. Brazil has also been host to the Lima Group, which recently held a meeting in the country to address the Venezuelan crisis.

The White House said last week that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro would meet with US President Donald Trump on 19 March to discuss a wide range of mutual security concerns in the Latin American region, including the situation in Venezuela.

Venezuela is currently going through a political crisis. In January, lawmaker Juan Guaido was elected as the leader of opposition-led National Assembly, whose authority has not been recognized by other government branches since 2016. After his election was annulled by the Venezuelan Supreme Court, Guaido proclaimed himself the "interim leader" of Venezuela.

The United States immediately recognized Guaido, seized billions of dollars' worth of the country's oil assets and threatened to use military action against Maduro's government. Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia and a number of other countries have reaffirmed their support for constitutionally elected Maduro as Venezuela's only legitimate president.
India supports BRICS cooperation on counter-terrorism (Индия поддерживает сотрудничество БРИКС в борьбе с терроризмом) / India, March, 2019
Keywords: terrorism, top_level_meeting

India extended support for the priority areas set out by Brazil, especially the BRICS cooperation on counter-terrorism, during first BRICS Sherpa meeting held here on March 14 and 15.

The Indian delegation was led by Secretary (ER), TS Tirumurti for the meeting, held under the Presidency of Brazil.

"Brazil has identified countering terrorism as one of its priority areas for BRICS under its presidency. Brazil's priorities for its Presidency includes inter-alia science, technology, and innovation, digital economy, New Development Bank and BRICS Business Council as well as countering transnational crime and terrorism," an official statement outlined.

India conveyed its support for the priority areas, particularly to take forward BRICS cooperation on counter-terrorism in a meaningful and concrete manner with BRICS member countries. "India also underlined the need to take forward inter-alia people-to-people cooperation, cooperation in science and technology and innovation, and also in health and traditional medicine," the statement outlined.

BRICS brings together five major emerging economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - comprising 43 per cent of the world population, having 37 per cent of the world gross domestic product (GDP) and 17 per cent share in the world trade, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

India is one of the founder-nations of the association.
Future of BRICS: BRAXIT or 'Power Next'? (Будущее БРИКС: BRAXIT или «Power Next»?) / Greece, March, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues, global_governance
Author: Niroshika Liyana Muhandiram

The club of emerging political and economic powers of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in response to new global challenges is famously known as BRICS. Since its inception in 2006, it has been a platform to highlight the prominence of multi-polar world order challenging the collision of G-7 members. These five countries account for 20 percent of world GDP and 40% of the world population. Further, they hold 40 percent of gold and hard currency reserves. Being collectively the largest market, their cumulative GDP has tripled in the last ten years.

With the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro on 28th October 2018, many are skeptical about the future of the BRICS as he comes from the far-rightwing camp which seems to be antagonistic to the BRICS. Brazil is the most populous nation in South America with the world's eighth-largest economy of the world. Bolsonaro wants Brazil to be great as Trump wants America to be great. Even during Bolsonaro's campaign period, he has reiterated that his foreign policy would be changed from his precursor. Further, he is a follower of conservative Christianity who profoundly believes in restoring Judeo-Christian tradition against communism.

With this scenario, the future of BRICS has been subjected to controversial as to Jair Bolsonaro would lead Brazil to exit the BRICS moving towards the pro-western camp. Another argues that this collision would last long due to their close trade relations.

The Origin of BRICS

In 2001 the term BRIC was firstly coined by Jim O'Neill, a British economist in a paper written for 'Global Economic Paper' of Goldman Sachs using the acronym stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The first summit was held in 2009 at Yekaterinburg, Russia emphasizing the need of reformations to be made to the international financial institutions. In 2011, South Africa became a member of this group at the third Summit held at Sanaya, China making BRIC into BRICS. The primary purpose of BRICS is to broaden the cooperation among members and enhances the support for multipolar world order. It is mainly an indication of the movement of world power from the west to the South. Since the inception BRICS conducts its annual summit of heads of the states to youth forums though the members don't have their own permanent executive body or a secretariat.

Functions of BRICS

Two main functions of the BRICS are, to 1) liaise with meetings and international organizations such as IMF and G-20 Grouping and to 2) design a framework for BRICS members for multi-sectoral cooperation. Today it covers more than 30 sectors including agriculture, science and technology, culture, outer space, think tanks, Internet governance and security, social welfare, intellectual property, health, and tourism. The forum called BRICS Business Council promotes and strengthens business, trade and investment ties amongst the business communities of the members. Think Tank Council formulates long term economic strategies of the members.

Further initiatives have been made for establishing New Development Bank (NDB) to finance the infrastructure projects in emerging economies and developing countries and also for entering into Contingent Reserves Arrangement (CRA) to promote mutual support among the members in situations of instability in the balance of payments. Demands have also been made to reformulate the IMF but, they were not yet successive because of the resistance caused by the Western power. Moreover, the BRICS are open to cooperation and constructive engagement with other countries, as well as open with international and regional organizations in dealing with current global issues.

Despite this, one of the vital political demands that the BRICS has made to the United Nations Organization is to expand the number of members of the Security Council covering the BRICS members and making decisions of the UNO more democratic and accountable. This shows the importance of BRICS to balance the prevailing world order and also to voice for the global south in international relations.

Challenges Ahead

However, as it is mentioned the foreign policy of Bolsonaro is opposite to the leftist approach which was a blessing to accelerate the activities of BRICS. It is more similar to the protectionist approach followed by the US President, Trump. Once, Bolsonaro said at a press conference as "It is about aiming for a great Brazil like that – the way Trump wants America to be great". This approach is contrary to the joint statement made at the 2ndsummit of the heads of the states held at Brazil where the members pledged to resist all forms of protectionism and fight disguised restrictions on trade. Further, criticisms made concerning multilateralism and pulling out Brazil from Global Compact for Migration also support Bolsonaro's protectionist approach. With respect to the crisis in Venezuela, Bolsonaro supporting the USA rejects Nicolas Maduro as the duly elected President, while all other BRICS members accept Maduro as democratically elected president.
Moreover, distant relations between China and Brazil also a reason to make BRICS in a more controversial position. With the Xi Jinping's rise in China from 2013, China took the leadership of the BRICS group and proposals were made at the Fortaleza Summit in 2014 to establish NDB to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies, as well as in developing countries. However, Bolsonaro's far right and anti-communist ideology is contrary to fundamental policies of China. His early visit to Taiwan and South Korea and China's reaction on his visit has greatly influenced on assuming Bolsonaro would choose between BRICS and OECD members.

Nonetheless, since 2009 China is the top trading partner of Brazil and on the other hand export of soy to China from Brazil is as crucial as the arrival of Chinese investment into Brazil. According to a recent study carried by the Started Charted Bank, China will become the largest economy of the world in 2020. Hence, though there is much ideological dissimilarity, both the countries are dependent on each other concerning their trade relations.


If Bolsonaro is more driven by his far-right ideology than by pragmatism, he will not deal closely with the BRICS members. However, it is difficult to assume that he will abandon this BRICS group as Brazil is highly dependent on Chinese imports. It would be challenging for him to dramatically shift in his trade relations having with China and also with Russia. More importantly, in the middle of this year, it is Brazil's turn to host the BRICS summit of 2019. Though there are no valid reasons for BRAXIT, i.e. for Brazil to exit from BRICS, Brazil would not be an active player in BRICS making BRICS into the most powerful allies of the South as it happened during LuizInácio Lula da Silva's tenure. Skepticism arose even when Narendra Modi appointed as Prime-Minister in India coming from the far right wing that how BRICS is going to maintain cooperation among members with the rivalry between India and Russia. Further, Brazil was not prominent in BRICS during his predecessors Dilma Rousseff and Michel Temer's period. Conversely, it's not only stance of Brazil has been changed even China doesn't seem to be willing to invest much on the BRICS as in the past. As Lord Palmerston once stated, "in international relations, there is no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies. Only the interests are eternal and perpetual". Hence, BRAXIT seems to be far away than we assume.

BRICS Should Avoid Becoming an anti-US Group (БРИКС должен избегать превращения в антиамериканскую группу) / Russia, March, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance
Author: Dattesh Parulekar

How do Indian experts see the role of BRICS in world politics and what do they think about current relations between Russia and India? Dattesh Parulekar, Assistant Professor, Centre for Latin American & International Studies, Goa University and Vice President, Forum for Integrated National Security (FINS), shares his thoughts on these issues.

What role should BRICS play in the rapidly emerging new world order? Some Indian experts believe that the role of BRICS has declined.

Actually the role of BRICS has not declined, the role of BRICS has only enhanced. Because right now there are big changes in the world. The U.S. is retreating from the world order. It is creating a vacuum, and in international relations no vacuum remains a vacuum. A vacuum has to be filled by some powers stepping in. And today it is not the world where a single power can step in. This is where BRICS can play an important role. What BRICS does is that it brings five powerful economies, powerful entities, strategic powers from different parts of the globe together. During the entire last decade BRICS has been able to go not only beyond statements, but has actually been able to develop new processes, new perspectives. And these perspectives have been very important because they allowed for building a consensus in relation to what has been perceived as a western order. The BRICS trend lies in providing alternative to the established western order. And that alternative is evoking progress. And every bit of the five countries are contributing to it in their own way. Of course, BRICS is not immune to the shifts in the balance of power. For example, what was the US–Russia, you know, competitive hegemony is now the US–China competitive hegemony. Still, Russia remains a very important strategic player. In fact, Russia has become a swing player. Essentially Russian goals determine the balance of powers, placing Russia in a very privileged position vis-à-vis BRICS. Also the fact that India, China and Russia now have reactivated the trilateral dialog called RIC, which happened in Buenos Aires, is also going to give further strength to BRICS. Because now they can actually use their trilateral cooperation as the building block within BRICS to strengthen BRICS even further. Ultimately, we all understand that, without being disrespectful to any country, there are big powers and small powers in BRICS. Brazil and South Africa are not on the same level as global powers Russia, China, and India. So, in that sense, RIC and the cooperation it entails actually becomes a building block for a stronger BRICS, which can provide a credible alternative to the western order or western institutions, etc.

So, you think that BRICS has positive future prospects?

Yes, I do. BRICS has a very important role to play, so long as it does not get into the fixation on becoming anti–US union, providing alternative is different from being confrontational or adversarial. There are some risks there because right now the US–Russia relationship is very adversarial. So it's possible that some of that can spill over into the BRICS situation. So BRICS has to adopt an agenda for autonomous action. But it should not become the opposite of America's. It shouldn't be a club, which is going to oppose America, since BRICS countries have also expressed willingness to work with the US. The objective is to find a more stable and a better world order. By providing alternatives you force both sides to come to negotiations. And that's why they are very clear about certain positions, for example on Syria. The position is very clear — there should be no regime change from the outside. At the same time, there was an acceptance of the fact that there must be some kind of a settlement and the terrorists have to be eliminated within Syria. On the issue of IMF and the World Bank — for BRICS countries, the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) is a real achievement. They are now trying to implement BRICS technology fund, which is also a very important area. So these are real areas where BRICS is contesting the western order without necessarily becoming adversarial or confrontational to the western order. And that is where the success of BRICS lies. It's to find balance. That's what India has in mind, that's what China has in mind and that, I'm sure, in a larger context, is what Russia would have in mind.

Should BRICS expand its membership to become stronger?

There are some talks of a BRICS Plus concept. It has actually been suggested that, in terms of membership, India would like the accession of Mexico, while China would prefer Indonesia. I think such countries as Mexico and Indonesia are very prominent candidates.

Why are India and China interested in Mexico and Indonesia?

Because Mexicans are quite autonomous within Latin America. Do you understand Latin America's psychology? I always say that Brazil is the France of Latin America. Because, within Europe, France always stood up to America at times when it felt that Europe has been subjugated. They are not like the British, who just chase the Americans all the time. Brazil has stood up to the US on many occasions. Similarly, in this kind of scenario, Mexicans are now standing up to China. This is why there is a feeling in India that bringing a country like Mexico actually phases out the advantage that China currently has, because China can really dictate terms within BRICS through Brazil and South Africa. It is also due to Russia no longer enjoying the status of a great power that it used to be — it is still a significant power, it's a major power, but not a great power. If you remember Russia after the Ukraine crisis and the way Putin was embarrassed; there was a sense of isolation that Russia was feeling. BRICS provided a sense of comfort then. But there is also a lot of dependency building up in Russia on China. That helps China to dictate terms. So you need somebody as a counterbalance. Russia would also like to have a counterbalance. So, in keeping BRICS more stable and not be siding with China, Russia and India have a similar position.

Now, Indonesia is a very interesting case. For a long time the Chinese have felt very comfortable about bringing Indonesia in, because right now China has got Indonesia in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). There are a lot of projects. For example, high speed railway initiative that is happening right now. There are too many projects Jakarta is investing into and it needs the Chinese to conclude these projects, because only then Indonesia will be able to move to a higher level of economic mobility. And that's why the Chinese feel that they are their best friend.

That's why, in my opinion, China wants Indonesia and India wants Mexico. BRICS has its very important role to play but obviously, it has to keep building. It has to consolidate. I think that big challenge that BRICS will face is the issue of how to harmonize the policies. There are five countries from five different parts of the world, five different systems.

Do you have an answer on how to harmonize BRICS?

It again will be decided on case by case basis. For example, when it comes to legal harmonization, there is a big problem. Right now, if we are looking for some kind of customs union from BRICS, we are talking about trading investment treaty for BRICS, which can basically cover investment framework and investments that are made by BRICS countries within themselves. That's difficult to do because each one has a different legal system. Each one has a different political system. Russia is a different democracy, if you think it's one. India is a different democracy. China is not a democracy. The Brazilians have a different situation with regards to the rule of law. And the South Africans have their own problems right now. It is problematic when it comes to legal harmonization. When it comes to harmonization around political idioms, along political economy, along economic inversions, it is much easier. Rather than going into too much of the negative aspects of BRICS, focus on what BRICS has been able to accomplish: the BRICS bank, providing loans based on different parameters as compared to the World Bank and the IMF. There is green lending, for instance, which is conscious of ecology. There is lending that is now more transparent and is more objective now. Prime Minister Modi has talked of the BRICS University. It will be a science and technology place for innovation and research, where we can pull Russia's technological expertise with India's human resources, with certain elements that China brings in, and Brazil adding to it by its own pioneering potential, which stands very good in terms of airplanes, in terms of ethanol, etc. So this kind of activity really can make BRICS powerful. BRICS can be stronger in the field of socio- economic measures, it can be stronger in the field of political and diplomatic actions, it can be stronger in the field of economics, but it should avoid the temptation to become an anti-American group.

Do you think it is possible to create a joint currency for BRICS countries, like euro in EU?

I think that it will be difficult, because right now the best what they can do is agree to some kind of currency swap. No one currently sees the problem with the currency. China operates a very big banking system and no one really knows what it is all about. Right now there are so many bad debts. We don't even know the extent of bad gate. China is multi debt leveraged. China could actually be sitting on a bubble. And if the bubble bursts, the fall could be huge, so the other parts of the world will suffer. The problem is that currency union is an extremely sophisticated cause of action. It can only happen when we have a great deal of legal harmonization, economic convergence, traditional working together. But, yes, currency swaps, if they can agree, can help to clear payments. For example, right now India is buying the S-400 from Russia, and the Americans told us that we could not pay in dollars. The Americans are upset that we are buying the S-400 instead of their THAAD system. We allowed the Americans to dictate to us what we should do. So if we cannot pay in dollars, now we are working over with the Russians on what to do. Let's go back to what we used before — rupee-ruble. Under these circumstances, currency swap could be a better idea than currency union right now.

Currency union is a sophisticated way of economic convergence. It took the EU over 40 years to establish the economic and monetary union. These are different countries, but they are a part of one continent. Here we have five countries in five different parts of the world, so it's not realistic — the currency union right now. Currency swap agreement — yes, it can happen.

Let's talk about Russia–India relations. What we can do to improve them?

Sometimes they look very good and sometimes not. Look, I think the bottom line today is: we are living in the world where it is not rhetoric thatgoverns relations. It's not what you say, it's what you do. India and Russia really need to first improve their trade relations. I think we are trading just too little — around 10 billion USD. India trades 130 billion USD with the US, while Russia has been a traditional trading partner for years. There were numerous reports written in both countries about what to do, and given to Modi and to Putin. But somehow they are not able to move things forward. There are serious problems in the ways Russia's and India's economies are geared. Russia perceives itself as a free market economy, but it's not really a free market economy at all. There are huge concerns with regard to investors investing in Russia.

Why is India afraid to invest in Russia? How can our bilateral trade and economic be improved?

The Indian investors are afraid to invest because they are not comfortable with the idea of legally tested investment treaty, which can lead to and hold up in courts. Because they feel that tomorrow, if Putin decides on something, the courts may not resist. The courts may issue an order in favor of Putin. There is no confidence in the way the Russian system works. It's the unfortunate part. While investors are impressed by Putin's strong leadership, he also needs to be able to convince international investors through the rule of law that Russia can secure their investment. China has the same problem. But so far, Russia and India are not able to find convergences on what to trade. For instance, we are suggesting to trade in diamonds. That is one area, but there is a lot what we can do actually. We need to be able to encourage skill development, human resource interaction, for example, IT services, science and technologies, skill development, distant manufacturing. There are certain areas where both of us have certain core strengths, but we are not able to really put them together. That is why we still focus on defense, defense, defense.

Right now we can see certain chemistry between Modi and Putin. But chemistry can't bring the relationship forward. You can hug as much as you want, that is not going to make business. Business is about sitting down and doing the hard things. There are enough reports, by the way. It's not like we don't know what to do, but there are enough reports. The question is: how do we make it happen? Today Indian students don't look at Russia as one of the top list countries to go to and study. There are more students going to China from India than there are going to Russia. Right now, there are 60,000 Indians working in China, 17,000 students studying medicine, engineering. Indians used to go to Russia to study these subjects, but now they go to China. So these are concerns that we have to take on board. Many Indian families do not feel secure looking at the current situation in Russia. We really need to address these issues and, for once, be move from the focus on defense and look at non-defense areas. We can do a lot of innovation as well. You still have science and technology. Look at Russian defense – you send us the weapons that you've developed. Russia still has space technology, good science, engineers. And that's a common fit. We have to find new models, in which we can work together rather than just focus on the defense sector.

Interviewed by Anastasia Tolstukhina, RIAC Website Editor.
Brics could pave the way to a new world order (Брикс может проложить путь к новому мировому порядку) / South Africa, March, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion
South Africa
Author: Klaus Kotzé

The Munich Security Conference is a leading annual forum on international security and strategy. The theme of its recent instalment, The Great Puzzle: Who Will Pick Up the Pieces? assesses the crisis in the global order. Its report asks: Will "the defenders of the post-1945 international order be successful in preserving its main elements and piecing at least some of them back together? Or will the world continue to move closer to, as former Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov has warned of, a 'perfect storm' — the cumulative effect of several crises happening simultaneously that could destroy the old international system before we have even begun to build a new one"?

This question is circumscribed by its limited and dialectical scope.
It presents the international order as singularly dependent on Western states, ignoring the agency of others. It is, therefore, deeply flawed. Our world is significantly different from that of 70 years ago, an era that was comprehensively dominated by the West, with the United States at its core.

The West is, and increasingly will become, relatively weaker. Even if it wished to do so, it has neither the means nor the ways to preserve a dominant command over the globe. As power shifts away, historic hubris and strategic reluctance preclude the West from recognising and, therefore, consolidating the modern diffusion of power. Until all legitimate forces are acknowledged as pieces of the "great puzzle", the condition of global power will remain, as Italian dissident Antonio Gramsci said, an interregnum: "The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born."

Instead of a fused order being born, the old masters of power are enforcing an enduring interregnum. The intertwined existence of the key states ensures that their pushing and pulling maintains a delicate inertia.

Chief among those unwilling to relinquish control is the United States. As the architect of the recent order, it remains the greatest power and the central agent in this inertial (dis)order. Its response to internal decay and loss of relative power, not a "perfect storm" of external factors, has led the Donald Trump administration to change its tactical means and ways towards maintaining its core national interests: continued pre-eminence and global leadership.

It is necessary to perceive its tactical movements, not the noise around it, to discern the grand strategy of the US in the 21st century.

Trump has boldly commenced this new strategy: a shift from providing global security and ensuring open markets, pursuing singular global command over a multilateral order, to a brazen 'America First' policy, seeking unilateral control in a contest among others. Though its current crude form is subject to pressure and its continuation post-Trump is unclear, the US cannot and will not sustain its stand as global guarantor and guardian.

It will revoke its benign approach in order to take care of itself, first; its internationalism is being replaced by nationalism. The US will pursue its assertive national interest by leveraging its dominance; exerting power in order to maintain it. It will use its influence over partners as strategic instruments for co-option. Its retreat from the Iranian nuclear deal and its reimposition of sanctions on Iran limits partners from pursuing independent agendas. Its pressure on the international mechanisms that it first assembled, such as the World Trade Organisation, prevents others from drawing benefit where it does not reciprocally profit.

This return to nationalism should not be contorted by propaganda into a crass, malign pursuit. An ideological approach conceals its strategic intent; an emotional approach subverts an appropriate response. Instead, these moves should be seen as real; the global power is rescinding its constitutional arm from the international order. It is returning the world to its normal order; for a state to be independent, it must claim power itself.

Realpolitik has awoken from its slumber.

Europe must realise that these tactical shifts are not simply the moves of an erratic US president. Europe must be strategic. Yet, to be truly strategic it needs to be consolidated and autonomous. A true strategy only exists where independence is expressed, where territory and truth are commanded.

Europe's disintegration is the goal of Trump's éminence grise Steve Bannon and his The Movement. Europe's reform towards a consolidated union is its greatest challenge.

The 2016 European Union Global Strategy takes a considerable step, employing strategy towards its interests; it is the first programme to declare strategic autonomy as its objective. To achieve this goal it must shed its ideological straitjacket and wake up to realpolitik.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas recently made a call for practical intervention. He invoked an "alliance of multilateralists … a network of partners who stand up together for the preservation and further development of the rules-based order". First, the salvaging of the state-centred international arrangement is needed to prevent disorder and decay. A lateral network among independent states, based upon the core principles of the United Nations Charter presents a practical point of departure. Such an order critically recognises the strategic autonomy of states; it accepts multiplicity and rejects a narrow ideological approach.

Such a network of partners currently exists in the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) bloc. Though Brics remains misperceived and poorly articulated, it has been consolidated as an intergovernmental regime towards maintaining and reforming the global order. Brics rhetorically performs and promotes the principles and norms of the UN Charter. It develops an alternative narrative towards steering international co-operation and exchange.

This articulation of the international order confronts hegemonic conceptions, asserting that no unilateral interpretation holds as absolute truth. By returning the state to the centre of global power, it asserts that sovereign states are not circumscribed by each other but only by legitimate international law and order.

Brics functions as a multilateral co-operation, in relation to the UN, not the US. Its emphasis on the legitimate principles of the UN points to Western liberal democracy as being a singular version inside a diverse international system; Western states are pieces of a broader puzzle. By collectively claiming the legitimate space for states to be independent, Brics disrupts hegemonic inertia; it seeks to transcend the interregnum, to claim its representative global influence and to reform global order according to its interests.

Brics's challenge to hegemony is not direct. Instead, its strategic communications return focus to the UN Charter, advancing its core principles: sovereign equality, peaceful coexistence and non-intervention.

Brics states have gained immense power under the open, networked order. It employs principled sovereignty to salvage this system and advance non-ideological co-operation. Its co-operation among its dissimilar member states presents a partnership that respects difference and recognises independence.

In closing her keynote address to the Munich Security Conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of the disintegration of the global order. She stated that the great puzzle comes down to one foundational matter: instead of going it alone, we must abide by the co-operative, win-win principles of multilateralism. Merkel's promotion of the Chinese maxim of win-win relations represents a clear rebuke of US unilateralism and the concomitant decay of order.

Any attempt to deny the major states their respective place in global order will fail. Only an inclusive order can be stable; the picture only coheres when all the puzzle's pieces are present. Order and not disorder is in the interest of the entire world. It is only by placing practical difference and not ideological uniformity first that global order can be sustained and reformed.

Klaus Kotzé recently completed his PhD at the Centre for Rhetoric Studies at the University of Cape Town on the subject of Brics and its strategies of persuasion.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
BUSA congratulates new members of the BRICS Council (Деловое Объединение ЮАР поздравляет новых членов Совета БРИКС) / South Africa, March, 2019
Keywords: business_council
South Africa

DURBAN - Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) has welcomed the appointment of the new Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Business Council and congratulated the members and new chairperson, Busi Mabuza.

The Council members, who were nominated through BUSA and the Black Business Council (BBC), come from diverse sectors and will seek to optimise opportunities for South African business within BRICS. According to BUSA, the combination of the individuals in the Council bodes well.

BUSA is pleased that this is a Council appointed by business, is made up of high-calibre individuals and is inclusive of senior businesswomen.

The BRICS Business Council is designed to play a facilitative role for South African business. The Council has indicated that it will bolster its working committees, which BUSA looks forward to, particularly on the energy and the green economy, skills, agriculture and manufacturing, where business can share opportunities and learnings within BRICS.

The mid-term meeting of the Business Council is scheduled to place in early April 2019 in Johannesburg.

BUSA wishes the Council well and thanks its members for their willingness to serve on behalf of business.

BRICS Business Council members: Busi Mabuza (BUSA), Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba (BUSA), Bridgette Radebe (BBC), Stavros Nicolaou (BUSA) and Elias Monage (BBC).
Comprehensive reports, BRICS research materials
BRIC(S): Everything Compared (1980-2017) (БРИК (С): все в сравнении (1980-2017)) / United States, March, 2019
Keywords: rating
United States

This video will compare countries using some of the most important aspects, which includes but not limited to GDP, GDP per capita, population, exports and imports of goods and services, life expectancy, HDI, etc... In this video, we will explore the BRICS countries, including Russia (USSR), China, Brazil and India in detail from 1980 to 2017.
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