Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 16.2019
2019.04.15 — 2019.04.21
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Brazil and India in a Multilateral World (Бразилия и Индия в многостороннем мире) / India, April, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, cooperation, global_governance
Author: Akanksha Khullar

The subject of discussion is of great importance as Brazilians are amongst the foremost practitioners of the art of multilateralism and commercial diplomacy. India and Brazil have been strategic partners since 2006. Within the G4, both countries work closely for the reform of the UN Security Council. They are also members of the G2o, where they seek to play a more meaningful role in financial matters. Along with South Africa and China, India and Brazil have collaborated within the BASIC framework to address environmental issues. Finally, India and Brazil are leading supporters of BRICS. The New Development Bank (NDB), which seeks to offer an alternative to the IMF and World Bank without strings attached, is a major success in this regard.

India and Brazil also are a part of IBSA, which was subsumed under BRICS although there have been recent efforts to revive it. Both countries have played a leadership role and coordinated closely in the WTO, WIPO, and various other international forums. They are also major contributors to UN peacekeeping missions. India has a preferential trade agreement with Mercosul, which has been moving forward incrementally, with Brazil being the most pre-eminent country from the Mercosul side. Finally, although India has a special waiver to enjoy NSG benefits, it has sought Brazilian assistance to become a full-fledged member.

Brazil and India in a Multilateral World
H.E. Andre Aranha Correa do Lago

India and Brazil are undoubtedly respected regional leaders. They now share the ambition of becoming global actors on a stage that already has established powers. These are not just military powers but powers in the sense that they have structured international institutions. In this multilateral world, India and Brazil have the objective to contribute substantively to ensure that all voices are heard. Both countries are not satisfied as mere participants in a structure created by others.

The fact is, many of the established powers have lost touch with the circumstances that affect a majority of the world's population as their decision-makers belong to a generation that for instance did not experience extreme poverty or instability in their countries. As a result, they lack understanding of a variety of significant global issues such as demographics or challenges regarding large cities.

Moreover, several established powers have in recent times become more inclined towards plurilateralism or bilateralism. This is obviously because they want to retain their powers and keep that advantage of having created as well as established international structures. However, India and Brazil still believe deeply in multilateralism as the fairest system for the conduct of international relations, and are thus working to use plurilaterism to strengthen it. BRICS is a good example of this endeavour.

Different metrics or logic apply to what is perceived as a suitable system of global governance. Those that deal with the UN view things differently than those concerned with the World Bank or IMF. Within the UN, for example, both India and Brazil can seek equal benefits, but this same rule does not apply to their interactions with the financial institutions, where those who have more can do more.

Brazil and India: Multilateral Collaborations

As a result of their multilateral objective as well as the restrictions imposed by international mechanisms, India and Brazil have successfully collaborated and worked together to create groups that are specific to certain problems. BRICS is an example of this shared vision. Another example is the G20. The G4, which considers the expansion of the UNSC's permanent members, is an important measure of the collaborative work undertaken by countries like ours.

Although it has not merited much discussion of late, IBSA is another very interesting grouping. It is the BRICS of democracies, and countries that have challenges in common that are separate from China and Russia, and this obviously opens many exciting opportunities. An important aspect of IBSA is that China does not direct the agenda, which means India and Brazil can achieve a lot more without being restricted.

BASIC was formulated to advance sustainable development and address climate change issues. In fact, the foundations of the Paris Accord came from BASIC proposals made to the US and the EU. India and Brazil noted the tendency of the most developed states to dilute the importance of the climate change convention, and since both strongly believe in multilateralism, they took up the task of strengthening global climate change negotiations.

Brazil and India: Bilateral Ties

While Brazil and India are strongly committed to multilateralism and plurilateralism, this strength does not replicate in their bilateral relationship. There is no structure for initiating a strategic partnership in the form of annual presidential visits or foreign ministry meetings.

The reason for this lack of bilateral engagement could be explained by their expansive multilateral experience. Nonetheless, this issue of not having a strong bilateral agenda has been compensated somewhat by the parallel meetings that take place alongside other meetings, such as the BRICS summits or at the UN. The real issue, quite possibly, it the lack of any real problems in the bilateral relationship, which makes other equations more pressing and urgent.

Despite these limitations, India and Brazil are witnessing some positive bilateral developments. They have established bilateral trade relations, although the volume is not significant. They also have growing investments which in recent years has increased considerably. Indian investments in Brazil now amount to US$ 9 billion, and Brazilian investments in India stand at US$ 1 billion. Eeven then, this number demonstrates that much more can be done through capital to enhance engagement between the two countries.

What is the way forward?

Public opinion in Brazil and India should ask their governments to do more.. More Indian opinion-makers can be brought down to Brazil, and vice versa

These exchanges could begin with the exchange of information in the field of technology given the number of start-ups and young peoples' engagement in this sector, particularly agro-tech, in both our countries. The significance of this dimension lies in the fact that both Brazil and India have very similar circumstances, especially regarding the challenges of development, poverty of infrastructure, and so on.

In addition, India and Brazil can also work to offer solutions to other countries that suffer from similar problems, given their vast collective experience. Mozambique, Myanmar, Colombia, Venezuela are some such examples.

There is also a need to create a diplomatic structure that provides the mandate to further bilateral ties. This structure will also give enormous flexibility to embassies. This proposal has been put forward to Brazil's Indian counterparts but unfortunately the work is still pending.

Overall, the bilateral relationship looks promising, with both Brazil and India taking similar positions on important global issues. The only missing component is the involvement of civil society and public opinion, which, in both countries, is very diverse, and can contribute meaningfully to making the relationship truly multidimensional.
Minutes of the 11th Meeting of BRICS Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Signed (Подписан протокол 11-го совещания глав ведомств интеллектуальной собственности БРИКС) / China, April, 2019
Keywords: concluded_agreement, top_level_meeting

The 11th Meeting of BRICS Heads of Intellectual Property Offices (BRICS HIPO) was held in Cape Town, South Africa from April 15 to 16 local time. Commissioner Shen Changyu of the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), President Cláudio Vilar Furtado of the National Institute of Industrial Property of Brazil (INPI), Director General Grigory Ivliyev of the Federal Service for Intellectual Property of Russia Federation (ROSPATENT), Controller General Shri O.P. Gupta of the Office of the Controller-General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks of India (CGPDTM) and Commissioner Rory Voller of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission of South Africa (CIPC) led delegations respectively and attended the meeting. President Saule Tlevlessova of the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO) attended opening sessions of the meeting as a nonvoting delegate on invitation. Minutes of the 11th Meeting of BRICS HIPO was signed in the meeting.

Shen Changyu pointed out that 2019 was the seventh year of cooperation among the BRICS IP offices. With closer relations of cooperation, more practical cooperation content and more fruitful achievements, the BRICS IP Cooperation Programme had been playing a more and more significant role in the international IP industry. During the two days of meeting, the BRICS IP offices had in-depth discussions on issues of IP strategy of medium, small and micro-sized enterprises, national IP strategies and enhancement of public awareness, personnel training, data exchange and information services, management of overstocked patent applications and strengthening of cooperation at international forums; consensuses were reached and remarkable achievements were made. Shen Changyu remarked that he hoped for the BRICS IP offices to further implement the BRICS Summit Declaration and the Joint Statement on Strengthening Intellectual Property Cooperation , and promote IP to play a more significant role in promoting cooperation among BRICS countries.

The meeting approved the template for BRICS IP public awareness enhancement and the management framework document of the BRICS IP cooperation website, and passed and signed the minutes of the 11th Meeting of BRICS HIPO. It was confirmed in the meeting to continue to hold BRICS Intellectual Property Examiner Training Seminars and promote the BRICS countries to cooperate on exchanges of patent information and data. The meeting also decided to extend the BRICS IP cooperation to the fields of design and trademark.

During the meeting, the BRICS IP offices also exchanged views on hot topics including cost reduction for PCT of universities, WIPO standards, WIPO's external offices, and language expansion of the Madrid System and the Hague System. INPI will serve as the chairman of the BRICS IP Cooperation Programme for one year since April 2019.

On April 14 local time, Shen Changyu had bilateral talks respectively with heads of INPI, ROSPATENT, CIPC and CGPDTM, and exchanged opinions on strengthening bilateral cooperation and other IP topics of common interests. (Translated from CNIPA Website Chinese Version)

A Specter Is Haunting The West (?): The Brics And The Future Of Global Governance (Призрак преследует Запад (?): БРИКС и будущее глобального управления) / Spain, April, 2019
Keywords: research, expert_opinion
Author: Francesco Petrone


Western countries are living a period of fragmentation that is (probably) undermining their leadership in dealing with an accountable global governance. Regarding global governance, it has received some criticisms such as the one that identifies it with a theoretical and unclear definition of an illusory enlarged participation to global decision-making, but in practice an attempt to impose Western policies. Furthermore, emerging powers like the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) may undermine this dominance, and the very meaning of global governance itself, inaugurating initiatives that tend to promote their presence in Global South, the creation of parallel institutions, their soft power and the (apparent?) engagement in global issues, such as climate change. In this article, we first analyze the acquired weight of the BRICS, then we highlight the weaknesses of global governance and finally we try to understand what impacts BRICS may have on it.


A specter is haunting the West (?)—the specter of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), that represent one of the most important threat to a "consolidated" international system, deriving from globalization, under the predominance of Western countries both in an economic way (Stiglitz, 2002) and in global governance (GG) (Friedrichs, 2005). Currently, there are some important issues that are happening in the West world: it seems that Europe is struggling to find some unity, while US policies are creating more isolation and opening way to a more instable world, this is the case, for example, of the so-called "commercial war" and the decision to give up COP21 agreements on climate change previously taken in Paris in 2015.

In the meanwhile, the BRICS are devoting themselves to consolidating their presence (and their power) in much of the so-called Global South, to achieve greater cooperation to change current global governance, giving impetus to the reform of international financial institutions (BRIC, 2009), and give a new shape to their soft power by trying to gain more importance and accountability: it seems that despite the recent crisis that they have gone through, BRICS countries are claiming to improve cooperation in some important fields in order to cover a "gap" regarding their "charm power" (Stuenkel, 2016) backwardness.

Ironically, their strength to achieve more closed cooperation, seems to coincide with the vacuum left by Western countries, "distracted" by the above-mentioned issues, and in particular with the (prospective) "end" of Pax Americana (Layne, 2012). This could bring a number of consequences: 1) the end of US unipolarism and the transition to a multipolar world? 2) The end of Western hegemony and the switch to a Non-western world (Stuenkel, 2016) where the BRICS, led by China, could represent a new hegemony?

These are only few of the several questions that could raise from the current situation. In addition, this paper tries to answer above all these questions. Of course, it has not to be considered an exhaustive analysis, but an interpretation of the international framework on the light of recent events, and a speculation on a possible scenario for the future. First, it is without doubt that BRICS countries have shaken the international order, and their claim to have a more decisive role in shaping GG (BRIC, 2009), is having its effects. So, more key questions are: is the BRICS an accountable bloc or does it have limits? Are the Western countries really declining and which consequence this could have on the future of GG?

This is a key moment in history that could give a chance to these "emerging powers" to occupy a more central role in the international framework. Of course there are multiple limits, for example we can consider the current situation in Brazil where the recently elected president, Jair Bolsonaro, announced that Brazil will leave Paris Agreements (Goodman , 2018) and will try to find more closeness to US (Spetalnick, 2018); the difference of interests manifested among BRICS (Lo, 2016); their still important dependence by fossil energies and coal that make they still "conservative" players in climate change (Basso and Viola, 2016); the absence of a consistent commonality of interests required to form a lasting coalition (Brutsch and Papa, 2013), and also the rhetoric beyond their discourses (Downie and Williams, 2018).

But there are several signals that indicate that BRICS countries could gain more effective closeness in key fields and that, even if they will not be able to cover leaderships gaps worldwide, they will surely give a different path to global order (Duggan, 2015): in the coming years, world economic and political agenda-setting will also depend on the moods of these countries if they will be really able to give an effective weight to their recent growth. At the same time, if they are able to overpass their limits and the rhetoric beyond their discourse and their internal differences (Ujvari, 2015; Lo, 2016), they could probably be able to challenge the Western hegemony (Stuenkel, 2016).

West vs BRICS?

In any case, the impression is that the "specter" of the BRICS is already hunting the West. In fact, there are several signals that the power of these emerging countries is provoking a certain degree of "scare" in Western countries: for example US tried to stem the growing influence of the BRICS, and China in particular, with specific economic treaties aimed at limiting its economic influence such as the TTP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), a treaty from which US then withdrew (Gracie, 2016) and TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). They tried to hit Russia with economic sanctions and by other diplomatic means such as the attempt to create more isolation around it after the "Skripal case", in which also most of the EU countries aligned themselves with Britain and US (Stone, 2018) against Russia. However, there could be more examples, such as the US endorsement to Bolsonaro's presidency, which could destabilize more the bloc, and so on. In conclusion, Western answer to BRICS raise seems to reflect the old roman lemma divide et impera (divide and conquer), i.e. create diplomatic and economic instability within the BRICS bloc in order to favourite a growing division among the member states, thus decreasing the impact that they could have on the future of global order.

However, behind this apparent homogeneity of intents by the West, there is instead a fragmentation among themselves. For example, there is a huge gap among European countries on the approach to be had with Russia (and with other BRICS countries such as China or India). In fact, after the "Skripal case", Austria did not expel Russian diplomats, unlike of almost all the rest of other EU countries, while Greece did not want to take a clear line against Russia probably because of their bilateral relations (Coen, 2018). Furthermore, some Eastern European countries are opening to the Chinese market, from where they will probably receive more advantages than the European one, as shown by the warm welcome to the "Belt and Road Initiative" (Makocki, 2017). Moreover, some European countries have decided to be members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a China-led bank with a huge presence of BRICS members such as India (8.7% of total capital) and Russia (6.8% of total capital). The decision of being part of this financial institution irritated the US (Perlez, 2014). However, there is also an ambiguous situation in trade between EU and US, with the latter trying to approve protectionist policies, and EU divided on the approach to have in regard to US policies (Grunstein, 2019). Thus, it seems that in the West there are few and sometimes-ineffective strengths to find some unity: fragmented EU and US are trying to cope with the current global situation.

Just to summarize, it seems that emerging countries, such as the BRICS bloc, are gaining more decisive importance in the international arena, inaugurating policies aimed at covering those roles that the West seems to be in difficulty to deal with. We wonder what effect this situation will have on GG.

To answer to these questions, we first track the origins and the possible impact of BRICS, and then we analyse "what's wrong" in GG by mapping, on the basis of theoretical supports by other scholars, the limits and gaps that it has at the moment, and why the BRICS could give a different impetus on it. In a second moment we will analyse which influence BRICS are gaining in the world by taking as examples the importance of "parallel institutions", their presence in other "peripheral" countries (i.e. the Global South), and which advantages they could obtain by promoting policies aimed at dealing with global issues, like climate change, in terms of soft power.

The BRICS: Origin and Possible Impact

In the last decade, BRICS countries have had a very significant economic growth (even if recently they are passing through a recession, as in the case of Brazil). The term BRICS (originally BRIC, when South Africa was not yet part of the group) was coined in 2001 by Jim O'Neill in the report, by the Investment Bank Goldman Sachs, entitled "Building Better Global Economics BRICs", to describe the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC). Subsequently, with the entry of South Africa (2011) the term officially became BRICS. Since then, their growth has caused great concern in the Western world because the BRICS have started to playing an increasingly important role in the international scenario, both from an economic point of view and from a decision-making one, and causing reactions (for example in terms of protectionism) that can be considered also as an attempt to defend Western countries, and US in primis, from this now threatening situation. However, this attempt is not only producing a commercial war (and, potentially, not only), but it is also creating a "vacuum of power", fostering greater possibilities for other parts of the world, such as BRICS, leaded by China, to occupy those roles that US, and the West in general, is probably leaving. In fact, despite the above-mentioned gaps, BRICS have fostered cooperation in some important areas that will give them a growing importance, if coordinated in a correct way (Downie and Williams, 2018):

Stocktake of multilateral and bilateral meetings between the BRICS since 2015 suggest that there are areas that could be ripe for cooperation. Three areas are identified: energy efficiency, agriculture and development finance. Further, bilateral relationships between BRICS members, such as between China and India, could help to shape global climate governance agendas going forward and over time provide a basis for coordinated BRICS action.

Thus, the surprising growth of the BRICS has allowed themselves to have a more authoritarian voice in the global scenario. Furthermore, their economic weight and the achievement of important development have strengthened their partnerships and claimed a more common line to undertake in cooperation, as often declared during the various annual BRICS summits that have taken place.

Among their cooperative purposes, the BRICS have repeatedly claimed to give a contribution to shaping GG (Xinhua, 2017). Over the years, their voice has been growing more, so much to encourage reactions from Western, which found themselves fragmented also because of the economic crisis that has struck them, and in which the growth of these countries has certainly had certain influence.

In this sense, the European Union, conceived as a civilian power and which represented a model to be imitated (Rifkin, 2004), in recent years has lost a great part of its charm (soft power) and highlighted some important failures such as the way in which to deal with issue like migrants, just to give an example. The same can be said, with due differences, about the US. In the last years some policies decisions, that have their emblematic representation in "America first" doctrine, have created even more accentuated issues.

In addition to the above-mentioned choices, US have taken initiatives that have undermined relations also in regard with their historical allies, the EU itself. It is, for example, the case of the position taken by the US towards the agreement of Vienna (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA ) of 2015 with Iran. This agreement, which had fostered a positive reaction and the Iranian adherence, was aimed at curbing the country's nuclear energy production that would have further destabilized Middle East area. The opening screams of victory for a reached consensus, however, were followed by the opposing decisions by President Trump, who eventually decided to leave the agreement, provoking again a diplomatic reaction and protest from the EU, concerned about the potential consequences that this decision may have in the area, as well about safeguarding its image and its global power, that has appeared weakened (Grunstein, 2018). Thus, it seems that not only within the EU and the US, there is a fragmentation, but it is also appearing between them (Carrel, Nienaber, 2018; Batabyal, 2018, Mansfield, 2018).

This situation, may encourage a greater realignment of BRICS countries that, by making pacts of greater closeness among them (Withnall, 2018), could organize a sort of "resistance" to the Western modus operandi, by creating "parallel institutions", by representing the voice of the Global-South and/or the "rebel" world against the Western policies that have so far ruled, as in the case of Venezuela (Pons and Shepherd, 2018) or in Africa, and finally by trying to cope with global issues, especially climate change, that could further improve their soft power.

We wonder how effective their actions could be, and how much their action will shake GG. But before considering their effective impact on it, it is important to understand the limits of GG.

Global Governance and Its Limits

The term "global governance" has become deeply used in political language in recent years. If, on the one hand, it is used as a means to describe a certain type of international order, on the other hand there are innumerable critics of the use of this concept: it does not clearly describes a specific framework, but it shows a deep lack, in terms of descriptions, of the international context. In fact, there are several definitions given, but actually almost all of them define a process, or a set of international processes, which do not have a precise order. Just to take some of the definitions, Lawrence Finkelstein highlighted, "Since the international system notoriously lacks hierarchy and government, the fuzzier word 'governance' is used instead" (Finkelstein, 1995). Of the term "governance" itself, Finkelstein highlights its lack of definition. He states that, "We say governance because we don't really know what to call what is going on" (Finkelstein, 1995). Thomas Weiss outlines a clearer picture of the term. He states that the word "governance" is employed "to connote a complex set of structures and processes, both public and private" (Weiss, 2000).

Thus, in theory the word denotes an undefined set of processes that lead to decisions, taken by both public and private sectors, related to the international dimension. But it is not clear at all at which level and in which way these decisions are taken, also because within the global governance process are involved different centres of power, and not only one. In this sense, the identification of a clear process of decision-making is unclear. What is clear, is that GG tries to cover decisions that affect the world as a whole, and deals with those "problems without passport" described by Kofi Annan (Annan, 2009). In the global context, these decisions ranging from terrorism to diseases, from climate change to the participation of civil society, from the decisions that affect trade treaties to the initiatives taken during economic crisis. In every area thus far mentioned, and others, the decision-making processes have been carried out with the aim of fostering a more global dimension and involving multiple actors (stakeholders).

Although GG involve, at least in its theoretical path, a form of enlarged participation, there have been several critics that have outlined a number of ambiguities in the decision-making processes. Starting from the whole definition of the term itself and continuing through the institutions and stakeholders involved, they have often tended to consider this set of structures and processes as a different way, from the Western countries, to impose worldwide decisions.

The term "governance" itself, for example, has gained critics related to its English origin (i.e. with a deep English-US influence). In fact, some scholars have outlined how its use, coming from an English vocabulary, leads to more undefined understanding of the term itself. Just as an example, we can mention Jörg Friedrichs (2005):

It is hard to translate "governance" into languages other than English, where the Oxford English Dictionary traces the term back by the well into the 14th century. Thus, the French "gouvernance" is easily discernible as a loan translation. Whereas "governação" and "governança" have conquered a firm place in the Portuguese vocabulary, "gobernanza" still sounds odd to Spanish ears. The Italians have simply assimilated the English term into their domestic vocabularies, and the same is true for the Germanic and probably for the Slavic languages. Given its difficult translatability into languages other than English, it is reasonable to assume that the term "global governance" is culturally not neutral.

The author thus conclude: "it is relatively clear that the conceptual diffusion of global governance into other language areas would be unthinkable if America was not the centre".

At the same time, other critics of the GG process come from the current functioning of international system, and the related attempt to "give an order to the disorder" in international decision making process. However, despite this good purpose, GG has often been criticized as a means to legitimate Western liberal predominance on the rest of the world (Friedrichs, 2009, Hermet, 2008). Critical scholars state that world order emerged from Bretton Woods, with the created institutions -World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank (WB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF)- is shaped with the final purpose of applying "Western policies" to global problems. For example, the way globalization has been managed, in the words of Joseph Stiglitz (2002), was determined by the interests of Western powers. Specifically, Stiglitz analyses the failure of the IMF policies where an unfair voting system favouring Western powers, as well as the austerity policies that have created more economic debt in the poorest countries in the world, have developed an imbalanced globalization with "winners and losers" (Baumann, 1998) that undermine the credibility of the current GG.

In short, the overall architecture of GG in recent decades has seen Western powers as the main protagonists, which, using international institutions, have dictated the timing and agenda setting of global development (Weisbrot, 2018).

BRICS Answer to Global Governance Limits

A "Counter Institutionalization"?

Things being like this, some (non-Western) countries have reacted by trying to cope with this situation. One of the consequence in a system shaped mainly by the West, has been the so-called "counter institutionalization" (Zürn, 2018). Given the intolerance regarding the operation of the traditional Bretton Woods institutions, this term precisely describes the reaction to an unbalanced, and western-centric, functioning of institutions such as the IMF and the WB. These institutions for decades have done "good and bad" on the international framework. Over the course of time they have put into practice mechanisms that have ended up attracting the dislike of many part of developing countries, such as the BRICS that are one of the most emblematic examples of this "counter institutionalization" process: the bloc has created some parallel institutions such as the New Development Bank (NDB), the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) and the above mentioned Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). These financial institutions and framework, are trying to act in a different way from the IMF and the WB, starting from a different (and equal) vote sharing in the case of NDB (Weisbrot and Johnston, 2009), and the way to access to loans and by developing parallel and alternative programs to Bretton Woods ones like the case of the AIIB and CRA (Parízek and Stephen, 2017).

It is clear that this situation is leading to a new paradigm, and in this sense, also the meaning of GG is changing. Now it will have to include a new path, where new emerging powers are playing a more decisive role. What these emerging powers are questioning, is the unfair system created so far, their right to participate to more inclusive decision-making processes, and "to advance the reform of the international financial institutions, so as to reflect changes in the global economy" (BRIC , 2009).

In any case, some questions arise. Are the BRICS willing to create a different financial system? Are they really threatening the current international (Bretton Woods) order?

On these points, there are some different views that basically argue that (1) the BRICS are trying to create a "parallel" or "alternative" system (Wildau, 2015) and/or that (2) the BRICS are trying to create new areas, within the current international liberal order, in which they can have greater decision-making skills, more possibility of effective and practical access to loans and funds available (Morse and Keohane, 2014), and also create new spaces where to develop a different path of economic cooperation from that developed by Western countries. These, in fact, in addition to promoting international institutions in which they practiced as rulers (Kaya, 2018; Weisbrot and Johnston, 2009 and 2016), were promoting a liberal model, under the lemma of "good governance" according to which loans were delivered to developing countries that followed the rules these institutions (i.e. its most influential representative members) decided (Hermet, 2008).

Thus, to give an answer about the real intention of this "counter institutionalization", we have to point some key features about these institutions created by the BRICS.

Firstly, in the case of the Chinese AIIB, doors were opened up to other countries from the western world. In fact, some historical US allies became AIIB members, US not (Perlez, 2014).

Another point, these institutions are inspired by a principle that provides for non-interference: unlike the Bretton Woods institutions, which by means of their actions wanted to promote the above mentioned good governance, AIIB and NDB are not "interested" in the practice of what happens in each country, but only grants funds based on the validity of a project (Abdenur and Folly, 2015; Peng and Tok, 2016).

At the same time, BRICS have not given up Bretton Woods institutions, but it rather seems that their intent is to seek new ways of projecting their economic power without the limitations that those institutions have (Kaya, 2018).

Things being like this, BRICS financial institutions seems more to be an attempt to escape some form of the dominant ones, especially from a point of view of the restrictions and impediments that had towards them (Parízek and Stephen, 2017), more than a threat to the Western-centric financial governance.

Consequently, the birth of these institutions can not simply be described as a parallel order or opposed to the traditional one, but an attempt to find solutions to problems such as under representation, i.e. the unbalanced vote system (Weisbrot and Johnston, 2009, Kaya, 2018), slow bureaucracy (Parízek and Stephen, 2017), i.e. the slowness and the restrictions tied to Western moods in achieving lends in addition to the respect of parameters related to Western good governance (austerity, human rights protection and so on), etc. In practice, it seems that for the moment, the purpose of the BRICS is not to create international organizations acting as a vehicle for the diffusion of a new hegemonic order. They are opening up glimpses, in which pursue a more active role, within the already existing (liberal) order.

Rather than subverting the current institutional order, and then replacing it with new organizations, the BRICS are trying to model it on the basis of their growth power. As for GG, therefore, it seems that their goal with these institutions is more to create a governance that reflects a multilateralism in place, instead of creating a new one that replaces the "old" Western-led one.

BRICS Presence in the Global South

In recent years, the presence of BRICS countries in the rest of the world has growth exponentially. In this sense, BRICS countries have started to open up new ways to increase their influence, regarding the "Silk and Road initiative", by improving cooperation among themselves, and above all inaugurating new policies in Africa, and also other areas, where the presence of BRICS countries such as China and India is obscuring the Western "domination" (Evans-Pritchard, 2018). In fact, countries like China have adopted a specific strategy promising also non-repayable loans (Shukla, 2018), and fostering its presence by building infrastructures and improving services. In addition, India and Brazil have increased their presence. Even Russia is projecting towards Africa (Klomegah, 2018; Ross, 2018) and has re-established a certain presence in the Middle East and offers itself as a probable partner for those countries affected by the influence of the Western countries and the US in primis, as happened in Venezuela, where also China has deep interests (Pons and Shepherd, 2018).

Thus, in recent years the presence of BRICS in the rest of the world has growth exponentially. This attitude, which certainly hides its personal benefits, however, traces a major change compared to the policies adopted until now. In fact, historically the presence of Western powers in "peripheral" areas like Africa has had the effect of domination and submission (Rodney, 1972), causing in many ways an economic and social backwardness which consequences are still under our eyes.

By establishing important partnerships in Global South, BRICS countries seem (apparently) interested in covering this gap, looking for compromises of growth with less conflicting relationships. By doing so, these emerging powers have potential to configuring themselves as the real voice of the Global South, also promoting South-South cooperation (Thakur, 2014). Their behaviour, together with historical and colonialist motives, could favour a greater rapprochement towards these countries, to the detriment not only of the West, but also of the world balance.

However, other criticisms could come out. For example, the way BRICS are operating their presence in the Global South. According to some scholars, BRICS must pay attention to the model they want to develop. In fact, although they want to represent an alternative to Western countries, and potentially propose themselves as spokesmen, they could actually fall into the trap of creating new forms of imperialism or "sub-imperialism" (Deepak, 2016) inaugurating a new dependency which would not change anything for the "periphery" that would pass from one colonist to another.

It is early to understand what will happen, but the risk is there. In any case, it will depend on how the BRICS will be able to play these cards. If the BRICS will adopt the right path, we wonder if it could actually overturn the centre-periphery dichotomy theorized by Wallerstein (1974), where the West has practically occupied the centre and "the Rest" the periphery: a credible position as a leaders for Global South, could counterbalance the hegemony had from the West so far?

Now, we still not have enough elements to judge what will happen in the near future. However, it is without doubt that BRICS presence (economic, political, in cooperation etc.) is becoming stronger. Depending on the way they will act to effectively shape different ties with the Global South, BRICS will forge the future of global framework. In this case, GG will be shaped too.

BRICS and Soft Power: The "Opportunity" of Leading in Climate Change?

In the last years, the BRICS have started a massive action, both particularly and together, to improve their image perception and strengthen their soft power (Chatin and Gallarotti, 2016; Stuenkel, 2016). This is an important aspect of their growing power, because they presumably feel they have a lack in their "charm power". Soft power, in his theorist words, namely Joseph Nye (2004), can be explained as the ability to influence others to get the outcomes one wants without the use of coercion. In other words, soft power involves leading by example, without the recurs to economic constraints and/or use of army.

Currently, at an international level, Western countries still have leading positions in soft power, as they have the best education and research centres, cultural hegemony in key sectors as cinema, brands, etc. (Stuenkel, 20016). Although BRICS countries are trying to fill this gap, they "face their most serious shortcomings relative to the West when it comes to serving as role models" (Chatin and Gallarotti, 2016). Therefore, there is still a lot of way to do, in order to compete with the West.

However, it is our opinion that there is a particular field that could be a benchmark for BRICS countries, to improve their image thus giving a positive and accountable impulse to their soft power. This field is climate change.

Climate change is the most pressing problem facing humanity (Sengupta, 2018). Several summits have been hold to try to cope with it: Conferences Of the Parties (COPs) – especially COP 21 in 2015 in Paris – are organized every year by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); climate change issues have been included in the Sustainable Development Goals (UN Sustainable Development Goals, 2015); several formal and informal meetings try to pay a special attention to it.

Like other "problems without passports", climate change seems to play a central role in BRICS policy choices, as they decided to strengthen their cooperation to cope with it (Aurobinda, 2015) and committing with Sustainable Development Goals (Kosolapova, 2017). These efforts seems to coincide with a parallel decline in credibility, especially regarding political choices, by Western countries. In fact, just to give some examples, the US have even abandoned the agreements taken in Paris, while other European countries, despite the proclamations regarding the urgency of taking action, have often an ambivalent attitude, such as the case of France, where the Minister of Ecological and Inclusive Transition resigned after accusing the system of following "policies that favour environmental disorder" (Le Figaro Journal, 2018). Emblematic is also the case of Italy, where a 2016 referendum on the abolition of drills has not reached the quorum, and the state instead of encouraging the population to vote, has encouraged voters not to take part in this referendum, thus voluntarily or involuntarily favouring the interests of large oil multinationals (Balmer, 2016). However, the examples could be more, ranging from the critics to EU and US funds to climate (Carrington, 2017; Appelt and Dejgaard, 2018; Meade, 2018) to the declining role that they are having in leading with climate issues (Bäckstrand and Elgström, 2013).

Thus if on the one hand Western countries seem they are moving away from that leading role that they should have covered in climate change, also because of their historical responsibility in this regard, on the other the BRICS claim their accountability in dealing with this issue, at least apparently. For example, they invested a huge amount of funds in renewable energy through the NDB, in 2016, in the form of loans: Brazil US$ 300 million for wind and solar power; India US$ 325 million dollars to increase renewable energy, China US$ 81 million to produce solar panels; South Africa to build new power lines and for generating renewable energy; and Russia US$ 100 million for construction of hydropower plants (Mattos and Rosa, 2016).

However, is this sufficient to state that BRICS are doing more in climate change? This aspect may hide a more far-reaching goal that of overcoming the (soft) power vacuum of the Western countries in this field. More than giving a real impetus in dealing with this issue, BRICS may claim for more engagement in climate change only in order to build a credible image of themselves. In fact, there are limits in their engagement on climate, and the way in which BRICS will deal with them, will determine their effective capability in gaining more accountability. So, are BRICS really interested in dealing with climate change, or they just want to "use" climate change to build a stronger soft power?

As Downie and Williams (2018) state:

In China, India and South Africa coal is the largest source of energy demand. Indeed, in China and South Africa, coal represents around two thirds of total primary energy demand, and in India, coal represents just under half of total energy demand. However, in Russia and Brazil oil and gas far outweigh coal. For example, in Russia, oil and gas together represent 73 per cent of total primary energy demand, and in Brazil, oil and gas represent 62 per cent. As a result, significant variations remain in the profile of fossil fuel demand among the BRICS, with coal a major source of demand in China, India and South Africa, compared to oil and gas in Russia and Brazil. Further, these differences are exacerbated by the fact that as large energy consumers, China and India in particular, have an interest in reducing their dependence on imported fossil fuels, whereas Russia and Brazil, as large producers of oil and gas, have a very different interest, namely in increasing exports and higher prices.

If we take a look on Climate Action Tracker (2019) web page, we can see how low are results obtained by BRICS countries to reduce their emissions and have a decisive swift towards alternative energies in order to fill with COP21 purposes, with the extreme case of Russia that has not yet ratified the Paris Agreement, and its contribution to reduce emissions is considered "critically insufficient".

This means that there is still a lot to do, to fulfil with COP21 commitment. However, there are significant signals that BRICS countries could have ways to get more cooperation among them and try to switch leadership in dealing with climate change governance. BRICS could strengthen cooperation in some areas related to climate change: energy efficiency, agriculture and development finance (Downie and Williams, 2018).

It is in this context that BRICS can increase their credibility. In fact, the BRICS in the field of renewable energy should try to play in unison to create a kind of credible partnership (Mahapatra, 2015). This partnership can really make a decisive contribution to GG and increase their soft power, but only if their commitment and their effective effort will be more concrete in the near future.


The influence of the BRICS is therefore decisive in several areas ranging from the creation of new institutions to their intent to cover gaps in soft power and by inaugurating a more expansive policy through their presence in Global South. Coinciding with a parallel crisis in Western countries, this situation gives rise to some remarks.

First, what consequences will bring to GG? As we have seen, GG, with all its various nuances and criticisms (Lederer and Muller, 2005), seems more to be a guided and forged governor of Western countries, which so far could count with a clear supremacy over the rest of the world, than a real claim for more enlarged participation in global policy making. The emergence of the BRICS countries, however, is questioning this paradigm, and is transforming the meaning of governance itself, which will inevitably change. Their growing presence in Global South, the creation of parallel institutions and the claim for a more accountable soft power, with a particular focus on the developing of climate change policies, are key fields in which BRICS could play an important role.

However, in all this fields there are important limits. First of all, regarding their interest in being spokesman for Global South, their cooperation and development policies developed could fall in the mistake of creating a new form of imperialism or "sub-imperialism" (Deepak, 2016). Although that would not be the initial purpose, BRICS should pay attention on their future policies towards "peripheral" countries. Secondly, the creation of other financial institutions has actually the aim to create new paths within the international liberal order, and not to subvert it. In addition, in this case, the way in which they will direct future loans, will have significant repercussion on GG. Finally, their willingness to achieve a more accountable soft power. Despite they have still lot of way to do to cover their gap, they could probably reach an important result by really involving in global issues such as climate change, beyond their rhetoric discourses. In climate change policies, they should really be accountable leaders to try to cope with this deal. In any case, there are several commonalities that could push on this sense (Downie and Williams, 2018), but it will depend on BRICS strength to effectively achieve their goal and acting in unison.

However, there are also other important limits to their compactness, such as the continues struggles and rivalry between India and China (Basile and Cecchi, 2018), their divergence in interests (Lo, 2016), and some populist drifts that could create fragmentation among the BRICS themselves, like the election of Bolsonaro in Brazil. Regarding this point, we want to outline how Bolsonaro declarations to give up Paris agreements (Agencia Brazil, 2018), avoid that China gains more power in Brazil economy management (Casarões, 2018), and move closer to the US (Spetalnick, 2018) seem far to be realistic. In fact, Bolsonaro has already begun to retract, after being elected, some of his previous statements (The BRICS post, 2018). Furthermore, Brazil is strongly dependent on the relationship with China since it is the country's first commercial partner (Casarões, 2018). Moreover the BRICS group is the only forum in which Brazil has two partners residing as permanent members in the UN, without counting the privilege, from a point of view of voting system and economic capacity, to be part of the NDB, where practically Brazil has more say than in Bretton Woods institutions.

As a result, despite the populist drift, and despite the potential and further fragmentation of the BRICS, there is sufficient reason to believe that Brazil's decision to move away from the BRICS may be counterproductive for Brazil itself. In any case, we reserve to await the developments and the next moves by the Brazilian government.

Therefore, in the light of these last considerations, we have to wonder which effective influence will the BRICS have in GG. Despite their limits, their manifested intention is to give a shape to GG, to reflect the current world (BRIC, 2009). Now, although they have still gaps to cover, they are on their way to give a major influence on it.

Will Western countries agree to accept a multilateralism underway? There are countless voices that rise to warn against potential wars (not just commercial ones) that could take place. However, we hope that the answers are of a different kind, tending to recognize the decisive weight that the BRICS are having at a global level, looking for diplomatic, rational solutions, and aimed at reaching a global human governance (Falk, 1995). Otherwise, the world will start a phase of a new bipolarity, which will reach potential risks. On the one hand the Western countries, stubborn to a type of policy that is proving increasingly inadequate, on the other the BRICS that can exploit this situation to fill this role of leadership, trying to reverse, or at least change, that center-periphery paradigm, described by Wallerstein (Wallerstein, 1974), and to occupy those central positions in the world, building a new global architecture, modelling GG in a different way, and leading to consequences that give space to multiple interpretations, but that without no doubt could trace an unstable future.

Even if is not (still) a real and concrete treat, the specter of BRICS is haunting the West.


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Five reasons the 'VARPS' could finally displace the BRICs (Пять причин, по которым «VARPS» могут окончательно сместить БРИКC) / United Kingdom, April, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion
United Kingdom
Author: Chris Sloley

Breaking down the BRICs

The clamour to find a natural successor to the emerging markets' BRICs grouping has been a talking point for years, but few proposed replacements have really caught the imagination in the same way as Jim O'Neill's acronym did.

GAM fund manager Tim Love first championed the idea of the VARP nations in 2016 but has since added Saudi Arabia and now believes that this five-strong unit can finally fill the powerhouse positions once reserved for Brazil, Russia, India and China. Here the fund manager outlines how these markets will power ahead.

Vietnam: cream of the crop

Having delivered strong performance in recent years, Love says the emerging middle class and stable economic growth have aided expansion in 2019. This is coupled with an assured political outlook and idiosyncratic investment opportunities.

'Domestic reforms have also helped to boost the country's agricultural exports, such as fisheries and coffee, while construction projects are in abundance owing to the country's growing status as a popular tourist destination.

'A growing middle class has also boosted sectors such as dairy as consumers turn their attention to health products and a more nutritious diet. In addition, we believe that Vietnam's inclusion in the MSCI index later this year should keep valuations high.'

Love added that Vietnam last month confirmed its first cases of African swine fever, and while there is a risk that the disease outbreak could become widespread, it has so far been localised to the Northern Province which borders China. However, this is worth monitoring.

Argentina: the great rebuild

The initial euphoria ushered in by president Mauricio Macri's government was tempered by his emergency appeal to the IMF, but many investors have viewed this as the proper approach for a country which remains a political risk for many and a currency concern for others.

'We believe that there are a number of domestic issues, and a wide-scale programme of monetary and fiscal tightening is likely to keep Argentina's economy in a state of recession this year. It will be interesting to see what unfolds on the reform front, and it could be wise to wait for some of these headwinds to abate,' Love said.

Given these concerns, Love believes that a reduced exposure to local Argentina plays is advisable, and ADRs can be a good way to access Argentine stocks. 'Still, we believe that once the country manages to iron out its issues of recession and currency volatility, its banking and electricity sectors could emerge as very attractive.'

Romania: running along EU lines

The idea of convergence with the EU makes Romania an attractive prospect but so does its current situation. Having been boosted by EU financial support, Love said that the country's central bank has proved itself adept at managing its market challenges.

One big question mark, however, is the unexpected measures of the ruling party. 'Romania's government shocked investors in late 2018 by placing a tax on its banking sector, triggering a slide in the country's banking stocks and signalling a more socialist stance from the government.

'In turn, ratings agencies threatened to downgrade their outlook for Romania, and the move attracted criticism from eurobloc members and the Romanian Central Bank. In the aftermath of this announcement, the bank taxes have been partly repealed, but it remains uncertain how the country's public finances shortfall will now be addressed.'

Love said that investors should be a little wary. 'We are more cautious regarding Romanian investments and have moved a wait-and-see mode. We would need to see a change in the government policy stance before moving back to a more optimistic stance.'

Pakistan: simple and strong

Pakistan benefited from a strong performance in 2018 following an announcement from the MSCI that its equities will be included in the Emerging Markets index. Given the strong demographic story, Love says there are many reasons to be positive on the country's long-term future.

'Nevertheless, valuations here are currently extremely attractive and in particular, we like exposure to cement companies because they are simple and politically uncomplicated – they tap into the country's booming construction sector,' Love said.

Saudi Arabia: the frontier favourite

Efforts to privatise the Saudi Arabian market will unlock huge swathes of state assets, Love said, making the country increasingly attractive over the course of 2019.

'Ultimately, we believe that it is worthwhile incorporating frontier market exposures within an emerging market portfolio, primarily because they provide access to upcoming growth markets that will likely be included in the MSCI EM equities index at some point, in our view.

'Also, we believe that these frontier markets offer an aspect of diversification to a wider EM portfolio as they are non-correlated in nature in comparison with the more developed EM markets such as China or India.'

Even so, Love is conscious of the political and economic climate of Saudi Arabia and stresses the importance of keeping a close eye on any changes.

Brazil outlines slew of sectors for 2019 BRICS Summit under its presidency (Бразилия наметила множество секторов для саммита БРИКС в 2019 году) / India, April, 2019
Keywords: chairmanship, summit
Author: Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury

Among the priorities declared by Brazil are scientific-technical and innovative cooperation, digital economy, fight against organized crime and money laundering, senior Brazilian government sources told ET.

NEW DELHI: South American powerhouse and G-20 member Brazil has put in place interesting sectors as priorities for the BRICS summit that it is hosting in Brasilia on Nov 13-14.

Among the priorities declared by Brazil are scientific-technical and innovative cooperation, digital economy, fight against organized crime and money laundering, senior Brazilian government sources told ET. A series of meetings are being held in Brazil and elsewhere to prepare for the Summit which Brazil is hosting after 5 years and momentum to the Summit is building up.

Economic growth and innovative future for five key economies is focus for the Summit.

BRICS, that also comprises India, Russia and China, will discuss counter-terror cooperation as one of its priority areas during its annual summit later this year.

The issue of countering terror effectively -- extending support to India figured -- at the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) Sherpa meeting held in the Brazilian city of Curitiba between March 14 and 15.

Brazil is the current chair of the grouping which represents over 3.6 billion people or half of the world population and they have a combined nominal GDP of USD 16.6 trillion.

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, the Brazilian government sources said.

India conveyed its support for the priority areas set out by Brazil, particularly to take forward BRICS cooperation on counter-terrorism in a meaningful and concrete manner with BRICS member countries.

Supporting Brazil, China, Russia, India and South Africa have 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 under BRICS.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Blended Sanctions and the Prospects of Indo-Russian Cooperation in Greater Eurasia (Смешанные санкции и перспективы индийско-российского сотрудничества в Большой Евразии) / Russia, April, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, economic_challenges
Author: Anastasia Likhacheva

The recent Indo-Russian conference organized by Valdai Club and Observer Foundation clearly revealed that in general there is a clear consensus on sanction challenges that cooperation between two countries faces nowadays, how sanction pressure has evolved since 2014 and which measures could be implemented to counteract it. An open question where consensus is clearly needed – what we expect in a mid-term regarding sanctions and trade wars.

First, from Russian prospective we could speak about rising number of unilateral sanctions in a medium term – and less in a long-term: both direct sanctions (against Russia, Iran) and secondary sanctions for EU, Korea, China, India etc.

Second, we observe intense blending of sanctions (aimed to reach political purposes) and trade wars (aimed to get purely economic gains) as a result of aggravation of rivalry between states in less stable international system. This is not the first blending in history – like sugar embargo on Cuba was of political origin but was more than welcomed by US sugar producers – still – this blending trend makes any kind of bargaining and negotiations much more difficult.

It is fair both for sanctions – because conditions for withdrawal become unclear and for trade wars too, because it is impossible to trade national security – and that are national security issues that justify the most sensible sanctions nowadays.

Next trend that determine mid-term impact of sanctions on Indo-Russian relations is a bet on unpredictability: when mode of actions become more important than particular actions. If previously a regular sanction analysis was concentrated around conditions of lifting sanctions, nowadays, in contrast, we see intriguing announcements, like the recent by Kurt Volker «We will impose new sanctions every 2-3 months». And it creates a very negative expectations among various stakeholders of Indo-Russian cooperation and especially – among potential stakeholders.

It makes necessary from Russian side to elaborate a proactive approach instead of reactive one, a clearly formulated strategy on how to cooperate under sanctions. Otherwise it will be very hard to beat negative expectations.

As for multilateral cooperation in Greater Eurasia we have to admit that sanction factor will gradually increase its influence there. Firstly, because we observe a vacuum of global approach and solutions for interstate disputes (and SCO, RIC, NBR BRICS could make some valuable efforts to fulfill this gap). Second – because sanctions become more and more prestigious and relatively cheap: state capacity to impose unilateral sanctions increases the status on international arena. When Saudi Arabia sanctions Canada or Qatar, when routine trade dispute between Uzbekistan and Ukraine is presented in media as a risk of Uzbekistan`s sanctions – these events clearly prove that we see that sanctions become a «new black» in political fashion trends.

However international environment in 5-10 years will be defined not only by sanction influence but also by counter-sanction policies of numerous states. We will see more options to compensate negative sanction effects, in particular through a comprehensive diversification of international system:

In finance: capital markets will be more fragmented, more currency swops will appear, new payment instruments and systems will be set

In technologies: new solutions for quick and cheap localization of production capacities for example will be invented, new techno-hubs to minimize technological sanctions will be developed, and more intermediaries will maintain value-added chains.

In trade: new trade routes will be built, new substitutes for traditional commodities – even energy markets will appear and become cheaper.

So in «after sanctions» era we will see less ruins, less trust - and higher costs of international cooperation. Due to diversification options it will be less probable that sanctions could cause really devastating effects on sanctioned economies (if they ever really did without military support).

A permanent risk of sanctions will continue to decrease the level of trust and demotivate countries to launch joint long-term projects even when sanctions are lifted. A decreased level of trust itself leads to higher costs of hedging (for example: instead of one global currency – many currency swops). In general, international system becomes more dynamic, more mosaic and less coherent.

For Russia and India it has very clear implications for bilateral cooperation. Mostly on arms supplies and energy sector. And we have to admit that most of the solutions in this field could be found only in the field of high-level political bargaining (like waivers) and sanction hedge strategies for particular organizations (no use of dollar, specially designed intermediaries etc.).

As for implications for Russia, India and other counties in Greater Eurasia, especially Iran, US sanction policy will increase risks for joint projects in Eurasia: energy and infrastructure projects, international transport corridor North-South. And this field demands for flexible and dynamic solutions.

First, we have to admit that it is impossible to find the perfect counter sanction option in 2019 and enjoy it for ages.

Possible solutions could be elaborated within negotiations free trade zones in Eurasia – EAEU has signed temporary FTA with Iran, negotiates it with India. It provides some opportunity to discuss flexible solutions to facilitate trade, hedge foreign exchange risks

Second, national currency exchange within multilateral formats – like Russia-Iran and India opens door for easier adjustment of trade and foreign exchange balances

Third, complex Compliance solutions for S&M business could be on a high demand in many countries. Serious compliance is too expensive for S&M business and some «compliance package» sponsored by business associations of export supporting agencies could play a decisive role in the playground of business expectations.

Finally, diversification of value-added chains with more beneficiaries could provide more sustainability of the projects in Greater Eurasia – the case of Nord Stream II clearly illustrates it.

Good news are that international sanction experience proves that when you start to blend sanctions and trade wars, so you want to simultaneously reach foreign policy goals and make some good fortune due to trade wars – you probably lose on both tracks.

Tuning of national priorities in contrast leads to more successful policy. So for Russia and India today is extremely important to tune their priorities and then adjust sanction-resistant solutions.

Brazil to receive $621m investment from BRICS bank (Бразилия получит 621 млн долларов от банка БРИКС) / China, April, 2019
Keywords: ndb, investments, economic_challenges

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil will receive an investment of $621 million from the New Development Bank (NDB), the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) released on Wednesday.

The bank approved four Brazilian projects on renewable energy, road building, railway construction, sanitation, telecommunications and oil refinery, according to a survey of the institute, BRICS Joint Financial Architecture: The NDB.

The bank has approved 30 projects from 2016 to 2018, amounting to $8.1 billion. Almost a third of the amount is allocated to the transportation sector, and 26 percent at renewable energy projects, according to Ipea.

As one of NDB's five founding members, Brazil has thus far invested $1 billion in the bank and should double its contribution by 2022.

The NDB, known as the BRICS Development Bank, was established in 2015 by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to be a new source of financing in infrastructure and sustainable development projects, for both BRICS members and other developing countries. The bank is headquartered in Shanghai, China.

BRICS is the future of global economy – South African politician (БРИКС - будущее мировой экономики, по словам южноафриканского политика) / Russia, April, 2019
Keywords: economic_challenges, expert_opinion

The five-nation bloc of emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) is a force that could promote inclusive global economic growth.
That's according to David Makhura, the premier of South Africa's northern province Gauteng, who was speaking at the BRICS Business Council midterm meeting in Johannesburg.

"BRICS is about the future of the global economy," he said, as quoted by the Creamer Media. Makhura said that the bloc could help to reshape the world's economy.

"We can never underestimate what we can do together… There is huge opportunity if our businesses work together," the politician said, adding that trade between BRICS countries had grown steadily.

According to Makhura, the bloc is "also a platform for advocating for the whole of Africa," which remains a "continent of the future with its youthful population."

He said that "there is no doubt the BRICS economies can play a key role in catalyzing Africa's industrialization and development."

The BRICS group of five countries represents more than 40 percent of the world's population. According to IMF estimates, member states are responsible for more than half of the global economic growth of the last 10 years.
Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Yalta, April 18, 2019 (Брифинг официального представителя МИД России М.В.Захаровой, Ялта, 18 апреля 2019 года) / Russia, April, 2019
Keywords: mofa, quotation

Question: President of the BRICS International Forum Purnima Anand expressed misgivings over what you said about Brazil, BRICS participant. In this regard Ms Anand said that BRICS could provide the tools for countering processes aimed at promoting Brazil's involvement with NATO, and that she was ready to facilitate these efforts.

Maria Zakharova: We are fully aware of the fact and never question the right of any sovereign state, be it Brazil of any other country, to take sovereign decisions on taking part in various forums. We hold this truth to be self-evident. That being said, we share the same planet and therefore we cannot fail to be concerned about international, global stability, threats to regional peace and stability, and yet more experiments of the sort that we have already witnessed on quite a few occasions.

Question: Today the International Alliance of BRICS Strategic Projects will sign two memorandums with the Head of the Republic of Crimea and the Sevastopol Governor. This is a result of joint work by our organisation and a number of Crimean non-governmental organisations. We brought investment projects from two BRICS countries to Crimea.

Crimean representatives are our partners; we attend UN sessions together. The most recent one, the 57thsession of the UN Commission for Social Development, took place in February. On July 25, Rio de Janeiro will host a concert by the BRICS symphony orchestra during a foreign ministerial meeting. This is also our project with the participation of five Crimean musicians. How do you evaluate such public diplomacy?

Maria Zakharova: We support it to the greatest possible extent. If you need our assistance, please let us know and we will be happy to provide it.

This is not about some political meaning, and not about the federal government wanting to show international community something that does not exist. It is about letting Crimeans speak globally, giving people who live here an opportunity to let the world know about themselves and helping them communicate with the global community both on problematic issues (even if we do not consider them problematic), as well as on the issues of mutual interest. Agencies exist for your convenience, to let you implement what you want to do.

World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
India- BRICS Collaborates with Lisianthus Tech for Boosting Global Cybersecurity Preparedness (БРИКС сотрудничает с Lisianthus Tech для повышения готовности к глобальной безопасности) / India, April, 2019
Keywords: digital, national_security

(MENAFN - GetNews) Delhi - In a bid to deal with increasing cybersecurity threats and foster an environment of improved cybersecurity, BRICS CCI has signed a long-term Memorandum of Understanding with Lisianthus Tech an eminent cybersecurity firm with global operations.

'Cyber-attacks irreparably corrupt business operations and can hamper the growth of a developing country like India. Cybersecurity should be a prime concern for any public or private sector entity, Dr. B. B. L. Madhukar, Director General for BRICS CCI of India, said while speaking about the growing cybersecurity threats in the modern world.

The collaboration between BRICS CCI & Lisianthus Tech will serve an impetus to the growth of a holistic cybersecurity ecosystem in the country and around the globe. Lisianthus Tech would help in developing a defensive mechanism against cyberattacks by providing cybersecurity consulting & advisory services to businesses entities & professionals all over the world. In addition to providing consulting and advisory solutions, Lisianthus Tech will also provide specialized certification, diploma and degree programs in Cyber Security. The company will conduct training programs in schools, colleges, government and private offices, raising awareness about basic & advanced level cyber threats & training professionals on how to deal with such issues.

The specialized programs are conducted in association and affiliation with recognized Indian & global universities and would promise:

High-end information delivery about cybersecurity procedures to all trainees Globally-recognized degree, diploma and certifications for the candidates Currently, the cybersecurity firm is inviting applications for all the programs which are open to anyone seeking to learn the intricacies of cybersecurity domain. One can enroll in these programs by contacting Lisianthus Tech via their website or the BRICS CCI.

The collaboration between BRICS CCI & Lisianthus Tech is considered to be an important step towards making the world capable of dealing with critical cybersecurity threats and fighting increasing number of cyberattacks. Also, such an initiative will also lead to a decrease in the number of cybercrimes, promoting an environment of digital security for all. About Lisianthus Tech

Spearheaded by global cyber security expert Khushhal Kaushik, Lisianthus Tech is a global firm providing cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions for organizations around the globe. With an experienced team of cybersecurity professional, the company helps organizations to scale securely by identifying and addressing security loopholes in the existing IT infrastructure. The company also performs security audits, conducts vulnerability assessment and provide cybersecurity consulting and training services according to personalized needs. About BRICS CCI

BRICS Chamber of Commerce & Industry was founded in 2012 as a parent organization to promote trade, commerce and industrial growth in BRICS nations. BRICS comprise of some of the fastest growing economies including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. With a focus on creating an enabling business support system BRICS CCI promotes entrepreneurship in these promising nations.
Few SA youths go to varsity compared to those in Brics countries (В ЮАР в университеты идут учиться меньше молодых людей, чем в остальных странах БРИКС) / South Africa, April, 2019
Keywords: social_issues, research
South Africa
Author: Bongani Nkosi

South Africa is lagging worryingly behind its BRICS partners and other upper-middle income countries in terms of the number of young people accessing higher education. Just 1901 out of 100000 South Africans are at tertiary education institutions, raising concerns about the country's competitiveness, according to a report released by the Department of Higher Education.

The figure is more than double in Russia, which has 4582 out 100000 citizens enrolled at higher education institutions.

Brazil has 4023 of 100000 in tertiary institutions. The figure in China is 3104 and India stands at 2453.

These statistics are based on data reported by the Unesco Institute for Statistics.

Minister Naledi Pandor said participation rates were not good enough.

Says the report: "South Africa lags behind its BRICS peers on this measure and, at 1901, has lower enrolment per 100000 than the average of lower- middle income countries, though South Africa's enrolment per 100000 significantly exceeds the average of the sub-Saharan Africa region."

"There are backlogs in improving access for poor students to tertiary education, and participation rates still show large racial differentials," the report states.

Half of white and Indian youth completing matric enrol at universities but only 15.6% blacks are likely to proceed to university. "This racial gap is closing quite slowly," says the report.

Mampho Khuluvhe, an official dealing with statistics in the department, has decried that South Africa has the lowest number of citizens accessing higher education compared to its BRICS partners.

She adds that the discrepancy indicated that the competitiveness of South Africa's economy was compromised because it was not producing the necessary number of tertiary graduates.

"When compared to the other BRICS countries, we're really lagging behind, which indicated that our competitiveness is compromised," Khuluvhe notes.

The number of students enrolled at the country's 26 universities increased by 83000 between 2010 and 2016, the report showed.

This was a growth rate of just 1.6%, which is "lower than required to realise the National Development Plan goal of a 1.6 million headcount by 2030", the report states.

The total number of students at the country's universities is about a million. There are 705400 students at the country's 50 technical and vocational education and training colleges.

"Though we've improved our participation rates, we're still lagging behind. We're lower than all of our BRICS peers," Khuluvhe says.
First co-production between South Africa and China currently in development (Идет работа над первым фильмом совместного производства ЮАР и Китая) / South Africa, April, 2019
Keywords: movie, cooperation
South Africa
Author: David Cornwell


The first-ever co-production between South Africa and China – a conservation-inspired story entitled No Man's Land – is in advanced stages of development.

With Darrell Roodt set to direct and Murray Clive Walker slated for a starring role, the project represents an exciting partnership between the two BRICS countries.

No Man's Land is largely set in China's Qinghai Province, situated in the northern foothills of the Himalayas, as well as the northern wetlands of Gauteng. It tells the story of a conservationist who strives to protect China's endangered red-crowned crane. When she comes across a blue crane with a South African tag, she decides to return the bird to its original nesting-ground.

The production of No Man's Land plans to bring Africa and Asia together in a friendly, cultural collaboration. The film will be the first co-production of its kind between China and South Africa, and will also mark a big step towards greater cultural collaboration between the BRICS countries.

"In the future, we hope to shoot more films that communicate to the world the beauty, charm and ethnic diversity that these countries possess. China and South Africa have a good political relationship and we want to strengthen it through this kind of cultural storytelling," says Murray Clive Walker, who is also acting as co-producer of the film.

Walker explains that he set up Colony Films "six months ago, with the express purpose of doing a co-production with China. I got back to Johannesburg at the end of 2017, after working in China for 14 years, and it was a question of deciding to 'do what I know.' It occurred to me that I could leverage my Chinese resources and the experience I had of working in both countries."

Walker continues: "I was in conversation with producer Jin – who I met about seven or eight years ago doing another movie – and he was on the lookout for a top director for this project of his. I told him I knew Darrell Roodt, who is an Oscar-nominated director – but the more we spoke about it, the more we both realised it would be ideal to make it a co-production."

Providing an update of the progress of the project, Walker explains that "we have completed the first stage of three. We have just invited two Chinese representatives to Cape Town and Johannesburg to meet with Darrell and producer Greig Buckle at Enigma Pictures – a company which has done great work over the years in production services, including five months on Mad Max: Fury Road. The representatives also visited Cape Town Film Studios, Atlantic Film Studios and Refinery Post Production, and conducted meetings at the Gauteng Film Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Chinese Embassy."

Walker and Roodt are "currently working on the script to adapt it for the co-production. We need to flesh out the local scenes and make sure we have twenty-one filming days in South Africa – and next we'll fly over to Beijing in April. There'll be a whole delegation of us, hopefully with representatives from the Gauteng Film Commission and the DTI, to participate in the official signing of the contract. And after that," he concludes, "we'll be able to head into production."

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