Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 27.2019
2019.07.01 — 2019.07.07
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Next BRICS Consultations On Middle East, Africa To Be Held In Russia In 2020 - Moscow (Следующие консультации БРИКС по Ближнему Востоку и Африке пройдут в России в 2020 году - Москва) / Pakistan, July, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting

The next BRICS consultations at the level of special envoys for the Middle East and North Africa will take place in Russia in 2020, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 06th July, 2019) The next BRICS consultations at the level of special envoys for the middle East and North Africa will take place in Russia in 2020, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The fifth consultative meeting of BRICS countries at the level of special representatives for the Middle East and Africa were held from July 4-5 in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia. The Russian side was represented by RussianDeputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov.

"The participants agreed to hold the next meeting at the level of deputy ministers/special representatives of BRICS countries in Russia in 2020 in the framework of its rotating presidency in BRICS.

They also agreed on feasibility of holding regular consultations on the Middle East and North Africaat various venues, including the United Nations," the statement said.

According to the statement, participants of the consultations expressed their concern over ongoing conflicts in various countries in the Middle East and North Africa that hinder stability and security in the region and provide fertile ground for terrorist activities. Moreover, the parties slammed any foreign interference and illegal use of force in the region.

During the consultations, the participants addressed current developments in Syria, Libya, Sudanand Yemen, the statement stressed.

Biggest threat (Самая большая угроза) / India, July, 2019
Keywords: terrorism, expert_opinion

It must be understood that fighting terrorism is not just a battle of arms— it is an ideological battle too – the battle to establish sanity over bigotry, reason over religious parochialism and human progressiveness over regressive machinations.

"The war against terrorism is a joint responsibility of all civilised and democratic forces and they must bury their personal interests for the larger humanitarian cause. Today there is nothing like their terrorism or terrorists of that or this country; India has long been crying hoarse, alerting countries to understand the problem."

IN AN informal meeting of the BRICS nations, conducted on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka recently, BRICS leaders Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa discussed the issue of terrorism. Speaking at the meeting, Prime Minister Modi said, "Terrorism is the biggest threat to humanity. Not only it takes the lives of the innocents, it negatively affects economic development and communal harmony. We have to stop all mediums of support for terrorism and racism." All the BRICS countries condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, reiterated their responsibility for preventing financing of terrorism, for using territories and the Internet for terrorist purposes.

The growing incidents of terrorism globally have united countries. Today, almost every country is a sufferer and this naturally develops a consensus between them. This global unity and understanding of the threat terrorism poses to civilisation needs joint action. Condemnation is good but we need to move beyond that through concrete actions and without international cooperation, it is not possible. India's global ascendancy in recent times and her diplomatic successes have made her issues heard globally. The US has suffered, France, England, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Russia have suffered; tomorrow it can be China too. Terrorism and violence, when perpetrated by religious dogmatism, don't see the barriers of boundaries or peoples.

Anyone not aligning with certain views can be a potential target. It is a war between civilisation versus anti-civilisation. Anyone standing for a reason, light and progress can be a victim of regressive forces which see every non-follower a heathen, who is fit to be butchered. The war against terrorism is a joint responsibility of all civilised and democratic forces and they must bury their personal interests for the larger humanitarian cause. Today there is nothing like their terrorism or terrorists of that or this country; India has long been crying hoarse, alerting countries to understand the problem. Now that terrorism is rapidly spreading its wings, the world is realising it is not just an IndiaPakistan issue, but a global problem that touches all lives. It must be understood that fighting terrorism is not just a battle of arms— it is an ideological battle too – the battle to establish sanity over bigotry, reason over religious parochialism and human progressiveness over regressive machinations.

It is an effort to dislodge the attempt of a group to uphold a certain religious belief in its most uninitiated and inchoate form.To counter its influence, it is important to build a stronger narrative around human unity, camaraderie, love, peace, harmony and progress. The forces of goodness have to trump the advances of evil and for that, we have to unite. Never in the history of humanity did we need so much unity of the humanitarian forces as now. And if we don't realise the crisis and act smart today, the world will be left in tatters in the near future. Our leaders must rise above their political affiliations or religious bondage and think like statesmen, because if terrorism spreads and penetrates further, their children will also be affected for wherever terrorism exists, the whole ecosystem gets devastated and there are cascading effects on society, education, healthcare, culture, trade and prosperity – a wound that is not healed in decades. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and even Pakistan – everywhere we have the specter of devastation because of prolonged armed conflicts and violence.

And this happens mostly due to indecisive and powerless Governments and the lack of consensus and unity in the voices of sanity. If those who can act won't do so, we are bound to be doomed, because power is not just about maintaining peace but also to fight it out when peace is in peril. India has been living with terrorism for decades and the bitter experiences have also taught her a lot which other countries can learn from through greater bilateral bonding. Every country must pledge that no terror outfits in any form are allowed to survive in their territory. Through sustained combing operations, clampdowns on terror modules, arrest of suspects and intense vigil of suspicious movements inside the country along with guarding the borders well, countries can and should up their anti-terror mechanism and do more than just showing the intent. If Governments are more alert and sincere in their war against terrorism, it will be very difficult for outfits like ISIS to make inroads in countries and establish their network that is competent enough to mount an attack.

It is unfortunate that despite terrorism spreading its wings in all parts of the world so rapidly, countries are not on the same page and they are still sparring on insignificant issues, forgetting the larger goal. Many countries calculate their petty interests and short-term gains which is why they are not forthcoming in action against terrorism, nor are they as vocal beyond lip service. This approach is only the abetment of terrorism. Unless democracies and civilian Governments of the world unite in their fight against terrorism, terrorism will always find a way to strengthen itself. Thousands of lives are lost every year and so is money in billions of dollar to terrorism, when on the other hand we need resources – both man and material – to fight more pressing concerns like poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and injustice. Terrorism is a lost cause and doesn't make any logical progression except satiating the temporal whims of some bigots, no matter how much 'religion' is mixed with the perverted narrative. No religion teaches killing of mankind and those who proclaim to be the saviours of their religion are the most ignorant of the tenets of the religion. They concoct and convolute the meaning of religion and mix it with rampant violence, bloodshed and destruction, peddling it as a necessary way to 'save' religion and humanity. Not that many people endorse this stupidity but just disassociating is not the solution— the solution lies in giving it a tough fight and rooting it out.

Terrorism is a cancerous growth that we have no choice but to throw out. Countries like China and Pakistan must understand this reality. There was a time when the US too helped groom disruptive factions to achieve certain power goals in the geopolitical game. Later as these factions grew more and more powerful and became dreaded terrorists, the US itself faced the brunt, something that it is still nursing and frantically exploring ways to come out of. Terrorism is a dangerous province which burns even its patrons and promoters. Any country that today thinks that sheltering and supporting terrorism is a religious need or a social cause is going to pay for it. The war against terrorism is a global war where no one Government or country can do it alone. Leaders need to unite and discuss ways to eliminate terrorism by joint action and sharing of resources, Intelligence and technology. We all have a common cause and a common enemy.

There is no reason why we cannot join hands for larger interests of humanity and destroy terrorism before it destroys us. There is no temporary solution to it – the war should be intense, final and decisive. By the way, we simply cannot afford to let it continue. Peace is the basic condiment for prosperity and development. If peace is not given to us rightfully, we will have to snatch it, because it is our right and also our duty – we are answerable to our children.
World should have its version of BRI: academic (Мир должен иметь свою версию ОПОП: эксперт) / China, July, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance

Editor's Note:

As a result of the ongoing China-US trade war, tensions remain high. While Washington has revealed its unilateralist and protectionist designs, China is safeguarding globalization and promoting multilateral cooperation platforms. In an interview with Global Times (GT) reporter Xu Hailin, Cláudio Puty (Puty), an associate professor of economics at the Federal University of Pará, Brazil and a former Brazilian federal deputy, shared his views on BRICS, China's role in today's world, and of course, the trade war.

GT: In what areas can BRICS countries cooperate intensively? What does BRICS mean for today's global political and economic dynamics?

BRICS is crucial. We live in a world that has a "responsibility deficit" and a "trust deficit." We live in a world where the governing bodies, which don't represent the existing power correlation, are in crisis.

There's rising nationalism and a crisis of identity in many nations. All of these things together create crisis. Hence, a bloc like BRICS is crucial to foster and promote different elements of governance at the world level.

We have a good share of the world's population and trade. BRICS can do a good job in promoting reform for the world's system.

Why do we want reform? Because it's fair and important that China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, India and other developing countries sit at the table with the decision-making bodies. Otherwise, we are more distant from solutions for the crucial development issues of the world.

GT: Will the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) provide a more pragmatic road map and opportunity for cooperation within BRICS?

The BRI has a very good feature. When you talk to investors about the Western world, they only talk about capital markets and mobilizing financial flows to some investment. Then you need to fulfill so many preconditions but their investment never comes.

On the contrary, China offers win-win opportunities. This is very different from what has been done in the Western world, or in Africa, or in Latin America in the past 50 years. The BRI handles infrastructure investment and public financing without micro-conditions.

China could be very generous, but it is always going to be a Chinese initiative. The world should be inspired to have its own version of an initiative similar to the BRI. The G20 has talked about it. Europeans and Americans either don't have instruments - because they have destroyed their own public instruments for investment by relying only on private investment - or ideologically they don't want to do that.

GT: What is the progress with regard to mechanism building and pragmatic cooperation of BRICS?

BRICS has progressed since its inception. It has shown that it's an important platform for change. We have created the BRICS New Development Bank and the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement. It would have been unimaginable in the 1990s for China, Brazil, India and South Africa to create such a powerful new development bank or an agreement for the use of central bank reserves.

I think BRICS should strengthen the bloc so that regime changes in one country or another shall not become a hurdle in the shining path of BRICS.

GT: In 2017, the Xiamen Summit brought up the "BRICS Plus" cooperation. What are the prospects and challenges for BRICS to make more friends?

One consequence of US unilateralism is how it threw some countries out of their realm of influence. It would be unimaginable 10 years ago for a Mexican politician to show more interest in relations with China than with the US.

BRICS should carefully consult about who to invite to the BRICS Plus platform. Meanwhile, it's welcoming that we bring in more countries like Argentina, Mexico and African nations. I think we should mobilize this platform to be a movement of change.

Of course, we'll have a trade-off. If we have fewer countries, we will have a much faster decision-making process. Therefore, we need to carefully see where we are going and what our objectives are.

GT: What's the role of China in BRICS?

China's role is crucial. It has revealed a model of development proven to be very successful. It's probably the only developing nation of that size to climb the technological ladder and reach a level close to that of developed countries, which were the first to promote technological innovation.

GT: The US has unilaterally provoked trade disputes, threatening to impose more tariffs on many countries. How will such moves influence the world economy?

US President Donald Trump needs to address internal problems by creating enemies like Mexico, China, and others. This is really bad for the world economy, which will stunt growth due to the US-launched trade war.

The World Trade Organization hasn't said anything about the situation while unilateralism has taken an upper hand. This demonstrates the urgent need for a change at the global level.

I hope we can reach a deal soon at the world level, because the situation reminds us that the crisis is getting stronger and we are heading toward conflict-prone relationships in the world.

GT: Will the US reduce its trade deficits with protectionist measures?

In the medium term, world growth will decline due to the trade war. The US will face cost issues because many US companies depend on Chinese labor and manufacturing plants in China. The trade war would break the commercial balance and have very bad effects on the US economy.

The US has historical trade deficits and it compensates them with remittance of profits and investment in portfolio. But it is very difficult for the US to keep on doing so. It is not sustainable.

GT: The US has set bars for foreign investment in technology and pulled it away from many international organizations. What's the influence on other countries?

The US trade moves demonstrate a loss in hegemonic capability. To maintain a stable leadership, Washington had to show its followers their future prospects. Hence, the US was a promoter of postwar multilateralism, which served as the fundamental element for US hegemony. But now the US wants to have the table all to itself, because it sees others as threats. This won't work as there isn't a world where only one country can gain.

The fear of the US tariffs is how much they will cost the rest of the world. It could lead to war or other serious problems. We need to find a quick solution that includes short-term measures to end this crisis.

The ideal way out would be if Trump lost his re-election bid. In addition, we should promote changes in multilateral institutions.
BRICS should lead reform of the global governance system (БРИКС должен возглавить реформу глобальной системы управления) / China, July, 2019
Keywords: global_governance, think_tank_council

BRICS should lead reform of the global governance system

Editor's Note:

During the 2019 BRICS Think Tank International Symposium: Global Governance and Multilateralism held at the Beijing International Studies University in late June, experts shared their views on what BRICS can do to improve the global governance system and defend multilateralism. The Global Times selected opinions of two experts present at the symposium.

Long Guoqiang, vice president of the Development Research Center of the State Council
The current global governance system was established after WWII and has gradually evolved and improved ever since. It is not monotonous and has entered a new stage of accelerated reforms.

The global trade system is based on the mainstream concept of free trade. Multilateral platforms, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and platforms for regional and bilateral cooperation have jointly built a diverse and complex multilateral trade system, which then formed the rules-based globalization.

The multilateral trade system has pushed forward cooperation in fields like technology, personnel and investment, and thus promoted global prosperity. To some extent, it is conducive to world peace.

Besides, rapid technology development and adjustment in global economic and trade development pattern demands reform of the multilateral trade system.

The world is progressing and needs updated rules for international economy and trade. Such being the case, to make the WTO more effective and better safeguard the multilateral trade system through reforms is a common wish of many WTO members. The reforms don't jeopardize the WTO or the multilateral trade system, but rather make the system more efficient and authoritative.

In the meantime, to reform the multilateral trade system, the differences between developing and developed countries should be taken into consideration so as not to exclude the many developing countries. The system should be inclusive to take in more countries to form a community of shared future.

BRICS is an important representative for developing countries. I believe the reform of the WTO would be a new area of cooperation for BRICS.

Luan Jianzhang, secretary-general of the China Council for BRICS Think Tank Cooperation
The fundamental problem with the current global governance system is institutional. Due to a lack of coordination between the global governance system and global situation, many countries could lose their trust in the system, which used to have a relatively large influence on world peace and development.

There could be some lag in the reforms of the WTO and the UN. Moreover, many international rules need to be adjusted while norms are found lacking in emerging areas like big data and artificial intelligence.

Before we find a specific solution for the problems we are facing, we could put forward joint consultation and sharing, principles promoted by China.

Since many questions are not answered and countries think in different ways, it is important for all of us to communicate. No country should do whatever it wants without talking to others. That's unilateralism.

BRICS should play an active role in global governance to safeguard multilateralism. The bloc should jointly work to promote more voices, initiatives and road maps that are marked by BRICS.

While BRICS countries are concerned about their own interests, they should also defend common interests and strive to reach consensus in maintaining multilateralism.
G20: Trump's 'America First' Policies Reflect the Limits of Globalization (G20: политика Трампа «Америка лучше всех» отражает границы глобализации) / USA, July, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues

Despite Trump's affinities with authoritarian leaders such as India's Modi and Russia's Putin, he continues to destabilize the existing neoliberal consensus and now BRICS countries are taking up the neoliberal mantle, says Patrick Bond

It's The Real News Network and I'm Greg Wilpert in Arlington today. A G20 Summit with the leaders of the world's largest economies just concluded this weekend in Osaka, Japan. The meeting itself did not result in any major decisions but in a variety of smaller ones, which indicate the general direction in which some of the world's largest countries are heading. For example, the US and China in a side meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping, agreed to set aside further escalation of the trade war. Also, all countries except the United States agreed to push forward on fulfilling the targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement. Among the important side meetings that took place, was one between the so-called BRICS countries— Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Here, key leaders such as Russia's President Putin and China's President Xi expressed concern about the uncertain and unstable trade climate that the US has brought about recently. Here's what President Putin had to say.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN The situation in the global economy is worrying. It is symbiotic that international trade has ceased to become a driver of economic growth and is going through a heavy burden of protectionism and politically-motivated restrictions and barriers. We can see weak business activity, growth of world debt, high volatility in financial and raw materials markets. In particular, it is related to difficulties which global trade is facing. It is clear that it needs to be adapted to present day developments. And in this context, the goal of reforming the World Trade Organization is becoming a priority. We believe any attempt to destroy the WTO and to decrease its role to be counterproductive.

GREG WILPERT Joining me now to analyze the recent G20 meeting is Patrick Bond. Patrick is Professor of Political Economy at Wits University in South Africa. Also, he is the Co-editor of the book, BRICS: An Anticapitalist Critique. Thanks for joining us today, Patrick.

PATRICK BOND Thank you very much for having me, Greg.

GREG WILPERT So let's start with the role that Trump is playing. On the one hand, he's a leader who's somewhat similar to Russia's Putin, India's Modi, Brazil's Bolsonaro, and even Japan's Shinzo Abe. But on the other hand, he seems to be throwing everyone off balance, especially with his ideological allies by calling into question longstanding alliances. What's your sense of the role that Trump is playing in all of this, and what effect is he having on the usually cozy relations between many of these countries?

PATRICK BOND Greg, at least here from Johannesburg, this is a world that seems upside down now. This is a world in which Donald Trump has ceded the neoliberal vanguard to at least three of the major eastern countries— China, Russia, and India— who had their own meeting, the RIC countries, to sort out the Belt and Road. It's very, very difficult because China and Russia have one agenda and India is very opposed especially to China's incursions through Kashmir. But setting that aside, those are three countries, as you heard from Vladimir Putin, who have the capacity to try to restore, sort of, corporate multilateralism. And ironically, it may be that with US capital going through some major changes now that Donald Trump has taken on the paleo-conservative— not even the neoconservative of the Bush era, and certainly not the neoliberal agenda of the Obama regime, which was to expand those multilateral agencies like the World Trade Organization. But instead, the "America First" protectionism does correspond with the kind of limits that I think US capital is reaching in the world economy.

Putin describes the weakness in the world economy in terms of the recent problems of trade investment debt. But in fact, most of these declines, most of the shrinkage let's say trade to GDP of global finance, the financial flows to GDP cross-border, or foreign direct investments, as the UN Conference on Trade and Development even has just reported last month, those have been in decline actually since the peaks of globalization in 2007. And so for the past 12 years really in some ways, it's been an era of de-globalization and Trump in a sense, as do Brexit proponents like Boris Johnson, they sort of reflect capital in retreat. You could say it's simply Trump bullying, and that would be a perfectly valid hypothesis. He's simply trying to get the best deal he can for US capital, but I actually think there may be a bigger structural problem here that helps explain why at least four of the BRICS— Russia, India China, and South Africa— are game for a bigger WTO, while Bolsonaro's more with Trump and Trump is in retreat from multilateral neoliberalism.

GREG WILPERT Yes. That's a very interesting point. Now. At the G20, the US and China, like I mentioned, one of the main achievements of that meeting was that they agreed to continue negotiations over their trade dispute. Now, this dispute seems to have dominated that meeting, so what do you see as being at the heart of this dispute, and do you think it will come to any resolution anytime soon?

PATRICK BOND Oh. It's certainly the rise of a competitive, potentially co-hegemonic, or even new hedge harmonic power in Chinese capitalism. And the cutting edge of that is certainly the high-tech sector where Huawei has really been the vanguard firm. But don't forget— there's two other vast firms that handle the equivalent of Twitter and Facebook as well as Amazon and those are called Tencent and Alibaba. And maybe, the correlation to the way Big Data relates to the US state in terms of its surveillance is what China has been able to do with Tencent and Alibaba— a full spectrum surveillance and social control system that's coming online next year, and pilots have been in place. It's called Social Credit and it rates everyone according to their social behavior. If you're an environmentalist and you go out in the thicket because say, Sinopec has exploded a pipeline nearby, not an unusual problem. Well, you're probably not going to be able to go on a fast train or on an airplane.

As for the millions of Hong Kong citizens out protesting, they're going to have trouble when facial recognition catches them if they are on the mainland. These are the kinds of technological advances that with 5G, a much, much more rapid mode of communication that put the United States— especially Facebook, Apple, Alphabet, Netflix, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft— in second place. I think that's probably what we're walking [inaudible] is a massive battle over the potential terrain for corporate and state power. But you know, there's a lot of good reasons why China deserves the kinds of pressure that Trump is giving them. Those include the manipulation of their currency there. If you're a corporate, you obviously want intellectual property and China's notorious for stealing that. China's also extremely tough on local investors, you know, demanding transfer technology— all manner of activities that the Chinese state has been able to use with its power, with its totalitarian controls, ensure that its corporates can advance at the cost of the foreign direct investors. So I think all of those things, Greg, reflect that certain capitalists in the US really do want China much weaker at the global scale. And certainly, with that trade deficit at record levels— it's well in the $400 billion a year range— China's completely out-competing the US.

The only thing really in all of this the US can turn to is its power of the US dollar. The hegemony of the dollar is critical. The Chinese renminbi, for example, is only about 2%, while US dollars are still about 62% of international financial transactions and the Euro around 20%. The yen and a few others are much less. I think that might be one of the most important coming battles and it might be led by Russia, which wants to de-dollarize as quickly as possible. They're under sanctions and [inaudible] and there's lots of talk of trying to move some of that [inaudible] south trade into local currency tradings, while even the BRICS New Development Bank has begun a little bit more seriously to issue loans in local currencies. I think that might be one we'd watch. Just like the pound lost its international standing against the US dollar in the Great Depression, we might see another big crash if that's on the route. It's certainly driven by Chinese overproduction, massive overcapacity at the world scale. And the US won't be that well-equipped to compete and maybe will lose much more of that strength of the dollar to, well, in a sense, economically bully the rest of the world and to continue to print money through quantitative easing but with no cost.

GREG WILPERT Yeah. That's quite an interesting point that actually I noticed that a number of different leaders made, specifically Putin as you mentioned, and it seems to be driven by this effort to become independent from the US dollar. It seems to be driven also to some extent by the sanctions that the US has imposed on different countries, and other countries' efforts to get around these sanctions. In particular, I think the role of Iran and of India play a role in all of this, but what I'm wondering now, assuming that this might move in this direction, the BRICS countries, as you mentioned earlier in our discussion, seem to be taking on this strange role reversal where they are becoming more the advocates of neoliberalism and neoliberal principles. Now, is that something—I mean, where does that come from? I mean, in the sense that, wasn't it always the most developed countries that wanted to impose neoliberalism? Why is it that these developing countries—I mean particularly India and Russia, but Russia is not really a developing country, but still, usually it's the most developed countries that have the most interest in pushing neoliberalism. And now, we have countries such as India and maybe even South Africa pushing neoliberalism. Why is that?

PATRICK BOND Oh. I think the adoption of a more neoliberal agenda reflects an internal balance of forces so that you'd say in each of these major countries— now, it would take Brazil as an important exception— the circuits of capital have moved to finance and merchant profitability as opposed to productive profitability. That would mean for the case of China, for example, that as it's overproduced and facing falling profits in its core productive sectors, it needs to export. The WTO has been the most crucial weapon of any out there multilaterally, and the United States knows that and has been basically sabotaging the WTO. It won't allow the main force within the WTO, the adjudication panel, to even appoint its new members, so it's really, completely paralyzed. There's a Brazilian who runs the WTO, Roberto Azevedo, who's always complaining now about Donald Trump shutting down the WTO. I'll give you another good example of this multilateral neoliberal support that BRICS countries have been giving. Well, let's say until Bolsonaro was elected, because this has changed matters. That would be the International Monetary Fund because they had voting restructuring in 2015 and that meant that China went up 37% and India went up 23%, the Brazilians 11%, the Russians 8%.

So in other words, the BRICS nearly got to that 15% point where they could exercise veto power. They've become an important bloc within the IMF, a neoliberal bloc. They supported Christine Lagarde's reappointment, even though she was under first prosecution and then actually conviction for negligence in a corruption case for 400 million euros dating to where she'd been the Finance Minister. That's one indication that the BRICS work within the IMF, but the critical point is that somebody had to lose when the IMF changed its votes, so who's lost? It would be the Nigerians and Venezuelans, a 41% decline in their vote in the IMF. Even the South Africans lost 21%. In other words, four of the BRICS moved up the ladder by stepping on the heads of poorer countries, and I think that reflects this coalescence of interests between the capitals of the world in which the BRICS businesses have actually moved to the point where they are sub-imperial accumulators. So they're, sort of, happy that their governments are achieving the status of multilateralism to defend their corporate interests as they go out around the world.

The Chinese are most aggressive, but the Indians have major firms— Russians in energy, Brazilians in mining and construction. They're very, very important, export-oriented, and internationally aggressive, and often much more predatory even than Western corporates. And so, we've seen certainly in this continent, in Africa, extraordinary cases of BRICS companies just absolutely looting, raping these poorest countries. And I think these are—I mean, the most recent example in Zambia involved an Indian company that's now the largest investor in our traditionally biggest company in South Africa, Anglo American. That company, Vedanta, had to delist from London and is basically under prosecution for extraordinary violations of human rights and environmental conditions in Zambia, as well as back home in India. It's that kind of— that's Anil Agarwal and his company Vedanta— these are the kinds of companies that we're seeing more and more.

And I think in many ways, Greg, this sets the stage for sub-imperial politics in which these countries become the deputy sheriffs of world capitalism. At the very same time, the sheriff has, you know, basically departed the Big House. Donald Trump is in retreat from the WTO, clear enough, not even talking about the UNFCCC, the climate discussions, or IMF. It's in these major bodies we really see this multipolarity, is a generous way to put it. But I would say, rising sub-imperial accumulation is what I would fear most because I know the South African corporate elites and the state that serves them can be absolutely a reactionary agent. For example, engaged in a massacre of mineworkers at a place, Marikana, where the main investors, now our President Cyril Ramaphosa, and the company involved, Lonmin, a London company, was once called the "unacceptable face of capitalism" by a conservative British Prime Minister. It's that degree of extreme power and accumulation that I think we can look forward to until resistance rises strongly to prevent this.

GREG WILPERT Okay. Unfortunately, we're going to have to leave it there. It's a very fascinating discussion and I hope I'll be able to pick it up again very soon. I was speaking to Patrick Bond, Professor of Political Economy at Wits University in South Africa. Thanks again, Patrick, for having joined us today.

PATRICK BOND Thank you. Great to be with you, Greg.

GREG WILPERT And thank you for joining The Real News Network.

G20 Osaka: when will global health commitments be realised? (G20 Осака: когда будут выполнены глобальные обязательства в области здравоохранения?) / China, July, 2019
Keywords: concluded_agreements, expert_opinion

The Group of 20 (G20) Summit took place on June 28 and 29 in Osaka, Japan, amid escalating tensions over trade, climate change, and even the value of liberalism. With the dominant focus on the economy and global trade, especially deals between the USA and China, health discussions failed to make the mainstream media headlines. Indeed, progression on health was disappointing.

The final G20 Osaka Leaders' Declaration highlights commitments on the economy, global finance, and anti-corruption policies. Support for developing countries, and specifically the G20 Africa partnership, towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is highlighted as part of "realizing an inclusive and sustainable world".

Notably, the global health section begins with "Health is a prerequisite for sustainable and inclusive economic growth", which signals G20 agreement to this important fundamental premise. The Declaration then reiterates past commitment to achieving universal health coverage (UHC), puts primary health care at the heart of advancing health and inclusion, and calls for greater collaboration between health and finance ministers. The appointment of Keizo Takemi as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for UHC signals Japan's commitment to promoting UHC. Promotion of healthy and active ageing (a theme championed by the current Japanese Government); public health preparedness and financial help to combat Ebola; the eradication of polio and ending the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria; and tackling antimicrobial resistance through the One Health approach are additional and unsurprising commitments. On climate change, little has changed, with the USA reiterating its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe expressed Japan's wish to promote a free and open, inclusive and sustainable, "human-centered future society". On health, the G20 Osaka Summit recognised that "global health… is essential as a basis for sustainable growth of the global economy", and noted "the importance of sustainable health financing towards UHC". However, the first Joint Session of the G20 Finance and Health Ministers as part of the G20 Osaka Summit was also a disappointment, with no formal outcome document, and with health ministers simply capitulating to the constraints set by finance ministers.

A report released by the World Bank on June 27 projects that by 2030, the target date of the SDGs, there will be a US$176 billion gap in the 54 poorest countries between the financing needed to provide their populations with quality, affordable health services and the funding that is actually available. The report calls for increased national investment in health and making investment in health a whole-of-government priority, improving financial sustainability by scaling proven investments like primary health services that reach the poorest, and taxing tobacco, alcohol, and sugary drinks to raise revenue and improve health. It also calls for increased international assistance for health, and building national institutions and capacities.

In response, Egypt, currently chair of the African Union, reiterated the Union's commitment to increase national investments in health in Africa and to promote collaboration between ministers of finance and health.

In a Health Policy paper published on June 27 in The Lancet ahead of the G20 Summit, Joseph L Dieleman and colleagues call for G20 countries to increase their funds for development assistance for health (DAH) and to discuss how to focus DAH for equitable health gains; how to deliver DAH to strengthen health systems; and how to promote domestic financing for sustainable impact. The UK's pledge of €1·4 billion to The Global Fund, increasing its funding by 16%, is a welcome start.
Bronwyn McBride and colleagues in BMC Public Health have commended BRICS, G7, and the G20 leadership on global health, but highlight their narrow focus on the potential impact of ill health primarily in relation to the economy and trade. 2017 was the first time that the G20 health ministers discussed global health issues. McBride and colleagues recommend that BRICS, G7, and G20 expand their focus to the neglected SDG 3 health targets; place greater emphasis on equity and leaving no-one behind; adopt explicit rights-based approaches; and make quantitative commitments with clear accountability mechanisms.

In the words of Dr Tedros, WHO's Director-General, who was invited to G20 Osaka: "Health is a political choice. As @g20org leaders, you have a unique opportunity to make that choice for a better world." The G20 Osaka Summit could best be described as building momentum on past global health commitments. The Health Ministers' Meeting on Oct 19–20, 2019, in Okayama and the G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia are the next milestones. Progress on the Declaration commitments must now be demonstrated.
Experts hail Sino-US agreement during G20 (Эксперты приветствуют китайско-американское соглашение, заключенное во время G20) / China, July, 2019
Keywords: concluded_agreements, Xi_Jingping, global_governance

The agreement reached by the leaders of China and the United States during the G20 summit will not only contribute to the economic development of both countries, but also have positive effects on the world economy and multilateralism, said foreign officials.

President Xi Jingping met with his US counterpart Donald Trump on Saturday during the G20 summit in Japan. Both agreed that the two countries will restart trade talks based on mutual respect and equal footing.

Burhan Kayaturk, deputy chairman of Foreign Affairs Department of the Justice and Development Party of Turkey, said any conflict between China and the US will affect the whole world, and the two leaders have taken on important responsibility for peaceful coexistence.

Mpho Balopi, secretary-general of the Botswana Democratic Party, said his country is very happy to see the goodwill and sincerity between Beijing and Washington. He quoted a local proverb "when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers most", and said if the two "elephants" can maintain a harmonious relationship, they are creating a better environment for the world.

Claudio Puty, an associate professor at the Federal University of Para in Brazil, said a trade friction leads to no winner but to negative impact on the global economy.

An expert on economics, Puty also said the current confrontation has already affected the global economic growth as the International Monetary Fund cut the projected growth rate of 2019 to 3.3 percent in April.

The rate was down from the 3.5 percent the IMF had forecast in January, which would be the weakest since 2009. IMF said the growth could slow further due to trade tensions.

Boris Shmelev, director of the Department for Political Studies at the Institute of Economics of Russian Academy of Sciences, said the result of the friction has "very negative impact on the world trade".

He called on the international community to safeguard multilateralism to protect their interests, and said the BRICS, an acronym of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is a part of the global governance as well as the implementation of multilateralism.

"BRICS is not an organization nor a movement, but a kind of form that has united some of the biggest countries in the world ... to step-by-step influence the process of decision-making and global governance with multilateralism."

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Dennis Davis on Common Problems in BRICS Markets (Деннис Дэвис об общих проблемах на рынках БРИКС) / Russia, July, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, quotation, economic_challenges

Chairman of South Africa's Competition Appeal Court discussed common problems in BRICS markets and shared his expectations regarding the VI BRICS Competition Conference in Moscow in September.

"I think that digital economy is clearly becoming a major issue. The idea of production of goods and services takes place in global value chains which means that nothing is produced in one country", said Dennis Davis.

He continued: "I can highlight several key issues: digital economy, competition on the pharmaceutical market, the idea of production with global value chains – all of these are vitally important questions because we are still working in a paradigm framework of the national level".

Expect US to fight back as Russia & China lead BRICS away from dollar trade (Можно ожидать, что США будет сопротивляться, поскольку Россия и Китай уводят БРИКС от торговли в долларах) / Russia, July, 2019
Keywords: economic_challenges, political_issues

While Russia and China's push to reduce the role of the US dollar in trade is catching on, don't expect Washington to give up its global economic dominance without a fight, political expert Jack Rasmus, told RT.

The two countries' presidents, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, recently announced their intention to expand the use of their national currencies –the ruble and the yuan– in bilateral financial transactions. The two states have agreed to develop financial instruments for this purpose and signed an intergovernmental agreement to boost cross-currency settlements. Both are also working on their own alternatives to the globally recognized SWIFT payment system.

"It's only at the very beginning and we're talking about only two countries. They're fairy large countries and it could be a significant amount of trade in non-dollar currencies or in kind," Jack Rasmus, professor of political economy at Saint Mary's College of California, told RT.

While Russia has already called on allied emerging economies –Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS)– to develop settlement instruments in national currencies, the anti-dollar push will not go unnoticed and will face a response from Washington, according to the analyst.

"Dollar is still the global currency. I think it'll be a fight with BRICS. The US won't stand by and do nothing if BRICS join the China-Russia payment system," Rasmus said. He added that if BRICS countries finally join Russia and China, Washington will definitely "take counter-actions overtly and covertly to discourage it."

The analyst also believes the US is alienating other countries as it imposes sanctions whenever it wants to. However, sanctions can easily backfire, as countries will turn away from the US if it continues to use them as a political weapon, according to the expert.

"The use of sanctions is a short-term weapon....but, in the long term, it may come back and bite the US if it pushes too hard," Rasmus noted. "If the US continues with strong-arming, with sanctions whenever it wants something from another country, then other countries are gonna move further in that direction."
Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Russia to host several major summits in the near future, says Putin (Россия в ближайшее время проведет несколько крупных саммитов, сказал Путин) / Russia, July, 2019
Keywords: vladimir_putin, quotation

In particular, the president put an emphasis on the Russian Energy Week forum, due in Moscow early in October

MOSCOW, July 3./TASS/. Russia is planning to host several major summits in the near future, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

"We will host a chain of major international events," the president said at a ceremony to receive credentials from new ambassadors on Wednesday. Russia assumes the chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, while at the start of the next year, it will take over the presidency of the BRICS group of nations (Brazil, India, Russia, China and South Africa). "In July 2020 we will host summits of these associations," the Russian leader said.

"We are getting ready for them, we are aiming at joint partnership and an advance of common priorities on the trajectory of security policy, economy and finance as well as cultural-humanitarian ties," Putin said.

"In September of this year, Vladivostok will host a next Eastern Economic Forum. We are expecting Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe as honorary guests," Putin went on to say.

"We are planning to look into prospects for putting into practice major joint investment projects in the Asia Pacific Region, to exchange opinions on ways to pair different integration processes with an aim to create big Eurasian partnership," Putin dwelt on the plans.

He also put an emphasis on the Russian Energy Week forum, due in Moscow early in October, saying it was expected "to discuss issues of ensuring global energy security, total access to energy, making less volatile the prices on global energy markets".

"We are working actively to pave the way for a Russia-Africa summit that we will host for the first time. It is due in Sochi at the end of October and it will be preceded by a Russian-African economic forum," the Russian leader said. He said the summit would be co-chaired by the Egyptian president, sitting Chairperson of the African Union Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

"We have sent invitations to all heads of the African states, as well as the leaders of major sub-regional unions and organizations. We expect that as a result, we will manage to propel a dialogue between Russia and Africa to a qualitatively new level, to help ensure peace and security in the region, as well as a stable development on the African continent," the Russian leader said.

World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
2019 Belt & Road and BRICS Skills Competition Begins: Young talent prepares for tomorrow's workforce (Начинается конкурс 2019 Belt & Road и BRICS Skills: молодые таланты готовятся к будущей работе) / China, July, 2019
Keywords: social_issues

Helping workers meet future demands is a main focus of the Xiamen Declaration from BRICS Leaders. CGTN's Guan Yang finds out how today's young people are preparing for tomorrow's workforce at a competition in Shandong province.

These contestants were given very limited time to assemble, program and fly a drone. After several rounds of fierce contests, fifty drone pilots finally meet at the showdown.

ANGKON JAHAN, BANGLADESHI CONTESTANT 2019 BELT&ROAD AND BRICKS SKILLS COMPETITION, WEIFANG, SHANDONG PROVINCE "Now I know about the drone, it works similar to aircraft: we need the motherboard, we need to have all the parts fixed together, and we have to do the correct programming. Then it can fly."

With experts predicting that many jobs will be obsolete due to the future technological revolution, drones and the demand for drone pilots have emerged as a key growth industry.

Also, this year's final has covered many areas which will be crucial for tomorrow's economy. Over twenty segments were organized, including 3D printing, VR design, and robotics. All with one goal in common: to connect today's talent with tomorrow's jobs.

NAURZBEKOVA ASSEM, KAZAKHSTAN CONTESTANT 2019 BELT&ROAD AND BRICKS SKILLS COMPETITION, WEIFANG, SHANDONG PROVINCE "Now, even organs can be printed by 3D printers, that's awesome. I hope that more people in my country can become interested in 3D printing studies."

CHARLES ZHONG, MOULDING COMPETITION SPONSOR 2019 BELT&ROAD AND BRICKS SKILLS COMPETITION, WEIFANG, SHANDONG PROVINCE "The experience which the participants have obtained through this event - to design and build the mould by themselves, can help them build the interests in working in this field."

The organizing committee is the BRICS business council. And, it is confident that digital, green and service economies in the future will transform the labor market. This will require a more skilled workforce, and these competitions can help raise the standards in skills excellence.

LIU HUI, VICE DIRECTOR OF ORGANIZING COMMITTEE 2019 BELT&ROAD AND BRICKS SKILLS COMPETITION "We are glad to see some South African participants from previous competitions have landed decent jobs after graduation. This is exactly why we've organized the competition to help them build a career path."

Some of the winning team will head to Kazan in Russia for this year's world skills competition in August. As for the other youngsters, many are inspired by new ideas from the event on building a better future career. GUAN YANG, CGTN.

Li Daokui appointed director general and chief economist at NDB (Ли Даокуи назначен генеральным директором и главным экономистом в НБР) / China, July, 2019
Keywords: ndb

Li Daokui on Monday was appointed director general and chief economist at the New Development Bank (NDB), according to an NDB statement.

With NDB, Li will be in charge of research and analysis for economic, financial, infrastructure and development issues across BRICS member countries.

Li is a leading Chinese economist in academic and policy research. He has been a Mansfield Freeman chair professor of economics at Tsinghua University since 2006.

Li has worked on economic issues concerning BRICS countries. Since 2004, as director of the Center for China in the World Economy, which is now embedded in the Academic Center for Chinese Economics Practice and Thinking of Tsinghua University, Li has organized annual research conferences for think tanks from BRICS countries.

The BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – signed an agreement in July 2014 to set up the NDB.

The bank went into full operation in February 2016, with its initial legal capital amounting to $10 billion and each member country holding a 20 percent share in the bank.

The NDB is the first international financial center to set up its global headquarters in Shanghai.

Construction of the building began early September 2017, and the bank had its structure ceiling ceremony on June 26.

The building is expected to be completely delivered in September 2020.

Made on