Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 12.2017

2017.03.13 — 2017.03.17
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Pakistan among 11 countries likely to be included in BRICS Plus (Пакистан среди 11 стран, которые могут войти в БРИКС Плюс) / Pakistan, March, 2017
Keywords: BRICS Plus, Pakistan, International relations

ISLAMABAD – China hints at expanding BRICS with suggestion to include rising economies like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Iran, Turkey, Nigeria, Philippine, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The new block will be titled as BRICS plus.

Chinese top diplomat Wang YiChina said his country would explore modalities for Brics-plus, to hold outreach dialogues with other major developing countries.

Wang added that China will widen the circle of friends and turn Brics into the most-influential platform for south-south cooperation in the world.

The development assumes significance as China will be holding the presidency of the Brics this year. It will be hosting the ninth summit at Xiamen in September.

India senses Chinese move as ploy to cut India's influence in the group by roping in more pro-China countries into it.
OPINION | Xin Hua: China's three steps to shaping globalization that benefits all (Мнение. Синь Хуа: три шага Китая к формированию глобализации, которая принесет пользу всем) / China, March, 2017
Keywords: China, global governance, WTO, TPP, New Develolpment Bank, One Belt One Road

The cornerstones of the institutional foundations of global governance are cracking at an accelerated speed, due to the heavy blows brought on by the dramatic changes taking place in the world economy and global politics.

The current wave of globalization, which started at the end of the Cold War, is losing its momentum and may actually start to go backwards, because the economic profits it generated are gradually going down and the problems of inequality that it created in the past few decades are reaching a point of eruption with large swaths of national populations across the world.

Problems with globalization felt across the world

The US is deliberately hollowing out the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and attempting to build a new system which it may continue to dominate.

The UK is determined to break away from the European Union and is currently entangled in the process of negotiating "Brexit" with the rest of the EU, sending out shockwaves felt across the world.

The sudden 'abortion' of the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) before it was born, the impasse of TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiation, the growing protectionism in the US and Europe, and the shaky European integration riddled with internal and external crises, all foretell a gloomy and inauspicious prospect of global governance on the horizon.

China: beneficiary of old globalization and champion of new globalization?

However, while the existing global governance structure is being fragmented to some degree, China may become a new powerhouse to reinvigorate the world economy and rejuvenate global governance. As both a beneficiary and a sincere supporter of globalization, China has been developing in line with the growth of the world economy. Its rise is one of the most outstanding achievements of this wave of globalization.

Now a global giant in terms of its economic weight and international influence, China becomes a progressive power that has both a capacity and a desire to rectify the existing flaws of global governance and to shape its future. Actually China has come up with a set of new approaches to carry forward global governance for the benefits of emerging economies and developing countries.

The role of BRICS in new globalization

As one of the major emerging economies of the world, China understands the needs and concerns of other members of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and has an empathy for them, because China shares with them the tough experiences of being treated unfairly by developed countries and represented inadequately in the major institutions of global economic governance, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

China has a common aspiration to coordinate macroeconomic policy-making more frequently and obtain financial resources more effectively for the BRICS countries. China wants to take a leading role to build a cooperative mechanism for all the members of the BRICS, which takes the form of a multi-layered complex of summits, high-level meetings, regular forums and the BRICS Development Bank. Through these mechanisms, the paths and paces of all the emerging economies may become interconnected, and they may converge into a force to shape the future direction of world economy.

Globalization through regional integration and China's Belt and Road initiative

The second approach that China proposes to preserve and promote globalization is to push forward intra and inter regional integrations through its spectacular "Belt and Road" initiative. As a major trading power, China needs streamlined and efficient networks of transport, infrastructure, and finance outside its border to facilitate the flows of its goods and investment, but the divergent and even fragmented systems within the Eurasia Continent as well as along its coast line not only impede trade flows, but also block the exchanges of information and talents.

In order to remove the barriers that hinder the economic interconnectivity between China and other countries of the Eurasia Continent, China is implementing its Belt and Road initiative, which is a grand plan to construct a "new silk road economic belt" and a "maritime silk road", covering 64 countries extending from East Asia to West Europe. Through jointly-invested large-scale infrastructure projects funded by the "Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank" (AIIB), China is actually facilitating and molding economic integrations between and within East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Working to make the existing global institutions better

The third approach that China is strongly advocating and pushing forward by its own efforts are the reforms on the long-standing and seemingly authoritative international institutions that evolved from the early stages of the Bretton Woods System, such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. Striving for increased representation of non-western countries, China has successfully changed the share-holding structure of the IMF and helped to redesign the distribution pattern of Special Drawing Rights (SDR), resulting in a transfer of shares from developed countries to the BRICS and a more flexible policy-making mechanism.

China has also effectively pushed for similar reform measures in other international economic institutions and brought the concerns of emerging and developing economies into high-level multilateral frameworks for global governance, such as Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and G-20.

In brief, amid its economic growth and rise, China's fate has already become intertwined with global governance, which is largely correlated to its own growth and prosperity. For this reason alone it is important for China to take initiatives to set the agenda and shape the structure of these systems.

Step by step, China must endeavor to mend the deficiencies of the existing global governance system and to reignite its vitality. Despite the ominous signs of possible retreat or even reversal of global governance and the world economy, China keeps its faith and devotes itself to construct an interconnected world of common prosperity based on a win-win pattern and respect for mutual benefits.

The author is research professor of the Center for EU Studies at the Shanghai International Studies University. He is also director of research of the Shanghai Institute for European Studies and councilor of the Shanghai Council for Asia-Pacific Economy.

China takes bigger role on world stage (Китай получает большую роль на мировой сцене) / China, March, 2017
Keywords: International relations, China, One Belt One Road, Summit
Source: China Daily

Success of country's sensible diplomacy creates high expectations for this year's big events

China will host two major international gatherings this year, and expectations are that new initiatives and measures will be unveiled to spur global growth and development amid the rise of protectionism.

The importance of the two events in this year's diplomatic calendar was highlighted for China Daily by Chinese diplomats and experts attending the fifth session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee as members.

The first of the two events is the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that will be held in Beijing in May.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi, speaking with the media recently during the fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress, said that the heads of state and government from over 20 economies and the leaders of over 50 international organizations will attend the forum.

He said the forum aims to examine key areas for cooperation and identify a number of major projects for connectivity in infrastructure, trade, investment and finance, as well as people-to-people exchanges.

Also it is hoped that medium- to long-term initiatives will be announced at the forum, and it can explore ways to establish an effective cooperation mechanism and build a closer and result-oriented network of partnerships, Wang added.

Jia Qingguo, professor and dean at Peking University's School of International Studies, says the upcoming forum can benefit both China and the countries along the routes by facilitating the transfer of capital, technology, talent and management experience from the developed eastern coastal region of China to those countries along the routes that need them.

"This would help sustain the development of the Chinese economy and support the development and prosperity of neighboring countries," Jia says.

The other domestic diplomatic event this year, the ninth BRICS leaders' summit, will be held in the coastal city Xiamen in East China's Fujian province in September.

The annual meeting brings together the leaders of the five BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The five nations, with over 40 percent of the world's population, have a combined GDP of about one-fifth of the world's total.

The five countries are busy preparing for the meeting, and a range of ministerial-level meetings are being held beforehand to prepare for the summit, says Li Jinzhang, China's ambassador to Brazil.

Brazil, which is suffering severe economic difficulties, has great expectations of strengthened cooperation with the other BRICS countries, Li says.

"New ideas will be proposed and important agreement will be reached on key issues," Li says.

"The voices of developing countries will be heard by the world" at the meeting in September in Xiamen, Li adds.

Major high-end international gatherings held by China in recent years include the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders Week in Beijing in 2014 and the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in 2016.

On these occasions, President Xi Jinping introduced new proposals and concepts aimed at improving global governance and realizing sustainable growth and common development.

Open and inclusive

The two events are being held while the global economy remains sluggish and there is rising trade protectionism, diplomats and experts say, and many countries are looking to China for leadership as well as practical cooperation.

"While some countries are shifting their focus to domestic development, it is China that is ushering in new dynamics for international cooperation," says Zhang Yunling, a senior researcher on Asia-Pacific studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Zhang says that while other countries are looking to protectionism, the multilateral mechanisms promoted by China, such as the Belt and Road Initiative, "all embrace openness".

"China is an advocate of openness when the trends of anti-globalization and protectionism are prevailing," Zhang says.

Shi Mingde, China's ambassador to Germany, says: "The world is in desperate need of cross-regional cooperation that has a bigger spread, a greater standard and is of a higher level. That's why China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013."

The initiative is a key public good for boosting international cooperation and global governance offered by China to the global community, says Shi, who points out that many countries are facing demanding situations regarding their structural reform and development amid the sluggish global economy.

"The initiative will forge a close and strong link between the dynamic economies in Asia and the developed economies in Europe," Shi adds.

Strong impetus

China contributed to sustaining economic globalization by successfully hosting the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, and the two events it is hosting this year will not only be good for China, but also for the rest of the world, says Zhai Jun, China's ambassador to France.

Zhai says that by promoting further integration between China and the world, the Belt and Road forum and the BRICS leaders' summit can provide strong impetus for China's future development, which will in turn benefit the world.

"In the coming five years, China will import commodities worth $8 trillion in total and attract foreign investment of $600 billion," Zhai says.

"Also, Chinese investment overseas is expected to be $750 billion (706 billion euros; 614 billion) over the next five years and there will be 700 million trips abroad by Chinese citizens," Zhai says.

Zhang Yunling, the CASS researcher, also notes that the Chinese economy itself is undergoing a critical phase in which the country is restructuring its economy, and pursuing further reform and opening-up that "benefits both itself and other nations".

"China could gear up the transformation of its economy through improved cooperation with other countries," Zhang says.

Aside from the two events to be held in China, other gatherings - including the APEC meetings in Vietnam and G20 Summit in Germany - will also provide opportunities for countries to cooperate on global governance.

Germany this year takes over the rotating chairmanship from China and will host this year's G20 Summit and related lower-level meetings.

"We expect to maintain close contact and cooperation with the German side to offer new ideas for boosting global governance, introduce new opportunities, and send signals of cooperation, openness, peace and win-win results," says Shi Mingde, the Chinese ambassador to Germany.

New role

Cui Liru, a senior researcher and former president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, noted that China has been proactive in hosting international meetings in recent years, and its home-field diplomacy "is a significant platform for presenting China's new role and its new capabilities".

"The two major events this year will yield greater outcomes than the past meetings, because the country has been consistently learning, accumulating experience and improving, and its foresight is being reinforced," Cui says.

The concepts proposed by China in recent years have shown it to be a quick learner in aligning with accepted international norms and codes, and have highlighted its growing maturity, Cui adds.

Wu Enyuan, a senior researcher on Russian studies at CASS, noted that treating other countries on an equal footing is one of the reasons China has been successful in winning support for its proposals and initiatives from an increasing number of countries.

"The concepts first proposed by President Xi, including the Belt and Road Initiative and a Community of Shared Destiny for All Mankind, are popular in many developing countries partly because they welcome China treating them in a way that would have been unthinkable during the colonial era," Wu says.

While political alignment and security alliances prevail on the world stage, the Chinese proposals "do not categorize or judge countries by political systems or ideologies", Wu says.

Wu cites the wide range of organizations and institutions proposed by China in recent years, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund.

"Such Chinese proposals are based on reality, they are not coming from nowhere, and they meet the actual needs of countries. That's why few countries have said 'no' to the concepts and most have signed up for them," Wu adds.

But Cui, the scholar with China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, cautions that China should strike a balance between being a developing country, albeit the largest, and its greater responsibilities in global affairs.

"China is taking on a new role. It has entered the new role in a short period of time, it will take time for it to adapt to the new situation."
Russian and Indian Approaches to BRICS and Global Governance (Русский и индийский подходы к БРИКС и глобальному управлению) / US, March, 2017
Keywords: International relations, Russia, India

Are we witnessing seismic shifts in the Russia-India-China triangle? It would seem so—but the shifts are long in the making.

Historically, Indo-Russian relations have been far stronger than Sino-Russian relations. In recent years, however, and especially since the onset of the crisis in Ukraine in 2014, the dynamics of this "strategic triangle," as former Russian prime minister Yevgeny Primakov called it, have changed. Despite a shared history of strong bilateral relations and overlapping multilateral memberships, India and Russia are drifting apart. The flurry of agreements signed in October 2016 notwithstanding, defense ties are weakening, and economic relations have failed to meet targets.

More important, each country now worries about the other's relationship with its main strategic competitor—India is anxious about tight Russo-China relations, and Russia is concerned about the recent uptick in Indo-U.S. relations. Indeed, despite a good working relationship between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, relations between Russia and India have been deprioritized in both capitals. While this deprioritization has significance on multiple levels, the concern here is the implications of weaker bilateral ties for Indo-Russian cooperation toward reforming the global order.

Since 2006, the main locus of Russo-Indian cooperation toward reforming global order has been the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and (since 2011) South Africa. The BRICS group of nations has been most active in the area of global economic governance, but it boasts a sprawling set of working groups and a stated aim of entirely reforming the global order. For Russia, India and China are the most important partners in the group, and their importance grows directly out of Primakov's strategic triangle.

For Russia, BRICS continues to be a useful vehicle for challenging American dominance in the global system.

Cooperation in the BRICS has always been circumscribed by profound differences among its members. These include not only different positions in discrete international institutions that dictate different approaches but also variance in larger strategic goals. For Russia, BRICS has always been about politics, and has in many ways been a prime tool in Russian efforts—both rhetorical and otherwise—to balance against U.S. hegemony in the global system. India, while certainly in possession of a strong strain of anti-Westernism in its own foreign policy, has nevertheless viewed BRICS primarily in terms of geoeconomics and India's ongoing efforts to increase its voice in prime organs of global governance. Countering U.S. supremacy as such is, for India, a useful side benefit of BRICS rather than the group's main purpose.

But these differences and misalignments did not prevent India and Russia from cooperating within BRICS to act as a forceful lobbying subgroup of the G20 during the acute phase of the 2008 global financial crisis. They also did not block BRICS' agreement to open its own development bank and a currency pool in 2014. Indeed, the crosscutting and conflicting interests among all the members of the BRICS group are one reason its effective cooperation on some issues (narrow though that may be) is notable. Members' differing views on the global governance endgame should be understood as nothing new in considering the future of the BRICS project, or in considering the value Russia and India each see in the group.

What has changed is the calculus Russia and India each bring to their interactions within the BRICS. The issue on both counts is China, and more specifically how Sino-Russian and Sino-Indian relations have an impact on coordination among the BRICS group of countries. The major turning point was 2014, the year that marked the Russian annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine, and Modi's election in India. These watershed moments led to dramatic changes in U.S.-Russian and U.S.-Indian relations and changed priorities within the Russia-India-China trilateral grouping.

The crisis in Ukraine and its effect on relations with the Euro-Atlantic community (especially U.S.-Russian relations) left Russia with few strategic options beyond turning to China. While the Kremlin had been attempting to build political and economic ties with China for over a decade, it was only after 2014 that these efforts began to translate into not only somewhat stronger economic links but a strategic reorientation as well. The Sino-Russian relationship is neither uncomplicated nor unlimited in possibility, but it serves both countries' strategic interests to deepen cooperation and coordinate positions on some global issues. While Russia's longstanding concerns about Chinese dominance in their shared neighborhood, Chinese influence in the Russian Far East, and the imbalances in the makeup of bilateral trade have not disappeared, they have eased or been overtaken by more pressing concerns.[1] Further, close relations with India would in no way address any of those problems.

Indeed, despite a good working relationship between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, relations between Russia and India have been deprioritized in both capitals.

Indian foreign policy has also made notable shifts since 2014, but in the opposite direction. Since the Modi government came to power, relations between India and China have been on a downward trend, while relations with the United States have reached almost unprecedented levels of cooperation. In a recent article in International Affairs, Harsh Pant and Yogesh Joshi attribute the uptick to Modi's emphasis on economic development and the concordant need for advanced technology and foreign investment, Modi's strong domestic support, and changes to India's structural environment, particularly reflecting concerns about a more aggressive China. Strong relations with Russia have historically been a hedge against the third concern, and steady defense ties—including the import of some of Russia's most advanced weapons—have somewhat addressed the first issue. In a world where Russia is increasingly close to China (including selling China advanced weapons systems), however, India can no longer be sure that Russia is solidly in its corner.

These issues have implications for how both Russia and India approach their membership in BRICS.

For Russia, BRICS continues to be a useful vehicle for challenging American dominance in the global system. It also provides valuable optics of partnership in the face of Western efforts to isolate the country during the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. China is the most important piece of that challenge, however, and with strong Sino-Russian relations assured for the near term, Russia may find it less useful to invest in BRICS. Russia is also shifting focus to its project to build a "Greater Eurasia," (also known as the Eurasian Comprehensive Partnership).

For India, BRICS continues to be a useful lobbying group for making global governance more representative, but strong Sino-Russian relations make it less certain that India's voice will be heard as clearly during intragroup discussions. Further, to the extent that one motivation for Indian participation in BRICS is embedding China into a multilateral grouping in hopes that this exerts some influence on Chinese behavior, that bet seems much less sure without Russia pushing for the same objective. This compounds Indian frustration that, with proposals such as the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank and One Belt One Road, China is already acting outside the BRICS framework and violating core BRICS principles. (Some in China, however, feel the opposite, and worry that Indo-Russian synchrony complicates Chinese objectives in BRICS.)

During his opening address to the Raisina Dialogue in Delhi in January 2017, Prime Minister Modi called Russia "an abiding friend." This is true: Russia remains one of two countries with which India holds an annual, institutionalized summit, and both countries rhetorically endorse the importance of the relationship. Below the surface, however, changes in priorities in both countries have upended the balance in the Russia-India-China triangle and put Russia's growing partnership with China at odds with the increasingly close Indo-American relations. Indeed, the fundamental problem plaguing Russo-Indian relations is that each country has more to gain from close relations with the other's strategic adversary than with its own longstanding partner.

The opinions expressed here are soley those of the author.

[1] Russia exports primarily raw materials to China and imported primarily finished manufactured goods. The main exception is arms sales.
Visit of Deputy Prime Minister of Russia to India (March 15-18, 2017) (Визит заместителя Председателя Правительства России в Индию (15-18 марта 2017 года) / India, March, 2017
Keywords: International relations, Russia, India, business, diamond trading, mining, infrastructure, Far-Eastern region
Source: Ministry of External Affairs of India

H.E. Mr Yuri Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister and Plenipotentiary Envoy of the President of the Russian Federation for the Far Eastern Federal District is leading a high-level delegation visit to India from 15-18 March, 2017. The delegation includes Governors from the Regions of the Russian Far Eastern Federal District, senior government officials and Russian industry representatives.

During his visit to Mumbai from March 15-16, 2017, Deputy Prime Minister Trutnev met prominent industry representatives, paid a visit to the Special Notified Zone for diamond trading and attended a business event which provided him an opportunity to interact with Indian businessmen interested in exploring engagement with Russia's Far-East Region.

On March 17, 2017, Deputy Prime Minister Trutnev held a meeting with Hon'ble External Affairs Minister in New Delhi. During the talks, both leaders discussed issues related to further strengthening of trade & investment cooperation between India and the regions of the Russian Far East. Thereafter, he addressed a business event which concluded with the signing of an MoU between Invest India and the Far East Investment and Export Agency. This was followed by an interaction with the media.

The visit is primarily aimed at spreading awareness amongst the Indian business community regarding the opportunities for investment available in the resource-rich Far-Eastern Region of Russia. Given the considerable economic potential and our willingness for greater interaction with this Region, the visit has enabled further consolidation of bilateral cooperation in the areas of mining, diamond processing, infrastructure (ports etc), agriculture and agro-processing.
India-Russia in testy waters? (Отношения между Индией и Россией натянуты?) / India, March, 2017
Keywords: International relations, Russia, India
Author: Himani Pant
Source: ORF

It is oft repeated that India and Russia share special and time-tested ties. In April 1947, even before it gained independence from colonial rule, India established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. Both states shared great camaraderie during the Cold War period, culminating in a Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation in 1971. Despite a drift during the tumultuous 1990s, India and the post-Soviet Russian Federation managed to maintain close ties due to a convergence of global and regional interests.

However, even though both countries remain close, realpolitik in recent times has induced them to pursue closer relations with each other's geopolitical rivals. Russia has cultivated closer ties with China and Pakistan while India has strengthened relations with the United States. As a result, an inevitable drift between the two traditional partners is evident, though not strong enough for complete disengagement, given their amicable history and mutual interest in balancing China's growth in Asia.

Russia announced its turn to the East in 2010. This shift, in essence, was focused towards China and gained further momentum following the Ukraine crisis in 2014. This had both a political and economic angle. Politically, Russia has appreciated Chinese support, or at least passive acquiescence, to its positions in Ukraine and even Syria, as evidenced by China's support of a Russian veto against the Assad regime in Syria last month. Economically, China is now Russia's largest trading partner, and the two have signed a 30-year agreement worth $400 billion (USD) under which Russia will supply China with 38 billion cubic meters of gas annually. The eastern route of the Siberian pipeline is already under constructionand is expected to be operational by 2018.

Commercial and strategic interests explain Russia's interest in South Asia, including its entente with Pakistan. Pakistan is an important country for Russia especially when the former's economy is facing a crisis because of the dual impact of low oil prices and Ukraine-related sanctions. Owing to its geographical location, Pakistan is strategically important for Russia. The country is close to Central Asia, China and West Asia, making Pakistan crucial for Russia to gain a foothold in Asia.

Russia and Pakistan have taken concrete actions to cement their warming relations. Russia removed its arms embargo against Islamabad in 2014 and made a deal to sell Pakistan four Mi-35M helicopters the following year. Russia also invited Islamabad to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), even as it simultaneously pushed for Indian membership in the organization. In 2016, both countries performed joint military exercises despite India's concerns following the Uri attack. Recently, Russia has also reportedly shown interest in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which links western China with the Gwadar port in Pakistan.

While Russia's overall engagement with Pakistan is less than with India, it is evident that Russia has shifted away from defining its relations with Pakistan based upon its relations with India. The skepticism in New Delhi increased particularly after Russia decided to go ahead with its first joint military exercises with Pakistan, not long after the Uri episode. In addition, Russia, China, and Pakistan, in their trilateral meet in December last year to discuss developments in Afghanistan, left out both India and Afghanistan. Their "flexible approach" to lift sanctions against select Taliban leaders especially did not go down well with India since it is opposed to distinguishing between good and bad Taliban.While a six-party meet including the original three and India, Afghanistan, and Iran was held in February this year, Russia's preference in dealing with Pakistan along with China has been all too visible. The evolving Russia-Pakistan relationship has thus raised concerns in New Delhi about the future course of Russia's foreign policy.

While India is concerned with Russia's closer relations with China and Pakistan, Russia appears to be equally concerned with India's closer relationship with the United States. Creating competition for Russia, the United States has emerged as a major supplier to India, especially after the nuclear rapprochement. Defense trade between India and the United States has gone up to $15 billion, and India has been given the status of a major defense partner of the United States, which would likely enable it to purchase more high-end and sensitive American technologies.

The two sides also signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), which will strengthen military ties between India and the United States by allowing each country to access each other's military facilities for fueling and other logistical functions. More than anything, the agreement carries symbolic value. Though India practices strategic autonomy, the agreement is reflective of a greater synergy between the two in developing their strategic partnership. This has inevitably unsettled Russia, India's traditional defense partner. Being that it has played a central role in South Asia for decades, Moscow naturally feels more inclined to pursue closer relations with Pakistan in order to remind India of its presence.

Finally, it is interesting to note that although political relations between India and Russia remain strong, the economic relationship is weak. Because India is energy-deficient and Russia has an energy surplus, the two have a mutual interest in energy trade. However, despite this evident compatibility, Indo-Russian trade and economic linkages remain minimal. Although the two states aimed to achieve $20 billion in trade by 2015, bilateral trade only totaled $7.83 billion in 2015. Russia comprised just one percent of India's total trade, while India made up only 1.2 percent of Russia's overall trade in 2015-2016. As mentioned before, the defense relationship has seen a decline as well, with India diversifying its arms imports from new suppliers like the United States, although Russia still remains India's largest supplier.

In sum, realpolitik dominates India-Russia relations despite their mutual foreign policy priorities and cooperation in regional organizations like BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Russia has pursued deeper ties with China and Pakistan while India has bolstered ties with the United States. It will be important to observe how these moves will affect relations between the two in the coming decades. The economic sphere is a region where Russia and India can possibly strengthen their ties. Although political relations between the two countries currently seem to outweigh the minimal economic relationship, future expansion of the relationship between the two countries may depend on figuring out how to increase economic cooperation in this age of global connectivity.
Social Security Agreement between India and Brazil (Соглашение о социальной защите между Индией и Бразилией) / India, March, 2017
Keywords: Social Security Agreement, SSA, India, Brazil, International relations, Social Security, Summit, Goa Declaration
Source: Ministry of External Affairs of India

Taking forward the spirit of the Goa Declaration at the 8th BRICS Summit , outcomes of the meetings of BRICS Labour & Employment Ministers held on 9 June 2016 in Geneva and on 27-28 September 2016 in New Delhi, India and Brazil today initialed the text of the Social Security Agreement in Brasilia.

As per the agreed text, detached workers of the two countries are exempted from making social security contributions in either countries so long as they were making such contributions in their respective countries.

The text establishes the rights and obligations of nationals of both countries and provides for equal treatment of the nationals of both countries and unrestricted payment of pensions even in the case of residence in the other contracting state (benefits export principle).

The requirements to be entitled to a pension can be met by aggregating the periods of insurance completed in India and Brazil, whereby each country pays only the pension for the insurance periods covered by its laws.

As on date, India has signed and operationalized Social Security Agreements (SSAs) with 18 countries - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and South Korea.

The SSA between India and Brazil once brought into force after completion of the ratification process in the respective counties will favorably impact the profitability and competitive position of Indian and Brazilian companies with foreign operations in either countries by reducing their cost of doing business abroad. The SSA will also help promote more investment flows between the two countries.

The SSA between India and Brazil once in force by early 2018 will also be the first such agreement between the BRICS countries.

The Indian delegation was led by K. Nagaraj Naidu, Joint Secretary (Economic Diplomacy) of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and the Brazilian delegation was led by Mr. Benedito A. Brunca, Secretary (Social Security Policies), Ministry of Finance, Government of Brazil.
#China advocates #BRICS+ model of open co-operation (Китай выступает за модель открытого сотрудничества БРИКС+) / United Kingdom, March, 2017
Keywords: BRICS Plus, Summit, New Development Bank

BRICS members should launch more outreach dialogue to benefit more parties with their co-operation, foster a "BRICS+" model of open co-operation, and set up a more broad-based South-South co-operation platform for the common development of emerging market economies and developing countries, State Councilor Yang Jiechi said recently as he expressed China's expectations towards the bloc, writes Zhao Cheng from People's Daily.

Yang made the remarks at the First Sherpa Meeting of the 9th BRICS Summit in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province on 23 February.

"The 2017 BRICS Summit will be held from September 3-5 in Xiamen in East China's Fujian Province," the councilor declared to the world at the meeting. The theme of this year's event will be 'BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future'.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, at the 8th BRICS summit held in 2016 in the Indian city of Goa, urged BRICS members to build "a community of common actions", saying that the five countries not only share common interests, but also must step forward hand in hand.

Xi's proposals made clear the goal and direction for cooperation among BRICS countries, and delivered China's resolution to push BRICS countries for progress and a bigger role in global affairs.

The just-concluded Sherpa Meeting charted the course and depicted the road map for BRICS co-operation, laying a foundation for the preparation work of the Xiamen Summit.

Yang also clarified the priorities in preparations for the Xiamen Summit, urging BRICS members to enhance unity and coordination in improving global governance, deepen practical cooperation for win-win results, increase people-to-people exchanges to win greater popular support for BRICS co-operation, and strengthen institution building and improve co-operation platforms.

The New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement are known as two important carriers for practical co-operation among BRICS countries.

In future, the five BRICS countries are expected to continue to tap potential for cooperation,identify more converging interests in areas such as trade and investment, liberalization and facilitation, e-commerce, financial market connectivity, innovation-driven development, and carry out more result-oriented cooperation programs that can deliver economic and social benefits.

The BRICS grouping includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The BRICS cooperative mechanism was established in 2006.
China's Belt and Road Initiative exciting, transformational: world renowned economist (Всемирно известный экономист: Инициатива Китая "Один пояс и один путь" - захватывающая, преобразующая) / China, March, 2017
Keywords: International relations, Economics, China, One Belt One Road, Jim O'Neill
Source: China Daily

SYDNEY - World renowned economist and coiner of the term "BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China)" Jim O'Neill has said China's Belt and Road Initiative could "completely transform" the global economic outlook for the better.

O'Neill, who visited Sydney last week for an economic forum, spoke to Xinhua late Monday via telephone from his office in London, praising the work of the Chinese government did for the Belt and Road Initiative.

The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.

The initiative demonstrates China's rapid progress in becoming the centre of the global economic sphere, the economist said.

"It's one of a number of potential additional trade developments which simply add to my view that the nature of global trade is changing dramatically, and the United States does not dominate in the same way it once did," O'Neill said.

"I think the Belt and Road Initiative has the potential to completely transform the economic outlook for those countries that lie between China and Europe, and result in all sorts of exciting things with respect to trade developments for China and many other countries."

China "dominates" global trade, O'Neill said, highlighting recent statistics out of Europe that show that China has become the trading partner of choice for many European nations.

"The most interesting statistic I've seen so far in 2017 was the release of the final German trade data for the whole of last year," O'Neill said.

"It shows that China has become Germany's number one trade partner, if you combine imports and exports, overtaking the United States and France."

One of the "realities" of this "new era" of trade is that China is not only becoming the number one partner of choice for commodity driven nations, but for nations that specialise in premium goods, and a wide range of services, O'Neill said, envisioning close cooperation with China by the United States in terms of continued and robust trade relations.

"As China goes further up the income stream, it's a really good market for the United States to export some of its best products and best businesses to." O'Neill said.

Free trade is crucial to the development of the global economy and O'Neill spoke of his own experiences in the British Parliament, highlighting the need for his native Britain to engage with trading partners around the world, and in particular, China.

"I certainly think for post-Brexit Britain, it's absolutely crucial to be trying to do improve its trade relationships with the likes of China and Asia," O'Neill said.

"I was in the government until last September, and I was in the middle of what seemed to be quite strong, successful efforts to develop the so called golden relationship' with China, and the reason why we did it was because of the potential for British trade and investment relationships with China."

But it is not just trade partnerships that the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations are focused on developing, with global governance and policy consensus crucial to ensuring the social development not only of the member nations, but those they are able to influence for the better.

O'Neill is hopeful that the nations will make even further strides towards becoming bigger influencers on the global scale, despite the understandable challenges they face when bridging cultural and political differences between their countries.

"The very fact they have emerged as a political group is a huge development, and I think in some ways they are still in their infancy," O'Neill said.

The world renowned economist firmly believes, however, that despite the relatively young stage of their partnership, the BRICS nations more than hold their own with the likes of the United States and the European Union in the geopolitical arena.

"They way they have emerged, and the whole advent of the G20 was done to bring the BRICS countries into global governance," O'Neil said.

"So they already are (at that level). I think it's pretty clear."

Looking ahead to the BRICS Summit set to be held in the city of Xiamen in September in China, O'Neill said he would be engaged with representatives to push for the nations to play a more active role in the global health agenda.

"I think they can play a really powerful leadership role there, as well as more conventional things like the state of the world, financial markets, and so on."
Preparatory work well underway for BRICS Summit in Fujian (Подготовка к Саммиту БРИКС в провинции Фуцзянь идет полным ходом) / China, March, 2017
Keywords: China, Summit, Xiamen, International relations
Source: China Daily

The coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province will open its arms to embrace the ninth BRICS Summit to be hosted in the city this September and all preparatory work is progressing in good order, said Liang Jianyong, deputy to the National People's Congress, at the plenary meeting of the Fujian delegation to the NPC on March 6.

Xiamen is a port city for business and trade, as well as a beautiful resort for holiday visits in southeast China. It has always been a hospitable host to visitors from all around. It is now taking steady steps to prepare its urban environment and volunteers for this year's BRICS Summit, an international relations conference attended by national leaders from the five member countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

According to Liang, who is also the Party secretary of Fujian, elements showing Xiamen's unique character and the spirit of the summit are comprised in the logo of the ninth BRICS Summit, which has been published lately, including an unfurled sail, the revolving Earth, and five colors representing the five BRICS countries. Also an official website and a platform for registration have been put into use.

During China's 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), trade between Xiamen and the other four BRICS nations grew by 9.7 percent, Liang stated. And in 2016, which was the starting year of the 13th Five-Year Plan, trade between the entire province of Fujian and the other four BRICS nations reached 67.9 billion yuan ($9.8 billion), two percent up from the previous year.

Inbound and outbound investment and international cooperation projects have been on the rise. Fujian's light industrial products including electronics are exported to the four nations in large amounts. On the other side, their mineral and agricultural products have been gaining market shares in Fujian. Liang expects that the coming BRICS Summit will further accelerate bilateral cooperation between Fujian and the nations.

Meanwhile, Fujian established exchange channels with the nations tied to culture, education, tourism, and more over the years. It has signed sister province relationship pacts with Ceara, in northeast Brazil, and Kwazulu-Natal, in east South Africa. And Xiamen, the host city of the Summit, has forged similar friendly relationships with Vladivostok, in Russia, and Iguassu, a tourism city known for eponymous waterfalls in Brazil.
Investment and finance in BRICS
Moody's revises Brazil's credit rating outlook from negative to stable (Moody's пересмотрел прогноз кредитного рейтинга Бразилии с «негативного» до «стабильного») / Brazil, March, 2017
Keywords: Economy, Brazil, Investments, Moody's

International market sees improvement in the country's economic conditions, which may attract more investments and projects

Foreign investors are now predicting positive improvements to the Brazilian economy. Ratings agency Moody's, which assesses how safe a given destination is for investment, has indicated that it intends to increase Brazil's rating outlook from negative to stable. This could mean more investments, projects and jobs in the country.

The agency explained through a statement that the is the result of improved macroeconomic conditions, and further reported that it expects economic growth to recover in 2017 and inflation to decrease faster than expected in the near future.

That approval by Congress of the reforms submitted by the government has had a fundamental role in this change of outlook. Moody's highlighted that a more positive environment for these changes emerged last year, which also shows that the country's institutions have also improved their effectiveness.

Importance of reforms

"The government has already obtained approval of an important constitutional amendment that limits public spending growth to the variation of the previous year's inflation for the next 20 years," the agency's statement said, adding that "Congress is also debating an equally important pension reform".

Moody's also explained that Brazil's rating may increase if structural reforms lead to stronger growth for the country, for which (still according to the agency) continuity of current policies is a crucial factor.
BRICS and the New Financial Architecture (БРИКС и новая финансовая архитектура) / India, March, 2017
Keywords: New Development Bank, Economics, Trading, financial system
Author: Sunanda Sen

The BRICS summit held in October 2016 suggested the possible use of local currency in intra-BRICS trade to lower costs. This article extends this idea and proposes a scheme for setting up a clearing account in local currencies of the BRICS countries. It contends that such a step will provide avenues for generating additional demand within the region while cushioning the member countries against shocks from exchange rate volatility.

The initiatives taken by the member nations of BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) to set up a new financial architecture at its eighth summit held in October 2016 in India have recently been under the spotlight. In order to avoid the International Monetary Fund (IMF) type of loan conditionalities and tackle the dominance of the United States (US) dollar in global finance, the new institutions set up by the BRICs are expected to provide a much needed change in the global financial architecture. These institutions include the New Development Bank (NDB), the BRICS-led Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF), and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

At the summit, measures outlining the potential of these new institutions were announced. It is not an insignificant achievement that the NDB, which started its operations in July 2015 with an initial authorised capital of $100 billion, has already been disbursing loans, which include $300 million to Brazil, $81 million to China, $250 million to India, and $180 million to South Africa for renewable energy development projects (RT 2016).

On other fronts concerning trade, while the free trade area proposal from China was turned down by the other members of BRICS as they were concerned with their current trade deficits with the country (Hindu 2016), all agreed to reduce the prevailing non-tariff barriers (Mishra 2016). The BRICS nations also agreed to set up an independent credit rating agency "based on market-oriented principles," with the aim to dilute the dominance of the three big US-based rating agencies—S&P, Fitch, and Moody's. Often guided by the political concerns of the US, the ratings of these agencies have often constrained growth in emerging nations (PTI 2016).

The value of exports by the BRICS nations to each other has been rather small at $242.3 billion in 2015 as compared to their global exports to the rest of world, which stood at $3,150.9 billion during the same year (EXIM Bank 2016). Proposals were also made at the Goa Summit to expand intra-BRICS trade to $500 billion by 2020 (Mohan 2016).

A BRICS Clearing Account in Local Currency

An important idea which emerged at the summit was the possible use of local currency in the intra-BRICS trade which, as pointed out, would cut back the costs of trading by 6% or more (Mohan 2016). I consider this proposal of high significance not only for lowering costs but also because it could lead to trade and demand expansion within the member countries.

Extending the idea of the use of local currencies in trade, this article proposes a scheme for setting up a possible clearing account in local currencies of the BRICS countries.1 This, in my view, will provide avenues for generating additional demand within the region while avoiding shocks from exchange rate volatility, especially for member countries like China with its large trade balances in US dollar.

The possibilities of settling payments in local currencies have already been tried by some of the BRICS nations on a limited scale by using bilateral swap deals among themselves. However, the limited scale and the absence of multilateral settlements across the region have often hampered their endeavours to protect themselves from currency market fluctuations. Most of the resultant problems are related to the dependence on the US dollar which is used in most international transactions.

The setting up of a possible clearing account among developing countries has been suggested before. The idea was initially mooted by Keynesat the end of World War II (Keynes 1980). Keynes offered the settlement of US credits by debits held by the United Kingdom (UK), the largest debtor at that time. However, this plan was not acceptable to the reluctant creditor. A similar suggestion has recently been made by Jan Kregel for setting up a global clearing-house or settlement system for trade and payments on current account, with credit generated by surpluses used to buy imports from the countries with debit balances (Kregel 2015).

Kregel draws attention to the possible benefits of the plan for developing countries which are facing problems in meeting deficits in their balance of payments. He says,

From the point of view of the current difficulties facing emerging market economies, the basic advantage of the clearing union schemes is that there is no need for an international reserve currency, no market exchange rates or exchange rate volatility, and no parity to be defended. Notional exchange rates can be adjusted to support development policy, and there is no need to restrict domestic activity to meet foreign claims. Indeed, there is no need for an international lender or bank, since debit balances can be managed within the clearing union.(Kregel 2015)

With BRICS coming up as a forum for articulating the voice of the emerging economies and, at a later stage, of the developing countries at large, a clearing account within the region may turn out to be workable. The scheme as proposed in this article follows what Keynes called the "banking principle," defined as "…necessary equality between credits and debits, of assets and liabilities." As Keynes pointed out, "… if no credits can be removed outside the banking system, but only transferred within it, the bank itself can never be in difficulties"(Keynes 1980).

The framework was based on the notion of a clearing union where "... credits were automatically provided to the debtor countries to spend" (Kregel 2015).

It may be mentioned here that bilateral clearing arrangements provided a way out for some European countries, including Germany, in the inter-war period to settle the external payments problems. In an earlier study, the author discusses the use of the "rupee payments arrangements" between India and the East European countries during the 1960s, which considerably facilitated transactions between the two by opening up new channels of trade and its settlement with additional investments (Sen 1964).

A clearing account system along similar lines, this time in local currencies of the BRICS nations, can be used for inter-country payments within the region. Each country within the group can settle her bilateral trade surpluses and deficits with the other four members without involving the use of non-BRICS currencies (like the US dollar, etc). For example, China's exports to India will be paid for by the latter in rupees, and the renminbi (RMB) will be used by China to pay for imports from India. The net balances (in this case China's trade surplus) will remain in rupees as a credit for China. Thus exports from any of these countries to another BRICS member will be paid for in the local currency of the importing country.

The net balances, comprising a pool of individual local currencies, will remain within the BRICS and be deposited with the NDB. The sum, a pool of individual currencies, can be utilised by the respective creditor nations to import from deficit countries, thus creating more trade within the region. Alternately, the sum can be lent out by the NDB to one or more of the five members, subject to the consent of all members and consistent with the norms specified in the original agreement of the NDB.

To avoid further problems, the prevailing cross exchange rates of currencies for individual countries can be used to settle the two-way transactions in local currencies—for instance, the deficit country paying back the surplus in the local currency of the latter. However, the volatility in exchange rates can be avoided by freezing the prevailing cross rates by having forward contracts. This will protect the intra-BRICS exchange rates from fluctuations in other currencies like the US dollar.

BRICS' Bilateral Trade Balances

To provide a convincing picture of the hypothetical scenario as above, we constructed a matrix of the bilateral trade balances between the individual BRICS members by using the World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) data for 2014. The individual bilateral balances and their aggregates are in US dollars, which, at prevailing rates of local currencies, will form the pool within the BRICS. The pool in local currencies can be used by creditor nations to purchase from other BRICS members. The transactions can be based on the prevailing cross exchange rates vis-à-vis the dollar, which, as mentioned, can be frozen by using forward rate contracts. While we expect that the new system of having a clearing account would generate additional demand for goods as well as investments within the BRICS, it will also restrain China, the major creditor nation within the region, from using her trade surpluses (within the BRICS) to invest in dollar denominated US Treasury bills.

The anomalies in bilateral trade data in Table 1,2 reported on a gross basis, indicate the need to qualify the above by looking at trade data on a value added basis at domestic sources. The problem can be detected in the discrepancy between the bilateral trade balances reported by the respective trade partners. The efforts made by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to draw attention to the issue in their "Made in the World" initiative offer some data that may help to narrow down such discrepancies (Maurer 2011). We are unable, at this stage of our research, to look beyond gross trade data despite their limitations.


The BRICS financial institutions, along with the clearing account proposed in this article, can herald a new financial architecture which has the potential to be beneficial not just for BRICS but for global financial system at large. Of these benefits, five important ones are outlined.

First, since those settlements will no longer rely on the dollar or other major currencies as unit of transactions, the exchange rate fluctuations across major currencies will not impact the cross rates between the individual BRICS currencies as long as these are kept frozen with forward contracts renewed over time.

Second, arrangements to use the bilateral trade surpluses within the BRICS by those with trade deficits would generate additional demand within the member nations by creating new channels for intra-BRICS trade. Hopefully, this will stimulate the real economy in terms of output and employment.

Third, the transfer of surpluses to meet deficits can even be treated as a loan, to be adjusted by other transactions of the NDB.

Fourth, trade surpluses earned by individual members (say China) will remain within the BRICS as investment and will not be used as assets in US dollar, avoiding sources of vulnerability.

Finally, BRICS may devise ways and means to channelise capital flows in a manner which strengthens its institutions and generates real demand, say with infrastructures via the newly formed AIIB, rather than be used in activities of a speculative nature.


1 I used an earlier version of this proposal in a discussion paper of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries which was presented at the BRICS Academic Forum held in October 2016 at Goa. See Sunanda Sen (2016).

2 Data collected by Zico Dasgupta for this table is gratefully acknowledged.
Guangdong reports robust foreign trade growth (Гуандун сообщает о росте внешней торговли) / China, March, 2017
Keywords: Economy, China, Foreign trade, One Belt One Road
Source: China Daily

GUANGZHOU - Foreign trade volume in South China's Guangdong province increased by 11.4 percent year on year in the first two months of 2016, local authorities said Tuesday.

Trade volume hit 878 billion yuan ($127 billion) in January and February, with exports up 7.5 percent to 544.4 billion yuan and imports up 18.5 percent to about 333.5 billion yuan, according to figures released by Guangdong sub-administration of China Customs.

General trade rose 12.9 percent to 400.4 billion yuan during the reporting period, while processing trade was up 3.4 percent to 311 billion yuan. Cross-border e-commerce hit 3.04 billion yuan in the two months for year-on-year growth of 22.5 percent.

ASEAN, the United States, the European Union, the Republic of Korea, Japan and China's Taiwan region were Guangdong's major trade partners, seeing growth of 19.2 percent, 7 percent, 9.1 percent, 20.8 percent, 13.8 percent and 14.7 percent respectively.

Trade with countries along the Belt and Road route grew 19.1 percent to nearly 200 billion yuan, while trade with the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa rose 48.2 percent, 27.2 percent, 41.6 percent and 6.3 percent respectively during the period.

Analysts attribute the growth to rising global demand and higher commodities prices.
Industry representatives forecast a positive 2017 for Brazil (Представители промышленности прогнозируют, что 2017 сложится положительно для Бразилии) / Brazil, March, 2017
Keywords: Brazil, Economy, Investments, Transport, SESI National Council

For João Henrique de Almeida Sousa, president of the SESI National Council, measures taken by the federal government will lead to the resumption of economic growth

With Brazil leaving the economic crisis behind and looking at a resumption of growth, industry representatives believe the country has "extremely positive" prospects for 2017. Many of them have praised the measures taken by the federal government to help the country grow again during a meeting with President Michel Temer.

This Tuesday (14 March), Temer hosted a meeting at the Presidential Palace with several industry representatives to discuss infrastructure, economic measures and local demands of different stakeholders. The meeting was attended by the President of the National Council of the Industry Social Services (SESI), João Henrique de Almeida Sousa, the President of the National Confederation of Industry (CNI), Roberto Braga de Andrade, and heads of state-level industry federations.

The industry representatives see measures such as labour and pension reforms as essential to the resumption of growth. "The measures President Michel Temer has been taking throughout his administration will certainly yield very positive results for our industry, and consequently to Brazil," said the SESI president.

This is the fifth of several meetings between Temer and state-level businesspeople. For this one, four states were represented: Rondônia, Roraima, Mato Grosso and Tocantins. In an interview to Portal, Planalto, Sousa said that two other meetings will be held, after which businesspeople from all over the country will have had the chance to provide input to the president.


Another topic discussed at the meeting was the current situation of Brazilian highways, which are crucial for the transportation of industry output countrywide. "The businesspeople [coming to the meetings] can highlight state-level infrastructure issues that need to be addressed in order to foster development," he said.

"These meetings have been very productive. They are a good opportunity for businesspeople, who can hear directly from the President of the Republic what he is doing for Brazil," said the president of SESI. He mentioned that the meeting participants also discussed issues related to land title regularisation in the country.
China: Property sales, data shows sturdy economy (Данные о продаже недвижимости в Китае указывают на здоровую экономику) / China, March, 2017
Keywords: China, Economics, NBS, Investments
Source: The BRICS Post

Goldman Sachs chief China strategist Kinger Lau has told Chinese media that the flow of investment fund from China to Hong Kong will jump by nearly 70 per cent in 2017 from last year.

The flow of investment funds from the mainland has already reached $8 billion in the first two months of 2017 but is expected to hit $54 billion.

The amount invested in two cross-border stock links last year was $32 billion.

The announcement comes as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the Chinese economy got a shot in the arm in the first two months of the year thanks to a rise in property sales in late 2016.

It said commercial property sales spiked 26 per cent.

The NBS also said that industrial output for the same period jumped 6.3 per cent year on year.

This follows a February report from China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) that exports in January surged 7.9 per cent year on year.

GAC said this was the highest rate in two years; it also beat forecasts and suggests the economy may be steadily back on track.

The preliminary figures mark a reversal of December's downward trend when the GAC reported that exports had fallen 6.1 per cent.
Industry falls in five of the 14 places surveyed in January (Промышленность упала в 5 местах из 14 изученных в январе) / Brazil, March, 2017
Keywords: Brazil, Economy, Industry research

The reduced pace of the national industrial output between December 2016 and January 2017 occurred in five out of the 14 places surveyed in the seasonally-adjusted series.

The drop was greater in Bahia (-4.3%), Ceará (-3.4%) and Rio Grande do Sul (-3.1%), places that recorded positive rates in the previous month: 1.6%, 11.6% and 6.2%, respectively. The Northeast Region (-1.8%) and Paraná (-0.8%) close the set of places with output decline this month.

Espírito Santo (4.1%), Pará (2.4%), Goiás (2.4%) and Pernambuco (2.1%) registered the positive results this month, with the first state recording the third month in a row with output growth and registering in the period a 10.4% gain; the second state offset part of the 0.2% loss seen in December last year; the third state accumulated expansion of 7.2% in the last two months and the last one increased the pace over the previous month (0.9%). The other positive rates were reported by São Paulo (1.0%), Minas Gerais (0.7%), Santa Catarina (0.6%), Amazonas (0.5%) and Rio de Janeiro (0.3%).

Click here to access the complete publication of the survey.

Still concerning the seasonally adjusted series, the evolution of the quarterly moving average index for the overall industry pointed to an increase of 0.9% in the quarter ended in January 2017 against the level of the previous month, intensifying the positive result seen in December last year (0.5%), when it interrupted the downward trend started in July 2016. In regional terms, still in relation to the movement of this index on margin, seven places recorded positive rates. The sharpest ones occurred in Espírito Santo (3.4%), Minas Gerais (3.1%), Pará (3.1%), Ceará (1.7%) and Santa Catarina (1.4%). Bahia (-1.6%), Northeast Region (-0.8%) and Pernambuco (-0.6%) registered the main drops.

In relation to January 2016, industry grows in 12 out of 15 places surveyed

In the comparison with the same month of the previous year, the industrial sector expanded 1.4% in January of 2017, with 12 of the 15 places surveyed pointing to positive results. January 2017 (22 days) had two more working days than the same month in the previous year (20).

This month, Pernambuco (14.1%), Espírito Santo (13.4%) and Mato Grosso (13.3%) recorded the sharpest increases, leveraged by the output growth in the sectors of food products (sugarcane refined sugar, VHP and crystallized sugar, margarine, cookies and crackers, cured chicken and related products, vegetable oil and dry pasta), in the first place; basic metals (iron and steel hoses and drawn tubes and carbon steel hot-rolled coil) and mining and quarrying industries (Crude petroleum oil, iron ores and natural gas), in the second; and of food products (cake, bagasse, crumbs and other residue of soybean oil extraction and crude soybean oil), in the last one.

Goiás (8.5%), Pará (8.2%), Amazonas (7.5%), Santa Catarina (5.6%), Minas Gerais (4.8%), Rio de Janeiro (4.6%) and Paraná (4.1%) also recorded positive rates above the industry average this month (1.4%), whereas São Paulo (1.2%) and Ceará (0.4%) close the set of places with output increase this month.

Bahia (-15.5%) had the sharpest drop in January 2017, pressed by a negative behavior from the sectors of coke, petroleum products and biofuels (diesel fuel, fuel oil fuels and naphthas for petrochemical purposes), motor vehicles, trailers and bodies (automobiles), basic metals (cooper and cooper alloy bars, profiles, rebars) and mining and quarrying industries (copper ore, natural gas and in crude petroleum oil). The other negative figures were posted in Rio Grande do Sul (-4.1%) and in the Northeast Region (-2.9%).

In the cumulative index in 12 months, industry declined in 14 of 15 places

Having declined 5.4% in January 2017 for the overall of the national industry, the annualized rate - cumulative indicator in the last 12 months - kept the downward trend started in June 2016 (-9.7%). In regional terms, 14 out of the 15 places surveyed recorded negative rates in January 2017, but 12 showed greater dynamism against the index of last December.

The main pace increases between December 2016 and January 2017 were recorded by Pernambuco (-9.4% to -5.5%), Amazonas (-10.9% to -7.8%), Espírito Santo (-18.8% to -16.1%), Minas Gerais (-6.2% to -4.5%), Santa Catarina (-3.3% to -2.0%), São Paulo (-5.5% to -4.2%), Paraná (-4.4% to -3.2%) and Goiás (-5.2% to -4.2%), whereas Bahia (-5.2% to -7.2%) had the greatest decrease between the two periods.
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Federal government raises R $ 3.7 billion with auction of four airports (Правительство Бразилии заработало 3,7 млрд реалов с продажи 4 аэропортов на аукционе) / Brazil, March, 2017
Keywords: Brazil, Economy, Investments, Transport

Winning bidders expected to invest R$ 6.6 billion in projects to improve services in Fortaleza, Salvador, Florianópolis and Porto Alegre

The federal government raised R$ 3.72 billion with the concession of four Brazilian airports this Thursday (16). The result was better than initial estimates of R$ 3.014 billion, which means a 23% premium for the actual amounts.

The four airports involved, namely those of Fortaleza (state of Ceará), Salvador (Bahia), Florianópolis (Santa Catarina) and Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul), will now be operated by private enterprise. The expectation is that the winning bidders will invest R$ 6.6 billion to improve services. Projects planned include extensions of passenger terminals, aircraft aprons and landing and takeoff strips, as well as increases in the number of boarding bridges and car park availability.

Data from the Ministry of Transport, Ports and Civil Aviation shows that the four airports account for 11.6% of all passenger flow in Brazil, as well as 12.6% of cargo and 8.6% of all aircraft.

German company Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services won the auctions to operate both the Fortaleza and Porto Alegre airports. The Salvador auction was won by French operator Vinci Airports, and the Florianópolis airport will be operated by Zurich Airport AG (Switzerland).

How the auctions work

As determined in the bid notice, the four airports were auctioned simultaneously. The winner was the company which offered the highest signing bonus (or "initial fixed contribution", i.e. the minimum auction amount allowed plus the premium offered). The amounts will be paid upon execution of the concession contracts.
How China is tearing down walls of protectionism (Как Китай разрушает стены протекционизма) / China, March, 2017
Keywords: China, Domestic Policy, Economics

The American election provided the world a sudden shake-up. And, as the dust settles, the fortitude of recently established global alliances and newly laid foundations for economic opportunities are emerging.

Take China, for example.

The country is not known for having an open, easily accessible market. State-owned companies are traditionally protectionist, and foreign businesses in China are routinely up against restrictive government policies that prevent market access.

However, in this new global reality, China has been making bold moves to modify domestic policies. The country has been ushering in a new era of market accessibility while strengthening ties with developing countries around the world. Simultaneously, global issues like climate change are in need of leaders whose priorities are focused on solutions. Taken together, opportunities abound for China, so long as the country continues to embrace, and invest in, change.

Straddling the line

China is in a unique position, straddling the line between developed and developing countries. Membership in BRICS, for example, demonstrates mutually advantageous ties with Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa. Namely, that the countries have entered an arena with common goals like technological innovation, financial integration, tariff reductions and an easier exchange of people and ideas.

BRICS, now entering its second decade, shows how new alliances are unbound by old or outdated approaches to information and investment, and that innovation is the proverbial dangling carrot. The New Development Bank, established by BRICS, approved loans worth US$1.5 bn last year. The money mainly went to finance clean energy and infrastructure developments in BRICS member countries.

China knows that it is an important partnership in which to invest. The BRICS' share of the world economy grew from 8.2% in 2002 to 22.2% in 2015. The countries' allegiances show that moving forward together will create mutually beneficial economic opportunities. This leaves little room for outdated bickering and stable economic policy.

What's old is new again

China isn't stopping there. The country continues to open up new trade routes and partnerships around the world. Another example taking place is reestablishing the 2,000 year old Silk Road route connecting Beijing and London.

Trains replace horses and the 18-day journey makes many stops along the way. The route traverses through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium, France before terminating in the UK.

The passage deepens China's commercial connections to these countries while providing opportunities for an increasingly important part of the world. Diversifying from quick, expensive air and affordable, slow ocean cargo options mean more opportunity for non-time-sensitive exports, while countries like Kazakhstan can take advantage of the access.

And let's not forget about Africa. China has established the China-Africa Development (CAD) Fund in order to invest in infrastructure projects across the continent. As of 2016, the CAD, managed by China Development Bank, has invested US$4bn in 88 projects across 37 African countries.

The aim of the CAD is diversification. Ventures have ranged across a variety of industries like infrastructure, manufacturing, energy and mineral resources. Economic growth has long been slow in the region, but the more roads paved, the more connected African countries are to each other and the global market, the sooner it will accelerate. And China is well positioned to share in future prosperity.

The new way forward

China seems committed to loosening its protectionist agenda. Isolation is no longer the best way forward, and China is recognizing this with new relationships that build upon the potential of ready-to-emerge markets. The country is also ushering a more relaxed approach for consumers at home, with ecommerce sectors enjoying fewer cross-border restrictions, making it easier to meet China's demand for hard to source items, such as live lobster.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the World Economic Forum earlier this year, his focus was on global partnerships, especially in the face of climate change. That China is emerging a leader on that issue, while the US' authority is receding, demonstrates just how quickly shifts can happen. Especially when countries are focused on the future and not the past.

What's clear in these uncertain times is that countries cannot survive, or at least thrive, on their own. And with the distractions and uncertainty that dominate the American landscape, countries like China are uninterested in getting involved. Instead, they are demonstrably moving on, quite possibly relieved for the breathing room. The burden of American hegemony is loosening as the country is caught up in its own unraveling while other countries are moving quickly to reposition.

China will no doubt keep a very close eye on the U.S. But with developing countries taking giant leaps forward in education and innovation, investment opportunities abound. China is simultaneously reconfiguring its own traditionally protectionist market while emerging as a leader and friend to countries ready to make gains in the global economy.
National Economy Registered a Steady Performance with Good Growth Momentum in the First Two Months (Экономика Китая отмечает устойчивую динамику с хорошими темпами роста в первые два месяца) / China, March, 2017
Keywords: China, Domestic Policy, Economics, Statistics

In the first two months, under the correct guidance and arrangement of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, and with concerted efforts of Chinese people, main indicators of the Chinese economy registered positive changes and economic performance kept improving. The overall economy sustained steady performance and good growth momentum from the second half of last year.

1. Industrial Production Accelerated with Continued Structural Optimization.

In the first two months, the total value added of the industrial enterprises above designated size was up by 6.3 percent year-on-year at comparable prices, 0.3 percentage point higher than that in December last year, or 0.9 percentage point higher than that in the same period of last year. An analysis by types of ownership showed that the value added of state holding enterprises went up by 5.4 percent; collective enterprises down by 0.1 percent; share-holding enterprises up by 6.2 percent; and enterprises funded by foreign investors or investors from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan up by 6.8 percent. The value added of mining industry was down by 3.6 percent year-on-year; manufacturing up by 6.9 percent and production and supply of electricity, heat, gas and water up by 8.4 percent. The industrial structure continued to improve. The value added of high-tech industry and equipment manufacturing industry grew by 12.6 percent and 11.9 percent respectively, 6.3 percentage points and 5.6 percentage points higher than that of the industrial enterprises above designated size. The sales ratio of industrial enterprises above designated size was 97.6 percent. In February, the total value added of the industrial enterprises above designated size was up by 0.6 percent month-on-month.

2. Services sector Grew at a Relatively Fast Pace and Continued to Stay within the Relatively Prosperous Range.

In the first two months, the Index of Services Production increased by 8.2 percent year-on-year, 0.1 percentage point higher than that of December last year and that in the same period of last year. Information transmission, software and information technology services, and transport, storage and postal services delivered a strong performance. In February, business activity index for services stood at 53.2 percent, 0.3 percentage point lower than that of last month and 1.0 percentage point higher than that in the same month of last year, still above the threshold value of 50 percent. Specifically, the business activity index for sectors such as railway transport, telecommunications, broadcast, television and satellite transmission services, internet and software information technology services, monetary and financial services and insurance continued to stay within the relatively prosperous range of over 55.0 percent.

3. Investment in Fixed Assets Witnessed Steady Growth and Private Investment Growth Accelerated.

In the first two months, the total investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) was 4,137.8 billion yuan, a year-on-year growth of 8.9 percent, or 0.8 percentage point faster than that of last year. Of the total, the investment by state holding enterprises reached 1,466.2 billion yuan, an increase of 14.4 percent; private investment reached 2,497.7 billion yuan, up by 6.7 percent, or 3.5 percentage points higher than that of last year, registering the highest rate since March last year, accounting for 60.4 percent of the total investment. The investment in the primary industry reached 88.6 billion yuan, up by 19.1 percent year-on-year; that in the secondary industry was 1,449.6 billion yuan, up by 2.9 percent, of which, that in manufacturing was 1,216.0 billion yuan, up by 4.3 percent; the investment in the tertiary industry was 2,599.6 billion yuan, up by 12.2 percent, of which, that in infrastructure was 831.5 billion yuan, up by 27.3 percent. The investment in the high-tech industry grew by 18.4 percent year-on-year, or 9.5 percentage points higher than the growth rate of total investment. The investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) in February witnessed a month-on-month growth rate of 0.77 percent. Under the impact of factors such as fund matching and preparatory work at the initial stage, funds in place for investment were 5,457.5 billion yuan in the first two months, down by 8.0 percent year-on-year. The total planned investment in newly-started projects was 2,013.0 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 8.3 percent.

4. The Growth of Investment in Real Estate Development Accelerated and the Growth of Land Space Purchased Turned from Negative to Positive.

In the first two months, the total investment in real estate development was 985.4 billion yuan, up by 8.9 percent year-on-year, which was 2.0 percentage points higher than that of last year, or 5.9 percentage points higher over that in the same period of last year. Of the total, the investment in residential buildings went up by 9.0 percent. Floor space of houses newly started was 172.38 million square meters, up by 10.4 percent year-on-year. Specifically, the floor space of residential buildings newly started increased by 14.8 percent. The floor space of commercial buildings sold reached 140.54 million square meters, up by 25.1 percent year-on-year. Of this total, that of residential buildings went up by 23.7 percent. The sales of commercial buildings amounted 1,080.6 billion yuan, up by 26.0 percent year-on-year. Of this total, the sales of residential buildings grew by 22.7 percent. The land space purchased by real estate development enterprises was 23.74 million square meters, up by 6.2 percent year-on-year, while that of last year dropped by 3.4 percent. At the end of February, the floor space of commercial buildings for sale was 705.55 million square meters, down by 4.6 percent compared with that in the same period of last year. The funds in place for real estate development enterprises in the first two months reached 2,288.0 billion yuan, up by 7.0 percent year-on-year. In January, of the 15 first-tier and major second-tier cities, 11 cities witnessed a month-on-month drop in prices for newly built commercial housings, 3 cities maintained the same level and 1 city witnessed a decline of the growth rate. As destocking efforts were strengthened in third and fourth-tier cities, the floor space of commercial buildings sold in non-key cities in the first two months increased by 35.9 percent year-on-year, or 14.0 percentage points higher than that of last year.

5. Market Sales Were Stable with Upgraded Consumer Goods and Online Retail Sales Maintaining a Relatively Fast Growth.

In the first two months, the total retail sales of consumer goods reached 5,796.0 billion yuan, a nominal year-on-year increase of 9.5 percent (a real growth of 8.1 percent after deducting price factors), which was 1.4 percentage point lower than December last year or 0.7 percentage point lower than that in the same period of the previous year. Analyzed by different areas, the retail sales in urban areas reached 4,945.8 billion yuan, up by 9.2 percent, and those in rural areas amounted 850.2 billion yuan, up by 11.8 percent. Grouped by consumption patterns, the total income of catering industry was 625.1 billion yuan, up by 10.6 percent year-on-year; and retail sales of goods were 5,170.8 billion yuan, up by 9.4 percent. In particular, the retail sales of units above designated size reached 2,318.6 billion yuan, up by 6.8 percent. Upgraded consumer goods showed good momentum of growth. The retail sales of sports and recreational articles went up by 19.5 percent, cultural goods and office supplies grew by 13.4 percent, and communication equipments increased by 10.7 percent. Automobile sales went down by 1.0 percent due to the high base figures of last year. In the first two months, the total retail sales of consumer goods maintained the same rate of growth as that in the same period of last year after excluding automobile sales. In February, the total retail sales of consumer goods went up by 0.95 percent month-on-month.

In the first two months, the online retail sales reached 858.0 billion yuan, up by 31.9 percent year-on-year, 5.7 percentage points higher than that of last year. Of the total, the retail sales of physical goods were 641.9 billion yuan, an increase of 25.5 percent, accounting for 11.1 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods, or 1.6 percentage points higher than that in the same period of last year.

6. Consumer Price Rises Declined While Producer Prices for Industrial Products Rises Expanded.

In the first two months, the consumer price went up by 1.7 percent year-on-year, which was 0.3 percentage point lower than that of last year and that in the same period of last year. Grouped by categories, prices for food, tobacco and liquor maintained the same level; clothing up by 1.1 percent; housing went up by 2.4 percent; articles and services for daily use grew by 0.5 percent; transportation and communication increased by 2.0 percent; education, culture and recreation grew by 2.6 percent; health care up by 5.0 percent; and other articles and services grew by 3.9 percent. In terms of food, tobacco and liquor prices, that for grain grew by 1.2 percent, pork up by 2.9 percent and fresh vegetables down by 14.0 percent. Specifically, in January, the consumer price went up by 2.5 percent year-on-year or up by 1.0 percent month-on-month; in February, the consumer price went up by 0.8 percent year-on-year, 1.7 percentage points lower than January or down by 0.2 percent month-on-month.

In the first two months, the producer prices for industrial products grew by 7.3 percent year-on-year, down by 1.4 percent and 5.1 percent compared with that of the last year and the same period of last year respectively. Specifically, in January, the producer prices for industrial products increased by 6.9 percent year-on-year, or up by 0.8 percent month-on-month; in February, the producer prices for industrial products increased by 7.8 percent year-on-year, 0.9 percentage point higher than January or up by 0.6 percent month-on-month. In the first two months, the purchasing prices for industrial producers increased by 9.1 percent year-on-year.

7. Imports and Exports Grew Rapidly and the Export of Mechanical and Electrical Products Enjoyed a Relatively Fast Growth.

The total value of imports and exports in the first two months was 3,890.0 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 20.6 percent, or 15.7 percentage points higher than December of last year. The total value of exports was 2,091.8 billion yuan, up by 11.0 percent; and that of imports was 1,798.2 billion yuan, up by 34.2 percent. The trade surplus was 293.7 billion yuan. The export of mechanical and electrical products increased by 13.8 percent, 12.9 percentage points higher than that of December last year, accounting for 58.4 percent of the total value of exports. In the first two months, the export delivery value of the industrial enterprises above designated size reached 1,701.9 billion yuan, up by 8.8 percent year-on-year, or 4.9 percentage points higher than December last year.

As a whole, the national economy in the first two months has sustained steady performance and good growth momentum from the second half of last year, with accumulative positive changes and continuously improved performance, which laid a sound foundation for advancing the economic and social development goals of this year. Meanwhile, we should be aware that international context is still complicated with a number of unstable and uncertain factors, the task of domestic reform and development remains daunting and internal driving forces still need to be strengthened. At the next stage, we should rally even closer around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, put into practice the guiding principles of the Central Economic Work Conference and the major decisions and plans of the report on the work of government, stay committed to the underlying principle of making progress while maintaining stability, adhere to the new development philosophy, focus on supply-side structural reform, expand aggregate demand as appropriate, do better in guiding expectations, strengthen the role of innovation in driving development so as to consolidate the stable development of national economy with good momentum.


1. The growth rate of value added of industrial enterprises above designated size and its sub-items are real growth at comparable prices. The growth rates of other indicators are nominal growth at current prices, unless otherwise specified.

2. Industrial enterprises above designated size are industrial enterprises with annual revenue from primary activities over 20 million yuan.

3. To reflect timely the monthly performance of economic activities in services sector, the National Bureau of Statistics of China compiled the Index of Services Production, which will be disseminated from March 2017. The Index of Services Production reflects the output changes between reporting period and base period after excluding price factors.

4. Units above designated size in total retail sales of consumer goods include wholesale enterprises, retail enterprises and lodging and catering enterprises with annual revenue from primary activities over 20 million yuan, 5 million yuan and 2 million yuan respectively.

The online retail sales refer to the retail sales of goods and services realized through internet trading platforms (including self-built websites and third-party platforms). Goods and services include physical goods and non-physical goods (e.g. virtual goods, services).

The total retail sales of consumer goods include the online retail sales of physical goods, and exclude that of non-physical goods.

5. Data of imports and exports are from the General Administration of Customs.

6. Due to the rounding-off reasons, the subentries may not add up to the aggregate totals.
Brazil draws up climate strategy (Бразилия разрабатывает стратегию по климату) / Brazil, March, 2017
Keywords: Paris Agreement, Brazil, Climate, Domestic Policy

Government and civil society begin dialogue on how to achieve the emission cut targets committed to under the Paris Agreement

Brazilian society has been officially called upon to help the country meet the targets committed to under the Paris Agreement on climate change. Environment Minister Sarney Filho has officially announced the opening of the so-called "structural dialogues" with stakeholders involved in the challenge of curbing increases in global average temperatures. Social engagement is part of the commitment announced by Sarney Filho during last year's Climate Summit in Marrakech.

The goal is to include every sector, from industry to agriculture, in the debate that will define the measures Brazil will take to cut emissions and consequently, mitigate global warming. The expectation is that the dialogues will lead to consolidated proposals by October, which will then be considered during the preparation of the National Strategy for Implementation and Financing of Brazil's Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement. Other stakeholders also have until 30 June to send their contributions for the final document to be drafted.

National effort

Brazil's contribution targets are considered to be one of the most significant worldwide, precisely because they involve the whole of the country's economy. "With our national efforts, we will show that the Paris Agreement is viable, and that the process of combating climate change is irreversible," said the Minister. Sarney Filho added that social engagement will be essential to maintain Brazil's leadership in the climate agenda. "We have reached a point of no return," he said.

Measures targeting the land use sector were highlighted as advances for the country. José Santo Campari, an adviser at the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply who represented Minister Blairo Maggi at the official event held to launch the structural dialogues, mentioned his Ministry's Low-Carbon Agriculture (or the ABC Plan, as it is known in Portuguese) as an example of an initiative that defines sustainable actions for the sector. "We already have the roadmap," he assessed. "Brazil is, today, in a position of consensus building."


The dialogues are being coordinated by the Brazilian Climate Change Forum (FBMC), with each meeting focusing on one of its Thematic Chambers. The first one will be centered around Forests, Biodiversity, Agriculture and Livestock, sectors in which Brazil has reached its best results in combating global warming. "These are the sectors in which Brazil has already managed to cut emissions more intensely, and for which we can do even more," explained the FBMC Deputy Chairperson, Alfredo Sirkir.

The FBMC designed the programme of dialogues to encompass all necessary topics. Other meetings will be held throughout the year to discuss themes such as energy generation, mobility and transport, industry and cities, waste, financing, national defence and technology and innovation.

Amazon region residents will also be a point of highlight. Defined as a priority for Minister Filho, traditional populations are guaranteed to have a place in the process . During the meeting, the president of the Rio Negro Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS) Resident Association, Sebastião Mendonça, highlighted the role of extractivist populations on keeping our forests standing. "We must build a path that values social organisation," he defended.

Learn More

The Nationally Defined Contributions are the targets each country pledged to achieve as a result of their efforts to combat climate change under the Paris Agreement. The global effort is aimed at keeping average global temperature increases below 2 ºC compared with pre-industrial levels and ensure efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 ºC.

Considered one of the most ambitious, the Brazilian target is to reduce carbon emissions by 37% by 2025, with an indicative target of cutting emissions by 43% by 2030 - both compared to 2005 levels. For that end, the country is proposing (among other measures) to restore and reforest 12 million hectares of forestland and achieve an estimated share of 45% of renewables in its energy mix.
Agriculture Ministry launches initiative to reduce livestock emissions (Министерство сельского хозяйства Бразилии запускает инициативу по сокращению отходов от животноводства) / Brazil, March, 2017
Keywords: Brazil, Sustainable Production, Agriculture, Livestock

Initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply follows international commitments undertaken by Brazil to reduce carbon emissions

This month, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) launched a project called "Low Carbon Livestock: generating value in intensive meat and milk production." The initiative is part of Brazil's Low Carbon Agriculture Plan (ABC Plan in the Portuguese acronym), which aims to organise and plan sustainable production technologies.

The action follows international commitments undertaken by Brazil to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in the agricultural sector. The idea is to disseminate technologies that not only reduce emissions, but also encourage waste recycling and a more effective management of natural resources, generating income for thousands of producers.

MAPA's new initiative is based on the "Low Carbon Swine Breeding" project, launched last year, which increased credit lines available to treat waste from swine breeding by 100%. The new initiative is a partnership with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), and aims to increase the availability of credit for investments that can reduce the environmental impacts caused by agricultural activity.

Federal agriculture inspector Sidney Medeiros stated that the project has yielded good results for the ABC programme: "The volume of investments obtained through the credit line went from R$ 12.7 million (between 2010 and early 2015) to R$ 25.6 million in just 18 months, not to mention the deployment, maintenance and improvement of waste treatment technologies that can generate biofertilizers, biogas and electricity.

Brazilian herds

Brazil has the largest bovine herd in the world, with 214 million heads, and exported the equivalent of US$ 5.9 billion in the segment in 2015. The country is the world's second largest meat producer, according to a survey by the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA), injecting R$ 167.5 billion in the economy per year and employing approximately 7 million people.

The priority given by the credit line to beef and milk cattle breeding - the latter one of the most important segments of Brazil's agribusiness, producing over 35 billion litres per year - is aimed at meeting the demands of the consumer market, the importance of the activity for income generation and employment, and the pollution potential of livestock activity.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
GHRC orders probe into 'scam' in food supply to cops at BRICS summit (Комиссия по правам человека Гоа запросила расследование по делу мошенничества с питанием, предоставленным полицейским на Саммите БРИКС) / India, March, 2017
Keywords: Food scam, Summit, India, World of Work

Panaji: The Goa Human Rights Commission today directed state government to conduct a thorough probe into allegations of scam in supply of "substandard" food to on duty police personnel during the BRICS summit here last year. The two-member commission, headed by retired district court judge A D Salkar, asked the state Chief Secretary to also fix a responsibility on the officers concerned in this regard.

"Going through the reply filed by the state chief secretary, it is apparent that he has not conducted any independent inquiry. "We therefore direct the chief secretary to conduct a thorough investigation independently and fix responsibility on the defaulting officers," the GHRC stated in a order. The order was passed in response to a complaint filed by social activist Aires Rodrigues.

He had alleged that a sum of Rs 51,60,000 was given to a private contractor for supply of food to police personnel, but the contract was sub-let to another contractor who secretly prepared food in an open place owned by the police department, next to the Verna church cemetery.

Directing the Chief Secretary to submit his detailed report within 30 days, the GHRC has adjourned the hearing to April 18. In his complaint, the activist alleged that roadside labourers were engaged in for cooking the substandard food in most unhygienic conditions. Rodrigues claimed that insects and cockroaches found their way in the food served to the policemen, as the place where the food was cooked was surrounded by thick bushes and grass.
India's Bajirao Mastani swept Rapid Lion Awards with 6 wins (Индийский фильм "Баджирао Мастани" одержал полную победу Rapid Lion Awards с 6 наградами) / South Africa, March, 2017
Keywords: South Africa, culture, films, World of Work

Bajirao Mastani, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali took the spotlight at the recent Rapid Lion 2017 Awards which formed part of the South African International Film Festival held in Johannesburg's Market Theatre.

The film festival which ran from March 5 to the 12th attracted about 140 films from 40 countries.

Rapid Lion was supported by S.A. Tourism, Brand South Africa, Gauteng Film Commission and the Department of Arts and Culture to host the South African International Film Festival.

During the festival, Rapid Lion hosted its awards ceremonyl where Bajirao Mastani scooped most of the awards.

The movie won Best BRICS award, Best Film Overall, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Directing and one of its leading star, Deepika Padukone won Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Best Student Film winner was Never a Next Train, a film produced by University of Cape Town students.

Other winners include:

Best International Short: The Call (South Africa)

Music (Original Song): Barry Gibb for Angels – Shepherds and Butchers (South Africa)

Best Actor in a Leading Role: David Oyelowo – A United Kingdom (United Kingdom)

Best Original Screenplay: Noem My Skollie (South Africa)

Best Humanitarian film: I Am Congo (Gabon/Ecuador)

Best Documentary Feature: In the Shadow of the Hill (Brazil/Australia)

Best of South Africa: Noem My Skollie (South Africa)

Best of Africa and the Africa Diaspora: A United Kingdom (UK)
Submit report on BRICS food scam in 30 days (Предоставить отчет по мошенничеству с питанием на Саммите БРИКС в течение 30 дней) / India, March, 2017
Keywords: India, World of Work, Food scam, Summit
Source: The Hindu

Panaji: The Goa State Human Rights Commission (GSHRC) directed the Goa Chief Secretary on Wednesday to conduct an independent investigation and fix responsibility on the defaulting officers in the alleged ₹51 lakh food scam at the BRICS summit last year.

Activist and lawyer Aires Rodrigues, in his complaint to the GSHRC, had submitted that the contract of food supply to police personnel posted at the summit was given to a local caterer, but was sub-let to another contractor who clandestinely prepared the substandard food in an open place in Verna, South Goa.

The complaint said that road side labourers were engaged for cooking the food and insects were also found in it.

The GSHRC directed the Chief Secretary to submit a detailed report within 30 days. It also noted that the Chief Secretary had not conducted an independent inquiry as directed by the commission on October 18 last year.

The GSHRC also said the reply filed by the Chief Secretary was a mere replica of the inquiry report submitted by the Director General of Police to the State Home Department.

The commission has directed the government not to make any payment to the food contractors till the probe is completed.

The hearing was adjourned to April 18.
After 22 months of decline, Brazil creates jobs again (После 22 месяцев спада Бразилия снова создает рабочие места) / Brazil, March, 2017
Keywords: Employment, Economy, Brazil, World of Work

Difference between layoffs and admissions led to a positive balance of 35,612 new jobs in February. São Paulo was the highlight

After 22 months of decline, Brazil began creating jobs again. Numbers from the General Register of Employed and Unemployed Workers (Caged) released this Thursday (16 March) show that the country created 35,612 new jobs in February.

The result was also the highest since February 2014, when 260,000 jobs were generated in Brazil. Most of the major job market segments observed in the survey by the Ministry of Labour added more jobs than lost in the period.

The month's best performance was by the services sector, which created 50,613 new jobs, with public administration in second with 8,280 new positions. The list follows with agriculture (+6201), industry (+3949) and industrial services of public utility (+1108). On the other end, mining, construction and trade shed jobs last month.

President Michel Temer celebrated the results. "You already knew that the Brazilian economy is growing again, and the signs of this fact are becoming clearer every day. In February, the number of new formal jobs is 35,612. It is a start, after 22 months of negative numbers," he said.

Among Brazilian states, 14 saw positive job numbers while the other 13 are still in the red. The state that created the most jobs were São Paulo (25,412), Santa Catarina (14,858) and Rio Grande do Sul (10,602).
Comprehensive reports, BRICS research materials
Smart cities movement in BRICS (Ритм умных городов в БРИКС) / India, March, 2017
Keywords: Economics, Society, Urbanization
Author: Rumi Aijaz
Source: ORF

Urbanisation creates as many opportunities for societies as it does a gamut of challenges. Globally, more and more nations are pondering the concept of a 'smart city,' and examining the suitability of applying so-called smart solutions to the multifaceted problems of cities. This publication documents the experiences of BRICS countries with specific methodologies and reform measures they have employed to make their cities smart and liveable. The papers cover a wide range of subjects, including policy and governance, research methods, financial resources, people's participation, public safety, public services, and environmental sustainability. BRICS nations are home to nearly 40 percent of the world's urban population. Timely interventions based on knowledge shared will be instrumental in achieving this ambitious goal of making cities smart.
Open Access to Scientific Information in Emerging Countries (Открытый доступ к научной информации в развивающихся странах) / France, March, 2017
Keywords: Research, Science
Author: Joachim Schöpfel

Access to information plays a critical role in supporting development. Open access to scientific information is one solution. Up to now, the open access movement has been most successful in the Western hemisphere. The demand for open access is great in the developing world as it can contribute to solving problems related to access gaps. Five emerging countries, called BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — play a specific and leading role with a significant influence on regional and global affairs because of their large and fast-growing national economies, their demography and geographic situation. In order to better understand open access in each of the five countries, in this paper we take a look at specific conditions in each country, relying on data from information professionals and scientists from BRICS, with an empirical approach focused on country-specific characteristics and challenges. The paper is an updated and enriched synthesis of a recent work on open access in the BRICS countries published by Litwin, Sacramento CA.1

Keywords: Open Access, Scientific Information, Emerging Countries, BRICS

1 Open Access and Development

Access to information plays a critical role in supporting development2. Open access to scientific information is one solution. The basic idea is simple: "Make research literature available online without price barriers and without most permission barriers" (Suber, 2012, p.8). Free availability on the public Internet and in particular on the easily accessible World Wide Web, includes the permission "for any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the Internet itself" (Budapest Declaration).

Up to now, the open access movement has been most successful in the Western hemisphere. The three essential reference papers on open access, i.e. the Budapest, Berlin and Bethesda declarations were mainly prepared and supported by Western institutions, organizations and communities. Two-thirds of the open repositories are hosted in Europe or North America3, one third of the open access journals are published in six countries from the "global North", including the United States, Spain and the UK4. Knowledge production and exchange are part of the global inequalities, and many countries are virtually invisible on the map of global knowledge (Czerniewicz, 2013). As Jingfeng Xia (2012) from Indiana University says, open access has a "disproportionate growth" especially in developing countries, because of poorer ICT infrastructures ("digital divide"), lower R&D intensity and cultural dissimilarities.

The demand for open access is great in the developing world as it can contribute to solving problems related to access gaps. Peter Suber observed that "researchers in the global south are among the most determined advocates for open access"5. They want it not only as readers, to have access to international research, but also as authors so that their own work can be known to colleagues elsewhere. Open access is not only access and consumption but also and above all, production and dissemination. It is expected to facilitate the full participation of the global academic community in research and scholarship, sustained by international collaborative strategies. Thus, open access has the potential to contribute to and foster local research and development. But to realize this potential and to make open access sustainable, we have to learn from each other, carefully, empathically, while focused on local needs and conditions.

2 Emerging Countries

In our multipolar world five emerging countries, because of their large and fast-growing national economies, their demographic and geographic situation, play a specific and leading role with a significant influence on regional and global affairs. In 2015, these so-called BRICS6 countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — together represented 3.6 billion people, i.e. half of the world population, 22% of the world economy (gross world product) and nearly 60% of its growth7.

Their influence on global and regional affairs is commercial and financial as well as political, ecological, military and cultural, and they also represent an increasing part of the global research and development activities. The economic situations of the emergent countries are quite different, including their academic systems of higher education and research. Also, each country has developed different models of academic publishing for the dissemination of its research results. These models, even if partly integrated into the international market of scientific and technical information, reflect specific situations and strategies often not well known in the Western world. In 2015, the BRICS countries already produced 24% of the scientific documents indexed by the Scopus database, with more articles from China alone than from the UK, France and Germany cumulated. What is emerging today may become dominant tomorrow.

Today the international scientific and technical information market is largely dominated by American, British, Dutch and German publishers and models. Our hypothesis is that tomorrow, these companies and models will have to share their dominant position with the emerging countries including their cultural, linguistic, scientific and economic diversity and richness. Also, these countries may be better positioned to provide sustainable models for other regions such as the Maghreb, Sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America.

3 Some Figures

The BRICS countries together produce 24% of the worldwide citable scientific publications (mostly articles), publish 16% of all open access journals but host less than 10% of the open repositories (Figure 2)8. The statistics show some significant differences between the BRICS countries:

  • Brazil and India are at the head of the open access movement, with a significant number of open access journals and open repositories.
  • Brazil, Russia and India have a high ratio of gold open access (journals), compared to the green road (repositories); this ratio is higher than in China or South Africa but also higher than in the United States, in Germany or France.
  • Compared to the scientific output, Brazil produces much more open access journals (1.54) than the other BRICS countries (<0.4) and moreover, more than the most important research producing countries from the Global North (<0.6).
  • Brazil and South Africa have similar ratios between open repositories and scientific output (0.16-0.21) with the countries from the Global North (United States, UK, Germany, France, Japan), significantly higher than India, China or Russia (<0.07).
Also, the development of scientific output and open access is different. Together, the BRICS countries' scientific output is 3% higher than two years ago. However, this global figure hides the fact that the situation is more or less stable in Brazil and China while the increase of citable documents is much more important in Russia, India and South Africa (10-30%).

Figure 3 illustrates the development of open access journals and repositories. Except for China, the number of open repositories increased in all BRICS countries between 8% (Brazil) and 27% (Russia). At the same time, the number of open access journals increased in Russia and China but decreased in the other countries, especially in India.

Obviously, the BRICS are not similar; they are far from a unique model and offer different approaches and projects that may be models for other countries. But we must be careful with these figures — BRICS countries suffer from a deficient visibility in international databases and directories, and some results may also reflect methodological issues, especially for the updates and adjustments of the DOAJ. Also, these statistics represent tools and services, not content. We have no reliable information about the real amount of content — articles, dissertations, conference papers, books... — that is actually available through open access (journals and repositories); and no information about the part of the overall scientific output that this open access content represents.

Let us make some short comments on books and research data, both part of scientific output and open science. The international directory DOAB contains less than 10% publishers and books from the BRICS, and nearly all of them (12 publishers, 543 books) are hosted on the SciELO platform and are from Brazil.

The international register of research data repositories re3data includes 1,804 repositories. 5% are located in the BRICS countries (Figure 4). Again, this (low) figure should not be over-interpreted because up to now the re3data register was mainly focused on Western countries; also these figures do not say anything about the content, i.e. the number of archived datasets, and about their availability, if they are open or not.

In order to better understand the open access in each of the five countries we must have a closer look on specific conditions in each country, relying on information professionals and scientists from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa who describe the situation in their own countries for an international readership, with an empirical approach and focusing on country-specific characteristics and challenges. How are they doing, and why? Where are the bottlenecks? What can be learned? In the following we present some characteristics and insights from different sources.

4 Brazil — Leadership in Open Access Publishing

Covering half of the surface of South America, Brazil is the largest country of Latin America. Ten years ago, the situation was described as follows: a very small but growing participation of Brazilian research output on the worldwide stage; two open access journal platforms (SciELO and PKP's Open Journal Systems) but at that time little awareness of open access and few open repositories, the most successful initiative being the Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (BDTD) with ca. 70,000 theses and dissertations available (Costa & Leite, 2008).

Today, the situation has changed. Brazil became the leader in scholarly publishing and open access in Latin America, with more than 1,700 journals alone on the OJS platform. According to the Scopus database, 36% of the Brazilian research output in 2015 was open access (compared to 12-14% for France, Germany, US or UK).

In Brazil, "Open Access in science has progressed along a very specific course; the research results that are published in indexed journals are disseminated, and a standard that measures the quality of the research and the impact of the public investment in the area has been established" (Peña, 2015, p.19). Quality is not an issue; a recent study confirms that "the best journals in Brazil are far more likely to be open access" (Carvalho Neto, 2016, p.12).

The number of repositories is steadily increasing, reaching 91 sites in 2017; and Brazil is one of the major providers of the NDLTD portal of electronic theses and dissertations, with nearly 300,000 ETDs from the Brazilian Institute of Scientific and Technological Information (IBICT). However, Brazil's major contribution to the global movement towards open access is the SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library On-line) project. Difficult to say what exactly SciELO is: a platform for open access publishing? A digital library? An international network? It is all of this, and more than that. First started in Brazil and, shortly afterward, in Chile, SciELO has been running for twenty years now. Initially launched as a server for journal publishing designed to improve the visibility of Brazilian journals on the Internet, it has become the most important and best known open access journal platform worldwide. Open access has allowed for more visibility, transparency, and credibility for the SciELO journals that now span over three continents with 1,250 titles from 14 countries, including Portugal, Spain and South Africa. The number of issues and articles is steadily growing, largely exceeding half a million articles in a broad range of scientific disciplines and fields (Packer et al., 2014).

According to Abel L. Packer who coordinates the SciELO program, the key factors of its success are international cooperation, institutional support and sponsorship, political lobbying and proactive communication, federation of stakeholders instead of isolation or competition, and standardization (Packer, 2015). If today SciELO represents the most successful and impressive example of "gold" open access, that is, open access based on publishing rather than self-archiving, one reason is surely the fact that from the beginning, the project has been valued and insisted on high content quality and selectivity, on evaluation and scientometrics, and on indexing and metadata. Other reasons are the close partnership between research organizations and publishers and the search for sustainability.

What can be learned is a particularly original mixture of visionary strategy towards open access and realistic, even opportunistic goal setting, with specific dynamics and potential. More countries, for example Paraguay, will join the project, indexing and referencing will be improved, and the platform has started to publish books and proceedings from scientific events. More than a simple project, SciELO is today a reference and a model for other emerging and developing countries, as a specific Global South solution to open access. It seems also the world's most successful alternative to commercial open access publishing, with article processing charges and as such, a political message in favour of the public, not-for-profit and independent academic publishing.

5 Russia — the Impact of History

Open access to scientific and technical information in Russia is at the very early phases of its progress. The development of the international open access movement in the late 1990s and early 2000 coincides with hard times for Russian science. The negative impact of unsuccessful reforms and economic crises in Russia overrun the effect of discontent caused by the increase of journal subscription cost. Amidst other reasons, one could mention the weakness of civil society responsibility, which was rather typical for Russian scholars (Zemskov & Pavlov, 2015). Poor knowledge of English also plays a negative role, as this language became the main language of international scientific communication (Kiselev, 2012). Only a few Russian repositories are registered by the OpenDOAR directory. Another example: 2015 usage statistics from the international arXiv repository for e-prints mention only one Russian research institution (Joint Institute for Nuclear Research) but no universities among the 200 heaviest user institutions. "There are no large centralized repositories and just minority of authors publish their papers in this way (while) the number of OA journals is insignificant and most of them are not popular among scientists" (Semyachkin et al., 2014, p.137).

However, there are some positive open access projects by the Russian government, the Academy of Sciences, by universities, information centres and engaged scientists and information professionals. The impact of history and society is obvious, perhaps more than in other countries. In the Russian context, open access signifies more than Internet and scientific communication: it is public-funded free dissemination of research results to society, in the socialist tradition of common good and public interest. Also, public institutions and authorities play a substantial role in the open access movement, prevailing on individual initiatives (Zemskov & Pavlov, 2015).

The early open access movement made a kind of amalgam between open access, open science and open society, in the American way of understanding. In other words, they linked efficient and direct scientific communication to a specific form of social and political development. Is this true for the Russian open access movement?

There is an on-going discussion in the open access movement on business models and financial aspects, beyond the terms of "free", "libre" and "gratis". Someone has to pay, but who should or will? In Russia, the dissemination of public research and access to scientific information, a fortiori open access, seems part of the State's responsibility and must be supported and organized by the government and regional or local authorities. Yet, "despite the fact that a lot of research is funded by government, the results remain inaccessible to most people" (Semyachkin et al., 2014, p.137). In other countries, open access is increasingly supported by the corporate sector, via funding agencies and commercial publishers. In countries like Russia where few grants are accessible, open access publishing remains a problem for the authors of papers with poor funding for research (Bjertnaes, 2012). Which is the best way to assure sustainability?

Regarding law and copyright, the open access movement often opposes public v. publishers' interests, considering the scientific authors as potential allies. Here, the potential conflict is clearly elsewhere, between the authors' rights of intellectual property and the public interests and rights for information. In other words, the authors (at least those delegating their interests to commercial publishers) are considered as a potential problem on the way to open access.

Open access to scientific results is often defined as free and unrestricted access to documents and data files on the Internet. In the Russian context, the meaning appears to be larger, including free access to research tools, facilities, print documents, catalogue records and metadata, abstracts, databases and translations. Open access is seen as a continuum of services and dissemination channels, also as a historical and societal continuum from print to digital resources — an approach finally not so far from the recent adoption of Open Science by the European research policy9.

6 India — Progress and Barriers

Several hundreds of peer-reviewed open access journals; institutional support by important research organisations, laboratories and universities10; a growing number of open repositories; international programs; a favourable public climate and a prolific body of research studies on open access — open access in India is a success story (Sawant, 2015). As mentioned above, among the emergent countries, Brazil and India are at the head of the open access movement, with a significant number of open access journals and open repositories. More than half of Indian journals are open access, and most of them do not charge author fees (Singh, 2015). "Many government institutions and universities took steps to develop repositories to disseminate their intellectual output to wider audiences (and) the Government of India (...) approved an open access policy that aims to provide online access to increase the impact of its research and foster a rich research culture" (Singh, 2016, pp.18-19).

Yet, a couple of years ago "many senior scientists and directors of research laboratories and vice chancellors of universities (did) not have a clear appreciation of open access and its implications" (Arunachalam, 2008, p.277), and recent surveys confirm that still only a minority of India's scholarly population of teachers, researchers and students appears to be concerned by open access. But even if "the awareness level of open access literature and initiatives among the Indian research community and scientists is low (it) is gradually increasing" (Sahu & Arya, 2013, p.10). Researchers in general have positive attitudes towards open repositories, but even though they are aware of the benefits, they are reluctant to deposit their documents (Sawant, 2015). Also, they are often in favour of open access journal publishing but opposed to the author payment model and article processing charges (Singh, 2015). Also, "while university libraries abroad have reacted in an organized manner to counter the alarming costs of providing access to information, there is little evidence of concerted action in India" (Balaram, 2013, p.403).

Another problem is the so-called predatory publishing, i.e. malpractices in open access journal publishing which has become a serious problem in India. "Many (predatory publishers) purport to be headquartered in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada or Australia but really hail from Pakistan, India or Nigeria" (Beall, 2012, p.179). Is this the price to pay for the success of open access journal publishing, as a kind of collateral damage? Aware of the situation, Indian institutions started to take action, with guidelines, approved journal lists, information and education (Sawant, 2015). Will this be enough? Or is the only way to reduce this malpractice promoting self-archiving and totally free open access?

The picture of open access in India looks promising as policy makers are taking a keen interest in the development of the movement (Sawant, 2015). Self-archiving in repositories (green road) may be a reasonable alternative to open access journal publishing (gold road) because the infrastructure is there and because it is less expensive, because it allows faster turnaround and is compatible with publishing in conventional journals. This is an interesting prognostic in line with pro-green open access experts like Stevan Harnad, and somehow in contradiction with the lobbying by commercial publishing and open science strategies in the UK, Germany or the Netherlands. "If India sets the example, by officially adopting and implementing (a national OA self-archiving mandate for all of its research institutions and funders), India's own research access and impact will be maximised, the rest of the world will follow India's example, and research progress worldwide will be the beneficiary" (Harnad & Swan, 2008). But India is a land of contrast and diversity, and one never knows when things start happening in India (Arunachalam, 2008). The future will show who is right, if open access only adds another contrast to India, if there is space for both green and gold, and which one will be the particular Indian contribution to the global movement.

7 China — the Gold Road

China, with the highest population worldwide and a rapidly growing economy, has become a global player at all levels, in the areas of finance, business, diplomacy, military and the environment. However, "compared to the OA situation in other countries, OA journals have developed slowly in China. As of 19 September 2012, only (...) 0.42 per cent (34/8180) originate from China, (...) thirty-one are in the natural sciences and only three are in the social sciences" (Guo et al., 2014, p.337). In 2017, the number of open access journals and open repositories still seems insignificant (see figure 2).

However, following recent surveys, the Chinese figures in the international directories are only the tip of the iceberg, while the hidden part, i.e. the real number, is higher. In fact, less than 5% of the open access journals are indexed by DOAJ whereas the rest remain virtually invisible and unknown to the international research community (Hu et al., 2012, 2013). Dehua Hu from the Central South University in Changsha, conducted the first systematic and comprehensive survey of Chinese open access journals in 2013. The results provide a unique picture of the actual situation on the open access publishing market. Today, open access journals represent 20% of all Chinese journals in sciences, technology and medicine (only 10% in 2009), most of which are hosted and distributed in PDF on independent websites (Hu, 2015). In social sciences and humanities, the percentage is a little bit lower. From a survey of the 714 journals listed in the Chinese Social Sciences Citation Index (CSSCI) in 2012 to 2013, 14% were OA (Guo et al., 2014).

Most of the Chinese open access journals are not part of a larger aggregation, but are published independently. In a certain way, the Chinese open access journal publishing landscape, made up of many different local projects and initiatives, may be compared to hundreds of blooming flowers, different from other countries with great national platforms, for instance Brazil with SciELO or France with OpenEdition. The importance of private (corporate) initiatives seems specific for Chinese open access publishing and quite different, for instance, from the Russian approach. Also, the journals' open access status is not stable; some journals switch from open access back to the usual subscription model (Cheng & Ren, 2008).

At the same time, institutional repositories developed steadily, especially from 2009 on, when the Chinese Academy of Sciences deployed institutional repositories in its research institutes (Zhang, 2014). Today, more than 760,000 research papers from 112 institutes have been deposited (75% with full-text), and these have accumulated 17 million downloads, of which 33% were from outside of China.11 Zhang's prognostic is that in the future green open access will become the policy focus of funders, research organizations and universities. "Support for IR development will be extended, while the institutions that already have IRs will explore services with non-textual materials and more in-depth knowledge analysis" (Zhang, 2014, p.48).

Like other emerging economies, open access appears not only interesting but necessary for the development of Chinese science and the visibility of its research output. In order to improve the situation and increase the part of open access publishing, Hu (2015) suggests some elements for a proactive public policy, e.g. modifying the system of accreditation and control of new scientific journals, developing networking and partnerships, fostering the quality control of papers and improving the protection of the authors' intellectual property. Yet, he insists on the equilibrium between public, publishers' and authors' interests and on the need for co-existence between print and digital journals and different dissemination models. No revolution, but a new state of stability and development.

Today, China is already the second producer of scientific articles after the USA and far ahead of other countries. For the Chinese, scientific journal publishing is critical. Their problem is impact, in terms of visibility, usage and citations. Will open access journal publishing contribute to this impact? How will they deal with the language barrier, a crucial issue for Chinese journal publishing? Will the future be gold or green or both? In any case, one thing is certain — any development in China will have an influence well beyond the country's frontiers.

8 South Africa — the Philosophy of Ubuntu

South Africa, the young "rainbow nation", is the first political and military power in Africa and the last country to join the BRICS. South Africa may not have the same global influence as China or Russia but it nonetheless plays a significant role on the African continent and in particular in the Sub-Saharan region.

South Africa was one of the early adopters of the open access movement in Africa, not only because of its relatively strong culture of research production and a strong information technology infrastructure but also because of its specific tradition of sharing and common goods. The government policy clearly puts the focus on institutional repositories (Le Roux, 2015). As adopters of open access, South African researchers have been given the platform to freely share their scholarly output with the rest of the continent and the developing world. This option of freely sharing, which underpins the open access movement, translates into a wider distribution of published research thus presenting a model that allows free access (and often more liberal licensing terms) to publications.

The potential is real, and the opportunities are there. Compared to other countries, the uptake and awareness of open access, however, seems still low; open access is still seen as an experimental option (Le Roux, 2015). A recent survey on open access and journal cancellations observes that South African open access initiatives are in their early stages of development and that academic librarians have not really embraced such initiatives — "very few university libraries are fully exploiting the opportunity to make knowledge more accessible by utilising OAIs. Users of South African university services therefore are not generally benefitting from the advantages of OA repositories (...)" (Hoskins, 2013, p.589). The risk has been described by Czerniewicz & Goodier (2014): "A worst case scenario for South African researchers would be a lose-lose situation in terms of both access and participation. (...) Access to southern research is likely to be even further reduced as local researchers' publishing options might be restricted by financial gatekeeping at the outset. While sweeping changes in the global north will see more northern research freely available to all online, the danger for locals is twofold: firstly, that they may be limited in their opportunities to publish (especially by expensive APCs) and, secondly, that their own research drowns in the worsening invisibility of the online discoverability sphere" (p.8).

The African philosophy of Ubuntu, which stands for a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity, fosters and reinforces the obligation to share scholarly literature. Scientists and society are connected, and the distribution of scholarly literature must contribute to the growth and development of research and society. Such interconnectedness points to the fact that the research process is only complete when the end product in the form of scholarly output is read: hence the importance of its wide distribution. Open access also contributes to reverse the unidirectional information flow from the global North to the global South, as knowledge produced in the global South can now become available via open access platforms to the global North, thus improving the visibility of the former and increasing its usage and impact. At the same time, open access enhances the protection and preservation of local knowledge by having it captured and digitized and made available to the international audience (Raju et al., 2015). "There remains an ongoing tension between the local and the international, as indigenous knowledge is now being promoted at the same time as the importance of participating in global knowledge production" (Le Roux, 2015, p.317).

In this context, research data sharing is a specific and important issue. A study on the Thomson Reuters Data Citation Index shows that data sharing in South Africa concentrates in the natural and applied sciences, in particular agriculture, health sciences, forestry and business economics and can be said "to be at its 'initial formation stage' in which (...) the absolute number of publications is small and the growth rate shows signs of increasing" (Onyancha, 2016, p.244).

Any study about open access in South Africa is (also) political and raises some crucial questions, such as the impact on other countries and learning not from the Western hemisphere or the global North but from other emerging countries such as India (publishing industry) and Brazil (launch of SciELO-SA, see the case study by Diab, 2016). Another question is about the underlying philosophy of open access. It is generally accepted that open access has to do with open society and open science, as defined by Karl Popper and promoted by Georges Soros. But does it, really? The case of Russia already showed how the open access movement could be fed by other, socialist traditions. Here, in South Africa, the roots of open access appear to be even stronger and deeper in the culture and philosophy of African humanism, because "the principles of open access resonate well with the African philosophy of Ubuntu (i.e.) the innate principle of sharing (and) a sense of interconnectedness with generosity being at the score" (Raju et al., 2015, p.160).

9 Learning From the BRICS?

Culture and history create specific environments of science, economy and law, and each country must face particular challenges and seize its own opportunities. Meeting local standards appears to be a crucial condition for the development of open access. Whereas Brazil launched a central platform for open access journal publishing that gained world-wide visibility and impact, China started to transform numerous and independent print journals into digital and freely available online products. To become sustainable, open access must adjust to local conditions and even more, be assimilated into local political and scientific culture, as a local initiative supported by local communities. Yet, we can distinguish some common features, above all a strong commitment to open access shared by scientific and political authorities in order to increase the impact of the countries' research output and the availability of scientific information.

Increasing visibility and impact in international databases, directories and registries is one of the major challenges. Language is another challenge because of English dominating scientific communication, but not for all countries, and not all disciplines are affected in the same way. In Latin America, Spanish and Portuguese languages are largely used to communicate on research with national focus or interest; physical and life sciences are mainly communicated in English while social sciences and humanities are done in the local language. In Russia, the language barrier is an important problem — scientific Russian is well developed and has a rich history therefore one can hardly imagine that all Russian scholars will start writing their original works in English. This may be a transitory challenge because of the development of English language skills among new generations of scientists. Yet, for publishers, "internationalization represents a most difficult barrier to overcome for journals whose scope is essentially national and/or who publish in languages other than English" (Packer, 2015, p.54).

Other challenges are similar to those in Western countries, e.g. the copyright legislation, funding (sustainability), "filling up the repositories", lack of education, quality of content and products and need for supportive policy. In South Africa, "the greatest challenge is (...) the eradication of the misconception that open access is vanity publishing (...) especially among researchers themselves" (Schöpfel, 2015, p.193). In the global village, one size does not fit all. What works in one part of the world may fail elsewhere. However, there are some common key factors for the success of open access, more or less similar to those of the Global North, in particular intellectual property (copyright) legislation compliant with open access, national research policies in favour of open access, and supportive academic reward systems.

For Zemskov & Pavlov (2015), the only sustainable model for the development of research and scientific communication, including open access, is different from market models. In Russia, like in Brazil, India and South Africa, the role of public policy and institutions remains crucial: "In modern Russia the state can and must be the main if not the only financial support of OA (...) as a part of Russian science funding" (p.87). However, the Chinese way seems different, with a large diversity of often local and independent initiatives. Apparently open access is not only a choice of research communities but it is also related to society and economics.

One feature of the open access movement is its international, cross-boundary nature. Conferences, networks, forums and blogs are real and virtual spaces for exchanging ideas and learning from each other. However, so far we cannot see a specific "BRICS space". While the BRICS countries started to coordinate in crucial fields such as finance, economics, energy or nuclear security, there is no open access coordination up to now. Yet, there are bilateral initiatives, and Brazil seems to take the lead, as Abel Packer from SciELO explains: "We are working with South Africa in the development of nationally published journals through SciELO Program that is led by national public research institutions and therefore it is an expression of national open access policies". Following substantial discussion between the Academy of Sciences of South Africa (ASSAf) and its Brazilian counterparts, the Academy adopted the SciELO platform for its open access journals. In May 2014, SciELO organized the first Brazil-China Bilateral Meeting on STM Publishing.

Science is expected to produce helpful knowledge and to contribute to the sustainable development of open society and humanity. Yet, a better understanding of society, nature and environment requires open science, free debate of ideas and exchange of procedures and results. Discussion, readiness to learn from each other and rational criticism are conditions for scientific progress. Three hundred years ago, in the Age of Enlightenment, European and North-American intellectuals proclaimed themselves as the "Republic of Letters", an open community of scholars, writers and philosophers corresponding through letters, papers and pamphlets on new ideas, observations and experiences. Their free floating conversation at distance, between the salons, societies and academies in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, created the crucial environment for the development of modern scientific research and teaching, against obscurantism and ignorance. Yesterday, in the Gutenberg era, openness and freedom of discussion was guaranteed by public correspondence and the invention of academic journals, such as the French Journal des Sçavans or the Philosophical Transactions published by the Royal Society in London. The digital revolution created a knowledge-based society ruled by new information and communication technologies, infrastructures and media. Internet changed research, collaboration and academic publishing. Today, in the galaxy of Internet and virtual networks, openness of scientific communication calls for other solutions.

In the emerging information age, some people consider knowledge as a strategic weapon, as an argument in global competition. Knowledge is more than that. It is a cultural heritage and a common good, produced by society and indispensable for progress and development. Benjamin Franklin once said, "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." Investment in knowledge means learning and also teaching, thinking and also talking, producing and also communicating. Knowledge must be shared to make sense and be useful. The best interest of knowledge in the beginning of the 21st century is sustainable development and survival. More than ever open society needs open science, a second scientific revolution (Bartling & Friesike, 2014) where scientists share their results straight away and with a wide audience.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa all developed their own way to open access, based on specific blends of green and gold road, public investment and private initiatives. It remains uncertain if these BRICS initiatives and projects bear the potential of an alternative model of open access. What they have in common is their commitment to research as a driver of economic and societal development and to open science as a way to enhance quality, impact and access to scientific information. Open access is not an end in itself but a means to better science and societal progress.

Perhaps there is no unique or dominant model of open access. Perhaps there never will be. Perhaps, too, there is no need for a unique model, be it green or gold. Diversity may be a better option for sustainable development. However, based on the experience of the BRICS countries we can say that even if every country has to determine its own special way to open access, they can learn from each other, and they are already doing so. Learning from each other does not only mean learning from failures, mistakes and dead-ends but more so and above all, learning from success. More than the understanding of problems and challenges, perhaps the real message is the importance of success stories. The development of open access depends on the promotion/enhancement of successful initiatives, such as SciELO in Latin America. Expect success, focus on it, and coordinate scientific and political efforts in favour of open science. The future will show how the international research community will realize and transform the tremendous potential of open access and open science. The future is open. But the BRICS countries will be a central part of it.
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