Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 42.2019
2019.10.14 — 2019.10.20
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
BRICS Speakers of Parliament Have Shared Best Practices and Made a Collective Commitment to Drive the Achievement of Universal Access to Quality Health Care by 2030 (Спикеры парламентов стран БРИКС поделились передовым опытом и приняли коллективное обязательство содействовать достижению всеобщего доступа к качественной медицинской помощи к 2030 году) / South Africa, October, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting, concluded_agreements, social_issues
South Africa

Parliament, Wednesday 16 October 2019 - National Assembly Speaker and leader of the South African delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union's (IPU) 141st Assembly, Ms Thandi Modise, today addressed the forum of speakers of BRICS countries in Belgrade-Serbia.

Speaker Modise says South Africa has pledged to ensure universal access to quality health care as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by 2025, through among others, the introduction of the Universal Health Insurance (NHI) system. She said with a heavy burden of disease the ideals of economic growth and development would be stifled, as health is the most important aspect of human life.

Individual speakers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa outlined their country plans to strive for universal access to quality health by 2030, and levels of collaboration necessary to realise the noble goals and healthier and more productive nations. Speakers acknowledged that indigenous knowledge of health and practices are critical and should be part of the mainstream in efforts to fight the disease burden. Speaker Modise also appreciated the contributions of the Chinese and India traditional medicine and technological advancements in helping to build a healthy society in South Africa.

Speakers from BRICS Parliaments, met as a standard framework, on the sidelines of the Inter-Parliamentary Union's 141 Assembly currently held in Belgrade – Serbia from 13 to 17 October 2019. The IPU's 141st Assembly is expected to wrap up its business tomorrow with various statutory organs of the IPU presenting draft resolutions and decisions for endorsement by the general assembly plenary before the end of business on 17 October 2019. Since day one, 13 October 2019, statutory structures of the IPU met to thrash out critical matters affecting peoples of the world, and they included: The Forum of Women Parliamentarians, Forum of Young Parliamentarians, and Standing Committees responsible for Peace and International Security, Democracy and Human Rights, as well as Sustainable Development Finance and Trade.

(Attached for your convenience are audio clips of Speaker Modise: Download link - )

For media enquiries or requests for interviews with the Speaker and other delegates of South Africa to the IPU, please call or WhatsApp: Manelisi Wolela +381 66 560 5819

Issued by the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa
Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo 082 3706930
China, Brazil vow to advance bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership (Китай и Бразилия обещают развивать двустороннее всеобъемлющее стратегическое партнерство) / China, October, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting, cooperation, quotation

BRASILIA, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- China and Brazil attach great importance to bilateral relations and want to further develop their bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership, senior officials from both sides said during their meeting on Friday.

Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), met with Augusto Heleno, Brazil's Minister of Institutional Security here.

Yang, also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, said China always views and develops relations with Brazil from a strategic and long-term perspective.

China and Brazil are both developing countries and emerging market economies, and since the establishment of diplomatic ties 45 years ago, China-Brazil relations have been developing in a healthy and stable manner, said Yang.

The pragmatic cooperation in various fields has been fruitful and has become a model for the cooperation and joint development between major developing countries, he added.

Yang said China is willing to promote the integration of China's Belt and Road Initiative with Brazil's development plan, strengthen people-to-people exchanges, regional interactions and communication as well as coordination on international and regional issues to better benefit the two countries and peoples.

Yang said that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will soon pay a state visit to China for the first time at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping and that the leaders of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will meet next month in Brasilia.

China will fully support Brazil in holding the summit, said Yang, adding that China believes the two sides will work together to ensure the success of the meeting of the two heads of state, jointly drawing the blueprint of future bilateral relations and upgrading the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

For his part, Heleno said the participants of the ninth meeting of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues have reached a broad consensus, which strengthened unity and cooperation among the BRICS countries.

Brazil attaches great importance to its relations with China, and President Bolsonaro will pay his first state visit to China in a few days and the Brazilian side is eagerly expecting President Xi to come to Brazil next month to attend the BRICS leaders' meeting, said Heleno.

He said that all these things reflected the importance of the relationship between Brazil and China.

The Brazilian side appreciates China's resolute fight against terrorism and will continue to firmly support China's position on issues related to Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang, he added.

The Brazilian side is willing to strengthen pragmatic cooperation with China in the fields of trade, infrastructure, agriculture, science and technology, and to consolidate and develop the comprehensive strategic partnership between Brazil and China, said Heleno.

At Heleno's invitation, Yang attended the ninth meeting of the BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues in Brasilia from Thursday to Friday.

BRICS should unite, cooperate to uphold multilateralism: senior Chinese official (БРИКС должен объединиться, сотрудничать для поддержки многосторонности - высокопоставленный китайский чиновник) / China, October, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting, cooperation, quotation

BRASILIA, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- The five BRICS countries should strengthen unity and cooperation to uphold multilateralism and promote the development of the international order in a more just and rational direction, a senior Chinese official has said.

Speaking at the 9th Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues held here from Thursday to Friday, Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said that as the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) should strengthen unity and cooperation to deal with such changes.

The BRICS should fully implement the consensuses reached by leaders of the five countries in previous BRICS leaders' meetings and consolidate cooperation in political security, economy, trade and finance, and people-to-people exchanges, said Yang, who is also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee.

BRICS countries should support each other, strengthen the ability to withstand risks and cope with complex situations, and jointly oppose external intervention, Yang said.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa should adhere to the concept of open and inclusive cooperation, promote the "BRICS Plus" cooperation model, and create an open and diverse network of partnerships, he said.

Yang added that the BRICS should uphold multilateralism, defend the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and promote the development of international order in a more just and rational direction.

For his part, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, during his meetings with the delegation leaders from the BRICS, conveyed his cordial greetings to the leaders of BRICS countries and said he is looking forward to the leaders' meeting which will be held soon in Brasilia.

Bolsonaro said that the participating representatives in the two-day meeting had high-quality discussions, which showed the high-level cooperation among BRICS countries.

He said he will soon visit some Asian countries including China, and is looking forward to pushing for new developments in bilateral relations through the visit.

During the two-day meeting, participants exchanged in-depth views on counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, and regional and international hotspot issues, and reached broad consensus.

All participants agreed to strengthen unity and cooperation, help work towards fruitful results of the upcoming BRICS leaders' meeting in November, jointly defend multilateralism, and make greater contributions to safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

During the two-day meeting, Yang also held bilateral talks with delegation leaders from other BRICS countries.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on October 14, 2019 (Очередная пресс-конференция 14 октября 2019 г. у официального представителя МИД КНР Гэн Шуана) / China, October, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting, quotation, national_security

Q: What expectations does China have for the ninth Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues?

A: The BRICS mechanism is an important platform for emerging markets and developing countries to step up solidarity and cooperation and uphold shared interests. In recent years, under the strategic guidance of the BRICS leaders, the BRICS countries, following the BRICS spirit of open, inclusive and win-win cooperation, promoted in-depth practical cooperation in various fields, deepened solidarity and mutual trust and enhanced the well-being of their people, setting a model of a new type of major country relations.

The Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues is a strategic platform to strengthen political and security cooperation between the BRICS countries and this ninth meeting is an important event ahead of the BRICS Leaders Meeting in Brasilia in November. Facing complex and severe international situation, the BRICS countries will exchange in-depth views on international security situation, major international and regional hotspot issues and bolstering cooperation on counterterrorism and cyber security, make joint efforts to address prominent challenges, uphold their security and development interests and safeguard world peace and stability. China believes that this meeting will achieve positive outcomes, deepen strategic mutual trust among BRICS countries and make political preparations for the upcoming BRICS Leaders Meeting in Brasilia in November.

UN should play central role in world politics — Medvedev (ООН должна играть центральную роль в мировой политике - Медведев) / Russia, October, 2019
Keywords: un, quotation, global_governance

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that regional organizations are also important

MOSCOW, October 19. /TASS/. The United Nations Organization has not exhausted its potential and should play a central role in world politics, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told Serbia's Vecernje novosti newspaper ahead of his official visit to Belgrade.

"The United Nations Organization with the UN Security Council should play the central role because it is the main, leading international organization. However, regional and other large organizations are also important, such as BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa] for example, or new associations like SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization]," Medvedev said.

He reminded that another important international association — G20 — was established in 2008 and noted that "economic issues should definitely be resolved now with participation of more countries." "However, I want to emphasize that the ideal model is still the United Nations Organization. It has not exhausted its potential, as opposed to what some countries are trying to claim now," Medvedev stressed.

"Not so long go, many global matters were resolved withing G8, in which Russia also participated," he reminded. "Afterwards, we we excluded from this format and told 'you don't fit in'. Now different countries are trying to lure us back in, say, 'We are ready to include you again', and so on. But the issue is not how they treated us, but rather the fact that it is impossible now to consider global issues in the G8 format," Medvedev said.

Russian, Chinese leaders to meet in November (Российские и китайские лидеры встретятся в ноябре) / Russia, October, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting, summit, vladimir_putin, xi_jinping

MOSCOW, October 18. /TASS/. A meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is due next month, China's ambassador in Moscow Zhang Hanhui told the media on Friday.

"A meeting between our leaders is due soon, in November, on the sidelines of the BRICS or APEC summit. I believe they will exchange opinion on the whole range of relations," he said.

Zhang recalled that Russia would host a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization next year. "We will support our Russian counterparts in organizing the summit. We will jointly draft all documents to guarantee the summit's success. We believe that the summit will be very important," the diplomat stated.

A BRICS summit will be held in Brazil on November 13-14 and an APEC summit — in Chile on November 16-17.

Collaboration on Afghan settlement

China supports Russia's efforts aimed at resolving the Afghan crisis and will provide assistance to Russia in that process, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui told reporters on Friday.

"We have already received an invitation [to the talks between the Russian, US, Chinese and Pakistani special envoys for Afghanistan in Moscow]. I believe that such consultations are very important. I would like to note Russia's important role in resolving the Afghan issue," the diplomat said. "We will work together with Russia and support the work of our Russian counterparts."

On September 30, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan and Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Second Asian Department Zamir Kabulov reported that the Russian, US, Chinese and Pakistani envoys for Afghanistan would hold talks in Moscow in October.

Russian security chief calls on BRICS to minimize risks and resolve conflicts (Глава российской безопасности призывает БРИКС минимизировать риски и разрешать конфликты) / Russia, October, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting, national_security, cooperation

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said that the structure of international relations is becoming more and more complex

BRASILIA, October 18. /TASS/. Russia calls on BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) partners to concentrate on minimizing risk of conflicts, ensuring stability in the nuclear rocket sphere and resolving other priority issues in international affairs, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said on Friday at the Meeting of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues in Brasilia.

"It is important for us to concentrate on resolving the following priority tasks: minimizing the risk of armed conflicts, refusing bloc mentality and politics of dividing lines, ensuring strategic stability in the nucler rocket sphere, settling conflicts step-by-step," Patrushev said. He also noted the importance of "adapting the system of international security to the new conditions" and "rejecting the practice of unilateral sanctions and discriminatory regimes."

Patrushev stressed that BRICS countries are "at the forefront of countering growing threats for the whole international community." He added that the structure of international relations is becoming more and more complex, and contradictions are becoming more acute due to uneven development and expanding gaps in wealth inequality among different countries.

"At the same time, some countries still refuse to recognize the objective realities of the changing world and continue to think in categories of the cold war. Attempts to force one's own values on other countries lead to increasing xenophobia, intolerance and conflicts in international affairs," Patrushev concluded.
Global strategic stability system undermined by Western policy — Russian security chief (Система глобальной стратегической стабильности подорвана политикой Запада - глава российской безопасности) / Russia, October, 2019
Keywords: national_security, quotation, expert_opinion

BRASILIA, October 17. /TASS/. The global strategic stability system is on the brink of collapse due to the policy of Western states, which could lead to an uncontrolled arms race, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said on Thursday during the Meeting of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) High Representatives for Security Issues in Brasilia.

"The global system of strategic stability established as a result of tireless efforts of our predecessors <…> is on the brink of collapse as a result of inconsistent and at times blatantly provocative policy of Western countries," Patrushev said. He noted that "this confrontational policy may lead to a new uncontrolled arms race, namely in space."

Patrushev said that "the architecture of international relations is undergoing a transformation," and that "the process of forming a more just word order is proceeding uneasily." "We note attempts to substitute international law based on the UN Charter and inter-state relations for the so-called rules-based order. At the same time, Americans and their allies are trying to subject coordinating such rules and conditions to their own geopolitical interests," he added.

"This leads to blurring universally recognized norms and principles and threatens to bring back the cold war with its divisions among insiders and outsiders," Patrushev noted.

"Well-known instruments are used in this process — unilateral economic sanctions are imposed, attempts are made to interfere into the internal affairs of unfavorable countries, even in the form of staging coups," he concluded.
BRICS plans establishing single arbitration center — expert (БРИКС планирует создать единый арбитражный центр - эксперт) / Russia, October, 2019
Keywords: cooperation, quotation, expert_opinion

Executive secretary of the arbitration commission of the Association of Russian Lawyers Roman Gerakov said that this initiative will be discussed by an international working group

RIO DE JANEIRO, October 15. /TASS/. BRICS countries are developing an interaction model for a single arbitration center of its members and other developing economies, executive secretary of the arbitration commission of the Association of Russian Lawyers Roman Gerakov told TASS on Tuesday.

"It is planned to create a BRICS+ single arbitration center, comprising representatives of all countries," Gerakov said. This initiative will be discussed by an international working group. Experts will present proposals from all the countries to develop a single arbitration standard, he added.

"This is a rather complex procedure, requiring consideration of interests and observation of public order of all countries, development of a single website, a common system and common rules or reservations referring to common rules, single recommended list of arbitrators, elements of collective governance and establishment of such centers," the expert said.

Russian security chief, Brazilian president urge against interference in national affairs (Глава российской безопасности и президент Бразилии призывают не вмешиваться в национальные дела) / Russia, October, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting, national_security, jair_bolsonaro, quotation

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro met with participants in the Meeting of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues on Friday

BRASILIA, October 18. /TASS/. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro held talks on Friday with participants in the Meeting of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues.

Russian security chief stresses importance of enhancing cooperation with Brazil

Russia's Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev heads the national delegation at the meeting.

"Patrushev and Bolsonaro pointed out that BRICS nations [comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] are united in their strict compliance with international law and the principles of versatility, in their respect for state sovereignty and against any interference in domestic affairs of other countries," Yevgeny Anoshin, spokesman for the Russian Security Council, told reporters after the talks.

According to Anoshin, Patrushev highly praised Brazil's energetic presidency of BRICS at the talks with Bolsonaro. The Russian security chief underscored that Russia supported the priorities declared by Brazil and welcomed closer cooperation in the fight against terrorism and transnational crime.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Internationalization patterns of BRICS Multinational Enterprises MNEs: how differ from other emerging markets? (Модели интернационализации многонациональных предприятий БРИКС: чем отличаются от других развивающихся рынков?) / Russia, October, 2019
Keywords: research, economic_challenges, emerging_market
Author: PROGUNOVA, Lada Victorovna; TROKHOVA, Ekaterina Vladimirovna & MILONOVA, Marina Valentinovna


In the article, based on UNCTAD data, the authors conduct a comparative analysis of the internationalization patterns of multinationals from BRICS, developed countries and other emerging markets reflected in TNIs. At the regional level, they found a significant difference between the internationalization patters of BRICS multinationals and other groups of countries with emerging markets. Despite this, the authors observed a trend toward convergence of internationalization patterns between companies from developed and other emerging markets, which may be further applied to BRICS.

Role of China in the development of trade and FDI cooperation with BRICS countries (Роль Китая в развитии торговли и сотрудничества ПИИ со странами БРИКС) / Russia, October, 2019
Keywords: research, economic_challenges, trade_relations
Author: Svetlana Gusarova


• Trade and investment cooperation of China with BRICS countries exerts strong impact on the development of their economies.

• For the first time, were developed and tested methodological guidelines for determining the potential of economic cooperation of BRICS countries, the synergistic effect of their trade and investment interaction.

• Author revealed complex of factors that have a decisive influence on the explanation of the phenomenon of the faster growth of Intra-BRICS trade and investment cooperation compared with interaction of BRICS countries with other countries of the world.


BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) over the next 50 years could become the driving force in the world economy. They have the huge joint potential and wide opportunities. Further growth of their economies requires creation of their closer partnership in trade and investments. China is playing the leading role in this process, as a main investor and importer of FDI (foreign direct investment) and trade partner in BRICS group. Trade and investment cooperation of BRICS countries is a new paradigm of the formation of their economic growth. This problem is important, but still insufficiently studied and not enough reflected in the economic researches. For the first time, author developed and tested the methodology of the determining the Intra-BRICS potential of trade and investment cooperation and getting the synergistic effect of the economic interaction of BRICS countries. Trade and investment cooperation of China with other BRICS countries exerts very strong impact on the development of their economies. China continue to deepen its economic ties with other BRICS countries and open up its financial market to serve as a cushion against rising global uncertainty. Development of Intra-BRICS trade and investment cooperation is very important in the context of trade war imposed by the USA against China.
Connectedness Between Natural Gas Price and BRICS Exchange Rates: Evidence from Time and Frequency Domains (Связь между ценой на природный газ и курсами валют БРИКС: данные из области времени и частоты) / Switzerland, October, 2019
Keywords: research, economic_challenges
Authors: Yijin He,Tadahiro Nakajima and Shigeyuki Hamori

Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the connectedness between natural gas and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa)'s exchange rate in terms of time and frequency. This empirical work is based on the approach of connectedness proposed by Diebold and Yilmaz, who provided an effective way of valuing how much variation in one variable is responsible for the value of other variables, and the method proposed by Baruník and Křehlík, who decomposed the results from Diebold and Yilmaz into different frequencies. We also use the rolling-window method to conduct time-varying analysis. The data used in this paper are from 23 August 2010 to 20 June 2019. We find that the natural gas price hardly influences BRICS's exchange rates, which provides an important practical implication for policymakers, especially in oil-dependent countries.
BRICS: How Important is the Exchange Rate Pass‐Through? (БРИКС: Насколько важен сквозной обменный курс?) / USA, October, 2019
Keywords: research, expert_opinion, economic_challenges

This paper analyzes the exchange rate pass‐through (ERPT) into domestic consumer prices in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries from mid‐1990s onwards by using three different econometric approaches (i.e., the single equation approach, the VAR approach, and the time‐varying parameter approach). It is also studied the role of macroeconomic determinants in ERPT. Our results suggest that: (i) ERPT is higher for the emerging markets with mostly floating exchange rates (Brazil, Russia and South Africa) than for the other BRICS countries; (ii) exchange rate explains, on average, around the 40% of the price variance for Brazil, Russia and South Africa; and (iii) inflation volatility, exchange rate volatility and openness seem to be the key macroeconomic determinants in BRICS countries.
India, Italy, Brazil, China and Spain or how sovereign debt smashed BRICS and deflated the EU dream (Индия, Италия, Бразилия, Китай и Испания или как суверенный долг разбил БРИКС и сдул мечту ЕС) / Canada, October, 2019
Keywords: economic_challenges, expert_opinion

The financial crisis of 2007 wiped trillions off our global financial ledger. National economies reeled in the wake of banking's biggest boo-boo since Reagan's deregulation of the American Savings and Loan industry triggered the failure of almost two-thirds of the 3,234 savings and loans institutions in the United States from 1986 to 1995. Now, sovereign debt threatens to break the back of our world economy. How did we get here?

Two years after Lehman Brothers went under and TARP bailouts gave banking executives bonuses and share buyback plans, the general consensus for economic recovery for the rest of us involved austerity and cheap debt.

With interest rates falling to zero, corporations and countries across the globe loaded up on loans and the Euro zone was no exception. Credit given to the European private non-financial sector made up 165% of the region's GDP by Q4 2009 and EU public debt ballooned to 83.3% of GDP in the same period. Problem was most of this borrowing was to spend, not to invest.

Meanwhile traders began touting the economic promise of BRICS or the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa super-combo that was supposed to emerge and evolve into the next global financial hegemony. Emerging markets were where it was at, but nobody seemed to notice the build up of blood red ink on BRICS' bottom line.

BRICS' burdens

Map of China on Earth in the national colors. Doesn't really look like this. All anyone could talk about was China's endless appetite for consumption which had been whetted with the implementation of a 4.0 trillion yuan stimulus program in 2009 and 2010 worth approximately 11 percent of the country's GDP at the time.

This building splurge was thought to be an integral actor in preventing the global economic recession that was already in full effect from getting any worse.

Paul Krugman, a celebrated American economist and professor of economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, wrote in 2010 that China's balls-to-the-wall infrastructure push was a "much more aggressive stimulus than any Western nation – and it has worked out well."

While everyone was singing praises, they forgot to look at how the Chinese were funding these stimulus ventures. Local governments are prohibited from borrowing or running deficits, but they got around this snag through a special dispensation from the central committee which allowed them to form off-balance-sheet companies known as local financing vehicles (LFVs).

Local governments would then use these entities as intermediates. For instance, transferring ownership of government-controlled property to the LFV. The LFV would then use the land as collateral when borrowing from banks and shadow banks or as the basis for the issuance of bonds.

Needless to say, China went credit crazy and no one really knew how bad it was because most of the debt was off-balance-sheet in a LFV. In the heady days of wanton development between 2011 and 2013, Zhōngguó poured 6.4 gigatons of cement. That's more concrete than the United States used in the last hundred years.

The Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management editor, Professor Bent Flyvbjerg, noted in the last 90 years, 90% of all mega construction projects miss deadlines, cost more than budgeted and their societal benefit doesn't necessarily outweigh the challenges and costs of their construction.

There are examples all over the world of protracted megaprojects like the Sydney Opera House which came in 10 years late at 14 times the original estimated cost of $7.0 million or the English Channel Tunnel which went 80% over it's budgeted cost of £4.87 billion.

China's off-balance-sheet spending made up 11 percent of GDP by 2015, but unfortunately for the Chinese people, greed took control of LFV operators. Of the 11% that was dispersed, only 2.4 percent was spent on local infrastructure while the remaining 8.6 percent went on to fund private commercial projects.

Just how much Chinese sovereign debt is out there waiting to go bad is hard to determine, but according to the National Audit Office (NAO) of the People's Republic of China, the country's governing bodies are legally on the hook for 10.9 trillion yuan or USD$1.5 trillion. That only covers direct debt, though.

According to China's Ministry of Finance, the ratio of government debt to GDP would increase from 39.4 to 41.5 percent if the government was responsible for 20 percent of indirect debt. Editors for the Fall 2016 edition of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity determined this would infer an indirect financial obligation of 7.1 trillion yuan for a total local government debt of 23.1 trillion yuan or USD$3.2 trillion by the end of 2015.

Nobody knows the true number on this unless they were able to individually go through the books of over 7,000 LFVs operating in China. The Chinese central government has issued numerous decrees in an attempt to curb LFVs and have even taken a "dredging and blocking" strategy in the hopes of eliminating LFVs in the next three years by replacing their debt with local government bonds.

Not gunna happen. In fact, Chinese banks doled out a record 16.17 trillion yuan or USD$2.3 trillion in new loans last year. Now its attempting to stimulate lagging economic growth that fell 0.02% from a record low in 2018 to rest at 27-year low of 6.2%. It is also expected that China's economic expansion will shrink to 5.5% by 2024.

Oh boy, that doesn't bode well for creditors.

India's Taj Mahal. It really does look like this India was thought to be a shining star of the BRICS collective, but it too fell victim to senseless economic growth powered by sovereign debt and corporate chicanery. Like China's LFVs, India's NFBCs or Non Banking Financial Companies, are helping to bring the emerging economy to its knees.

India's shadow banking system was, and is, rife with corruption. The Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) scandal which came to light late last year illustrates just how broken India's financial system actually is.

Ravi Parthasarathy Courtesy: India Times Ravi Parthasarathy ruled over IL&FS with an iron hand, intimidating both journalists and company directors since the corporation sprang from a infrastructure white paper penned in the 80s. Parthasarathy used a web of 300 companies to borrow from banks, mutual funds and pension pools.

After running through the initial World Bank loan, Parathasarathy and his army of managers, enacted what could be termed as a pyramid scheme where monies raised currently would be diverted to pay for past projects instead of funding new ones.

In keeping itself alive, IL&FS accumulated more than Rs 5,200 crore or USD$724.3 million in debt by 2017. Failure on behalf of auditors and regulating bodies, like the RBI, left management alone to cover up its felonious activity for almost four decades.

A year after IL&FS took the long walk off a short pier, India's debt crunch hasn't improved much. The country's farmers are locked in a debt trap and certain state governments have handed out loan waivers on three occasions since the scheme was implemented in 2008.

Between 2014 and 2018, 11 states announced farm loan waivers totaling more than a trillion rupees or USD$12.75 billion. Many small farmers in India live in a world of debt, having to borrow to buy seeds and equipment, it would seem like a smart idea to allow them to write off some of their fiduciary commitments so they can keep their head above water, but there are more hindrances to the agricultural and banking sector than benefits.

For instance, debt relief schemes create an environment of expectation where farmers not included with the program may think its only a matter of time before someone cancels their debt too. This happened in 1990 when the central government announced a nationwide loan waiver.

As a result of this "humanitarian" move, there was a decline in the rate of recovery of non-waived loans by financial institutions. Everybody wanted a piece and banks suffered as recovery rates in one state went from 75% to 40% within the space of a year after the waiver was announced. Now that politicians promised another national farm loan waiver program in 2019, banks will once again take it in the teeth.

However, as much media attention as farm loan waivers get, India's corporate debt is the real elephant in the room. In fact, total credit to industries was Rs 27 lakh crore in 2018 which is 35% of the total credit given to companies and individuals that year. Agricultural credit amounted to Rs 10 lakh crore, making up 13-14% of total bank credit given. India's billionaires are more in debt than its farmers. Not good and it's getting worse.

Macrotech Developers, India's largest real estate developer, grew its debt 13% to 25,640 crore or USD$3.6 billion in FY 2019. It was also reported in September that the ailing conglomerate laid off up to 400 people to combat a liquidity crunch, the company's mounting debt and a slumping real estate market. According to rating agency, Icra, Mumbai carries 45,000 crore or USD$6.27 billion of unsold residential units in the city.

No one is buying, no one is building and Macrotech had to pass on a planned IPO that would have raised 4,500 crore or USD$627 million to repay some of that debt. The defaults are coming, not only for sovereign debt holders.

Christ the Redeemer looking over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Brazil's foreign policy with Bolsanaro isn't necessarily conducive to the BRICS collective with its protectionist ideals and focused effort to topple Maduro's rule in Venezuela. The removal of Maduro, who has friends in Beijing and Moscow, will most likely sour Brazil's relationship with BRICS formative heavyweights.

Bolsonaro has proudly announced he is anti-globalist, taking a page from Trump's ham-handed attack on world trade. Populist politics aside, Brazil's bottom line is leaking red and bloated with debt. Since 2006, the country has hovered around 50% sovereign debt to GDP but in 2013 that ratio took a decided upward trajectory, ballooning to 77.22% by 2018.

Brazil isn't doing well the moment, socially, having secured the title of the most violent south american country. Bolsonaro's Social Liberal Party cabinet is a who's who of corrupt cranks including revisionist education ministers, military drug mules, an alleged colluding ex-judge.

The economic outlook isn't that great either as this month Brazil's central bank pulled back their projections for GDP growth by over half, going from 2% to just 0.8%. Brazilians have lost faith in this administration's ability to deal with its economic woes as illustrated by recent polls.

Bolsonaro's only tool is force and even though the murder rate dropped again this year by a fifth after already dropping in 2018, there is little to no correlation to Bolsonaro's preference for dead criminals and rampant police brutality.

In fact, experts surmise the cease fire in a gang war between the Capital Command and Red Command criminal organizations led to the drop in homicides across the country. Oddly enough, in states where police brutality was the highest, the murder rate actually grew or dropped less than the national average.

As the future of Brazil depends on the health of its ailing economy and reduction of its sovereign debt, Bolsonaro's ineffective populist antics and the continued lethargy of global trade won't help it establish a position within the BRICS pact, never mind maintain a leadership role.

The PIGS of EU

Italy's recent bond sale gives the impression that the once sickly EU member is on the mend, but appearances can be deceiving.

Giuseppe Conte's new "yellow-red" ruling blend with the Democrats is a far more moderate mix than the right-leaning Salvini-led "yellow-green" coalition. Conte isn't interested in breaking from the Euro or thumbing his nose at Brussels.

It is this compliance, not economic fundamentals, that triggered the success of Italy's US-dollar-dominated bond offering which brought in more than $18.0 billion in orders, but only sold $7 billion in 5-, 10- and 30-year notes as well as $2.0 billion in 10-year notes.

Otherwise, Italy remains in economic uncertainty. Even though Italy was a post-war growth story whose per capita income surpassed Britain in 1989, it has slipped into recession twice since the 2009 global financial crisis and its per capita income hasn't moved an inch in the last 20 years.

That's not all, the country's sovereign debt totaled $2.7 trillion back in July, making up 132% of its GDP – second only to Greece. Growth continued to be flat in H1 2019 and Q3 data is unimpressive.

Sovereign debt weighs heavy on unemployment as it continues to hover around 10% compared to the Eurozone average of 7.5%, but youth unemployment (15-24), which sits at 28%, dwarfs the Eurozone average of 15.4%. Whether its correlative or causative, there are five million Italians living below the poverty line and the distribution of that pain runs disproportionately along a geographical divide between north and south.

To make matters, the new government has to reduce spending by $23 billion by January 1, 2020 or face increases in its value added tax (VAT) regime. The 2020 budget that was just announced promises to do that and is waiting for approval from Brussels. Whether that budget is possible or based on a fantasy remains to be seen as it still hasn't been released to the public.

Budgeting and taxation become especially thorny considering Italy has a $200 billion dollar grey market shadow economy which grew out of the 2009 financial crisis that it needs to be brought into the light if the government hopes to meet any of its fiduciary commitments to the EU in 2020.

Italy's bond popularity is a dead cat bounce against a crappy global outlook, not recovery. This doesn't bode well for the Eurozone banking system as it is heavily exposed to Italy's outcome.

Catalan protesters Spain is in political chaos as it attempts to quell violent protests after the country determined last week it would jail some high profile Catalan secession activists for up to 13 years.

This turmoil sits on top of a sluggish global economy which the IMF forecasts to slip to 1.9% in 2020 from 2.2% in 2019. Unemployment figures have improved somewhat, but they're still an economic black eye at 13.8% in August this year. This dismal rate is more than Italy and France which sit at 9.5% and 8.5% respectively.

Unfortunately for Spain the IMF has predicted its unemployment rate will increase to 14.3% in 2020. This doesn't speak well of the fourth largest economy in the Eurozone whose sovereign debt makes up 98.9% of its GDP.

Spain produces 20% of the world's olive oil and olive farmers are getting hammered by plunging prices, often selling bottled oil for less than it cost to produce. Now they have a new 25% tariff to look forward to on EU goods going to the U.S.

Consumers may be spending more, but they also got a 22% hike to Spain's minimum wage this year. This shot in the arm may not be sustainable perhaps illustrated by the more than 50,000 Spaniards who lost their jobs in August.

Speaking of employment, Spain also has a shadow economy worth 190 billion Euros or USD$224 billion annually. Second only to Italy's grey labor market, Spain's under-the-table business segment could add as much as 20% to the country's GDP.

Adding insult to injury, domestic car sales in the country dropped 31% in August compared to the same month a year earlier and automobile exports remain flat. Bad news for autoworkers who make up almost 10% of Spain's employed.

The Spanish government just published its plan to stabilize growth. It intends to reduce sovereign debt to 95.9% by the end of 2019 with the goal of reducing sovereign debt further to 94.6% by the end of 2020. However, like most government promises, they didn't clearly state how they would do that.

Despite this sunny projection, analysts still call for continued deceleration in Spain, naming trade conflicts, protectionism and weakened political will as reasons.

The staggering sovereign debt accrued by the BRICS and EU members in a bid for growth has evolved into a millstone around their respective necks. Interest rates, trade disputes and global economic lethargy threaten to topple this fiscal house-of-cards, but is that an entirely bad thing?

With Trump's foray into anti-globalization and the resulting tariff wars, do trading blocks like BRICS or the EU really empower their members or subjugate them? Is regionalism the answer? Is sovereign debt a problem to be solved? Should globalization be taken behind the barn and put out of its misery or just Trump? The next 12 months are going to be very interesting…

Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Visits US, Attends 30 Meetings (Министр финансов Индии Нирмала Ситхараман посетила США и участвовала в 30 встречах) / India, October, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting

WASHINGTON, DC–Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman led the Indian delegation to the IMF/ World Bank Annual Meetings 2019 held in Washington DC this week.

On the side-lines of the Annual Meetings, she also attended the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meetings of the G20 and the BRICS. She took this opportunity to also interact with industrial and institutional investors in New York and in Washington DC and hold bilateral meetings with Finance Ministers of some countries and others. There were 30 meetings of the World Bank/ IMF/ G20/ BRICS, investors and bilateral meetings.

Investor meetings and other speaking engagements

  • In the New York leg of her programme, on the first day (Oct 15), she met Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati and exchanged views on a wide range of issues, including the economy. She had the occasion to address an enlightened audience at the Columbia University. She was invited to speak on 'Indian Economy: Prospects and Challenges', which was moderated by Prof. Arvind Panagariya.
  • On Oct 16 in New York, she met institutional investors over breakfast at a round-table organized by USISPF and FICCI, in collaboration with Bank of America. Later in the evening in Washington DC, she attended a global investors meet organized by FICCI and USISPF. There she mentioned that investors can find no better place in the world than India that has a democracy-loving and investor-respecting government. India is one of the fastest growing economies today. It has the best-skilled manpower and a government that is continuously doing what is required in terms of reforms, and above them rule of law, independent judiciary and vibrant press.
  • On Oct 17, she first met up with representatives of the US Industry brought together at a round table organized by the USIBC and CII. She discussed issues of interest to the US investors. In the evening, she met a group of Economists at the Indian Embassy. It was a healthy exchange of views about the state of the global economy in general, and the Indian economy in particular.
G20 and BRICS meetings

  • FM led Indian delegation for both these meetings, held on Oct 17 and 18. The focus of discussions in the G20 Working Dinner on Oct 17 was on the current challenges to the global economy and possible responses to mitigate them. She emphasized that the G20 has the responsibility to navigate the global policy co-ordination in effective fashion by identifying and taking strong measures for building buffers and catalysing a second wave of reforms. FM gave a clarion call for "concerted action" in the face of global slowdown. She also highlighted that the emerging market economies, in particular, face the challenge of achieving economic growth and inclusive development while pursuing sustainable financing. In this context, she emphasized the importance of countries pursuing structural reform measures to counter the growth slowdown. The structural reform measures undertaken by India was highlighted, particularly, the recent measures such as reduction of corporate tax. It was also indicated that India has reduced the base corporate income tax rate from 30% to 22% (and 15% for new manufacturing companies) thereby making India one of the lowest corporate tax imposing countries in the world today. This will spur investment. Alongside the corporate tax reform, Government of India's measures pertaining to Aaadhaar based direct benefit transfer as well as Universal Health Care policy received special mention. In conclusion, she re-emphasized the need for G20 to ensure collective action so as to enable global growth to regain pace.
  • FM led the Indian delegation to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting on Oct 18 in which, the deliberations centred on international taxation and Stablecoins. The Ministers and Governors also received updates from the G20 Deputies on Quality Infrastructure Investment, Debt Sustainability, Financing for Universal Health Care and Building Effective Country Platforms, and from the Africa Advisory Group on the Compact with Africa (CwA) initiative. On the discussions at the session regarding the work underway on developing a consensus solution on tax challenges arising from digitalization, she stated that a unified approach to the nexus and profit allocation challenges is a promising one that merits serious attention. A solution that is simple to implement, simple to administer and simple to comply with was needed.
  • In the BRICS FMCBG meeting on Oct 17, which FM also attended, the agenda included those pertaining to New Development Bank (such as membership expansion and enhancing the effectiveness of the utilization of the NDB's Project Preparation Facility); developing the way forward on IMF resources as well as formulating a consensus co-operation on Authorized Economic Operators Programme. On NDB issues, she emphasized India's strong support for NDB's membership expansion, under Governor's direction, and encouraged NDB Management to continue the good progress achieved on this issue till date. As far as improving the effectiveness of the Project Preparation Facility is concerned, she indicated that sustainable recovery mechanisms need to be inbuilt into the PPF guidelines so that the assistance extended is recovered once the project loan is sanctioned. Regarding the IMF resources issue, FM expressed India's deep regret on the lack of progress of the 15th General Review of Quotas (15th GRQ). With reference to the alternative proposal emerging at the current juncture with reference to strengthening borrowed resources of IMF, she expressed a word of caution and indicated that borrowed resources cannot provide full confidence in extreme crisis situations as creditor nations themselves may be in stress. She expressed expected completion of 16th GRQ in a timely fashion.
Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank

  • FM led the Indian delegation to the Annual Meetings Plenary session of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group held on Oct 18, 2019. She attended the two session of the Development Committee (DC), the ministerial-level committee of the IMF and the World Bank. In the DC Lunch Session on Oct 18, the members discussed about the global economic outlook. She mentioned that trade wars and protectionism have generated uncertainties that will ultimately impact flow of capital, goods and services. FM exhorted the community of nation towards "concerted action". There is need to strengthen the spirit of multilaterism and develop a new paradigm of global cooperation. FM further added that the increased trade integration, geopolitical uncertainties, and high accumulated debt levels necessitate strong global coordination and that we need not wait for the slowdown to become a crisis. In the DC Plenary Session on Oct 19, she mentioned three key issues: (i) in pursuing investment led growth, we should not neglect sustainability, efficiency and transparency in debt and tax policies; (ii) investments must generate domestic revenues that can be channelized into effective public spending in health, education and skilling so that youth can get jobs and benefit from the economic growth; and (iii) strong policies and good governance for inclusive growth are essential to sustain investments.
  • The 40th meetings of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) of the IMF are being held at this year's Annual Meetings. Finance Minister attended two sessions of the IMFC on Oct 19. The IMFC Restricted Breakfast session is a dialogue on policy challenges. At the IMFC Plenary Session, she stated that risks / imbalances reinforce the need to strengthen global co-operation at the multilateral level, besides governmental initiatives. IMF should provide solutions specific to important growth geographies to help alleviate the current conundrum. She reiterated Government's disappointment on inconclusive close of 15th GRQ.
Bilateral meetings

  • On the side-lines, FM had a fruitful dialogue with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. They agreed to continue the dialogue in the first week of November, during his visit to Delhi.
  • On the side-lines of the Annual Meetings, FM also held several bilateral meetings on both Oct 17 and 18, with Chancellor of Exchequer United Kingdom, Mr. Sajid Javid; Secretary of State for Development of the United Kingdom, Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma; Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of South Korea, Mr. Hong Nam Ki; President of the World Bank, Mr. David Malpass; Special Advisor to Japanese Prime Minister and Candidate for ADB, Mr. Masatsugu Asakawa; Governor of JBIC, Mr. Tadashi Maeda; Global CEO of Standard Chartered, Mr. Bill Winters; First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Russia, Mr. Anton Siluanov; Finance Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, Ms. Baktygul Jeenbaeva; Finance Minister of Switzerland, Mr. Ulei Maurer; the Australian Treasurer, Mr. Josh Frydenberg; the Finance Minister of Maldives, Mr. Ibrahim Ameer; and the Senior Minister of Singapore, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
Sustainable Development Goals in Context to BRICS Countries (Цели устойчивого развития в контексте стран БРИКС) / India, October, 2019
Keywords: research, ecology, sustainable_development

Sustainable Development Goals calls for a substantial increase in the share of solar energy in the global energy mix, as well as for a more efficient use of energy. With the considerable cost of degradation in the environment at USD80 billion annually, which is equivalent to 5.7% of GDP in 2009, a major constraint in sustaining future economic growth could be the environment (Griffith-Jones in A BRICS development bank: a dream coming true? (No. 215), 2014). In this present work, an attempt has been made to outline and focus on the goals set by BRICS countries with the aid of the major financial institutions and the socio economic groups for these five countries and the action plans taken as an initiative for the sustainable development of the energy sector at large and solar energy in specific. India is planning to increase the production of renewable energy by 40% within 2030 and in turn reduce emissions intensity by 33–35% over 2005 levels (Schmidt and Sewerin in Nat Energy 2(6):17084, 2017). China on the other hand intends to reduce emission intensity by 60–65% over 2005 levels by increasing its solar energy capacity from 43GW at the end of 2015 to 127GW by 2020. Russia's current emissions are around 40% lower than 1990 levels which are greater than the target set of 25–30% over 1990 levels. More emphasis is given in developing sustainable renewable green energy. Brazil is arguably in the best position to achieve its goals in renewable energy sphere, as in 2015, 74% of its energy came from renewable sources (Schmidt and Sewerin in Nat Energy 2(6):17084, 2017). South Africa has a very far way to go in the field of renewable energy as at present more than 90% of the energy are still generated from fossil fuels though the country has targets to commission another 17.8 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2020.
BRICS sign cooperation with Global Network of Human Milk Bank (БРИКС подписал соглашение о сотрудничестве с Глобальной сетью банков молока человека) / Brazil, October, 2019
Keywords: concluded_agreements, cooperation, social_issues

The 1st Brics Workshop on Human Milk Bank, held in Brasilia from August 28th to August 30th, resulted in the construction of an international agenda and a commitment signature to mobilize efforts to expand and share knowledge and technologies focused on food and neonata nutritional safety; and childhood care, with the right to health as its central value. The action will be coordenated and it will have as reference, the Fiocruz Brazilian Human Milk Bank Network (rBLH-BR) The workshop was part of Fiocruz's 120th anniversary celebrations.

Fiocruz's Brazilian Network of Human Milk Banks (rBLH-BR) will be a reference (photo: Sergio Velho Junior, Fiocruz Brasília)

The document will be taken to the next meeting of BRICS ministers - a group of emerging economies from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa scheduled for October to base the establishment of Human Milk Bank Networks in their countries.

Brasília is an example for Brazil and for the world. The federal capital was chosen to host the event because it is the only self-sufficient city in human milk banks in the world, able to offer human milk to 100% of newborns admitted to intensive and semi-intensive neonatal therapy units. The city will receive a pilot study from the first Human Milk Bank Network Collaborating Center. "Nothing better than an event of this level and size to show what we really expect. The workshop marks the importance that Fiocruz Brasilia represents in this process, here it is as a technology diffuser pole", said the coordinator of the Global Network of Human Milk Bank and researcher of Fiocruz, João Aprigio.

According to him, the event was an important milestone in the global health perspective and exceeded its goals. "We realize that the representatives of research institutions that have been here, place great confidence and hope in our cooperation as an important strategy to help them overcome difficulties and problems they have in this important and overlooked area of food security, and nutritional care in neonatal care," he explained. He said Fiocruz has contributed to this area in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America, the Hispanic Caribbean, the Iberian Peninsula, Africa, and now with the BRICS. "They need us and we need them, these countries have a lot to offer, with a millennial culture from the perspective of functional foods. And we have already worked on breast milk as a functional food. It will be a future action with many benefits for all of us." Aprigio said that now begins a new phase, with a new management model, greater regionalization and reimbursement and integration of new regional units.

To Miriam Santos, Coordinator of Breastfeeding Policies and the Secretary of Health of the Human Milk Bank, the Collaborating Center is what it was missing in Brasilia because much milk is collected and distributed and many women are cared for, but there are no published studies on this work. "The expectation is to qualify in scientific form. We already have a good management of the network and now we need to put it on paper even as a model for other people. Let us be an example of how we can work on breastfeeding and how to collect human milk so that our children have better health and from there we will have better adults, less burden on the health system," he said.

Brics representatives were able to get to know the collection, pasteurization and storage experience at the Human Milk Bank of the Taguatinga Regional Hospital, which has been in existence for 41 years and was the first in the Federal District (DF) and the fifth in Brazil for collection, pasteurization and storage.

Leaders and Technicians from Russia, China and Brazil Brought Together at 9th BRICS International Foundry Forum (Лидеры и технические специалисты из России, Китая и Бразилии собрались вместе на 9-м Международном литейном форуме БРИКС) / Germany, October, 2019
Keywords: cooperation

Bringing together the main players of the national and international foundry, the 18th FENAF (Latin American Foundry Fair) attracted a highly qualified audience (42% presidents / managers of companies) and a significant amount of business of R$50 millions.

During the four days of the event, it was possible to follow the CONAF (ABIFA Foundry Congress) and the 9th BRICS International Foundry Forum that brought together in Brazil leaders and technicians from Russia, China and Brazil who discussed the directions of the foundry sector and new technologies that are being developed in related industries. This year, the event was held in the Pro Magno Event Center in São Paulo, on 9,650 square meters with one hundred exhibitors.

CAEF represented at the 9th International BRICS Foundry Forum 2019
Luis Filipe Villas-Boas, President of the CAEF Executive Committee, represented CAEF The European Foundry Association at the International BRICS Foundry Forum, which took place on 18 September 2019 in São Paulo City, Brazil. At the same time ABIFA, the Brazilian Foundry Association, celebrated their 50th anniversary and organised FENAF 2019 – the Latin American Foundry Fair. During the forum information on the foundry industry´s situation, such as the economic scenario, industry sustainability pollution control, new technologies and implementation of industry 4.0, and other trends were shared among the BRICS nations (delegations from China, Russia and Brazil were present).

This year, Mr Villas-Boas was invited to give the opening lecture of the 9th Foundry Forum. He presented the current status and perspectives of the European foundry industry. In addition, he explained the economic situation in Europe and reported on the latest figures. Finally, Luis Filipe Villas-Boas presented the foundries' expectations based on the Foundry Industry Sentiment (FISI) and pointed out future challenges as well as political fields of action.

Concurrently with the fair, CONAF gathered around 170 participants who, during the four days of the event, attended the panels and lectures where relevant industry topics such as "New steels for the automotive sector" and "Process automation for production" were discussed.

Already the BRICS gathered representatives of the foundry sector of Brazil, Russia and China. On the agenda of the meeting was economic scenario, sustainability and industry, pollution control, new technologies and implementation of industry model 4.0.

Promoted by ABIFA, FENAF and CONAF, the next meeting is scheduled for 2020 in Moscow, Russia.

Project brings together professionals and academics from BRICS countries to produce knowledge about legal systems across the bloc (Проект объединяет профессионалов и ученых из стран БРИКС для получения знаний о правовых системах по всему блоку) / Brazil, October, 2019
Keywords: cooperation, social_issues

The project will bring together regulators, companies, law firms and academics in a discussion forum to answer these questions based on studies of concrete problems of major social and economic importance.

In 2030, the bloc composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will account for more than half of the global economy, according to projections. Despite this, there has been little academic output in Brazil to help regulators and legal professionals understand the real differences and similarities across these countries' legal systems, as well as the risks and opportunities arising from growing economic and political cooperation between them.

To help fill this gap, this year the FGV´s Sao Paulo Law School launched the BRICS Law Project, a set of initiatives encompassing education, research and extension activities, aimed at promoting the development of legal knowledge about these countries' legal systems and creating opportunities for professionals and academics across the bloc to share their experiences. The idea is to educate and train Brazilian professionals to understand the legal and institutional environments in these countries and enable them to act as mediators between their respective systems and Brazilian law, besides proposing public and private sector solutions to existing regulatory and business challenges.

"There are many issues that people haven't even attempted to respond to," say professors Thiago Reis and André Corrêa, the project's coordinators at the FGV´s Sao Paulo Law School. Examples of these issues include the way the BRICS countries' legal systems respond to the challenges posed by globalization and growing demand for domestic economic development, as well as common problems facing these countries.

The project, designed in 2018 following a visit to four Chinese law schools in Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan, will bring together regulators, companies, law firms and academics in a discussion forum to answer these questions based on studies of concrete problems of major social and economic importance. Earlier this year, the FGV´s Sao Paulo Law School held its first bilateral meeting with Beijing Normal University and it is preparing for its second meeting, which will take place in early December in Beijing. On October 21 and 22, the school will also host its first bilateral meeting with O.P. Jindal Global University / University of Delhi.

In addition to bilateral meetings, the FGV´s Sao Paulo Law School is running a BRICS Private Law module for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as representatives of organizations that support the project, who will bring their professional perspectives to the debate. This module will include workshops open to the public, featuring representatives of each BRICS country, to seek closer links in the field of private law through comparative studies of four key areas – property, contracts, responsibility and family – and their interfaces with challenges related to social organization and economic development.

Research networks can help BRICS countries combat invasive species (Исследовательские сети могут помочь странам БРИКС в борьбе с инвазивными видами) / South Africa, October, 2019
Keywords: research, expert_opinion
South Africa

BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) should establish more networks of researchers dedicated to invasion science if they wish to curb the spread of invasive species within and outside of their borders. This is one of the major recommendations of an international study published in the Journal PLoS Biology recently.

"BRICS countries are home to a large proportion of the world's biodiversity which is threatened by among others, invasive species, habitat conversion, exploitation, climate change and pollution. To protect this rich biodiversity against invasive species in particular, these countries must form a facilitated network of existing invasion biologists and social scientists with specialties across their biomes (ecosystems characterized by their distinctive association of plants and animals)," says lead author Prof John Measey from the Centre for Invasive Biology at Stellenbosch University. Measey conducted the study with colleagues from universities and research institutions in other BRICS countries.

He says that while developed countries are producing policies to reduce the flow of invasive species and control or eradicate existing invasions, most developing countries are under-resourced to tackle either aspect without help.

Helping to address this, Measey and his colleagues came up with a model for a "facilitated" network and made suggestions of how it could be implemented by BRICS countries to meet the next set of targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2030.

"Implementing a proactive 'facilitated network' model is urgently required to build capacity and stimulate effective appropriate invasion science. Equal to the requirement of rapid responses to research of emerging alien species is the need to substantially increase the capacity to tackle existing and future invasions in BRICS countries."

Measey says while the standard approach to building institutions is to concentrate resources at a single location, a facilitated network approach would allow BRICS countries to respond efficiently to invasion threats and to build and maintain capacity for the future.

"Capacity built by the networks can be rapidly absorbed into government and NGO sectors, and there will be an assured continuation of invasion biologists in academic positions. Once established, these networks can form cross-network links—building on the response of the global network on biological invasions—to positively influence the global response to invasions among developed and developing countries alike."

Measey points out that this network revolves around a hub-and-spoke model that draws on existing excellence in invasion biology research within each country to quickly grow capacity and collaboration.

"The hub (at the institution of the director) contains administrative staff to facilitate the network and disburse finances to Core Team Members (CTMs), already employed through their home institutions, and their associated researchers.

"While the hub may serve as a physical home representing the network, the network serves to study invasions in multiple contexts within the often-unique cultural and biological situations that exist elsewhere in the countries."

Measey adds that a facilitated network would allow for annual research meetings where all CTMs and students can be brought together in a conventional conference.

"It will also create opportunities for funding to have international plenaries present contextual, cutting-edge research that will include representatives from other BRICS networks."

He calls for social scientists to be included in this network, adding that when it comes to tackling problems such as invasive species, economics and psychology traditionally took a back seat.

Measey says it is important to have a network of dedicated researchers because BRICS countries share invasive plant and animal species and also have large areas with matching biomes. He adds that some of the world's most highly impacting species also come from these countries.

"These commonalities among BRICS countries call for an interconnected facilitated network dealing with invasive species."

Measey points out that, as signatories of the CBD, BRICS countries are busy preparing their responses to the CBD's Aichi Biodiversity Target 9, which include the need to recognize invasive species, as well as to determine by 2020 the ways in which they spread.

"Once the Aichi targets have been met, the CBD will set new targets relating to invasive species. Meeting new targets will require growing national capacity of invasion scientists with knowledge that relates to specific biomes within each BRICS nation.

"Achieving this will require more than the transitory international collaborative projects advocated previously but rather in-country institutions that can maintain recruitment and extend beyond the careers of individual researchers, extending scientific knowledge to applied management carried out by government institutions and the nongovernmental organization (NGO) sector."

Measey is optimistic about the impact of a network of researchers in each of the BRICS countries, saying that it could start making meaningful policy input as well as building capacity within their country and positively influencing their region within five years, and with minimal cost to each host nation.

He adds that an increased number of networks of researchers dedicated to invasion science will ultimately be beneficial to all.

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