Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 45.2019
2019.11.04 — 2019.11.10
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Cooperation to make BRICS voice louder: Brazil congressman (Сотрудничество сделает голос БРИКС громче - конгрессмен Бразилии) / China, November, 2019
Keywords: quotation, summit

"I am very much looking forward to the 11th BRICS Summit and the attendance of President Xi Jinping at the meeting. I believe that the meeting is bound to yield fruitful results," said Fausto Pinato, chairman of the Parliamentary Front of the Brazil-China National Congress and the BRICS Parliamentary Front.

BRICS countries will conduct dialogue and discussion in a harmonious and inclusive manner and make important contributions to improving global governance, he said.

The Parliamentary Front of the Brazil-China National Congress, established in 2017, aims to promote friendly cooperation between Brazil and China. Its members account for more than half of Brazil's congressmen.

As the relations between the two countries and among BRICS countries deepened, Brazil established the BRICS Parliamentary Front in 2019, paving the way for exchanges and cooperation among BRICS countries.

Development is the common goal of BRICS countries, Pinato said. Though the five countries have different national conditions and cultural backgrounds, they all hope to increase their voice in international affairs through equal and open dialogue, and promote mutual cooperation, complement each other's advantages, and join hands for mutually beneficial cooperation. Therefore, the cooperation mechanism is very important.

Pinato highly appreciates China's important role in promoting BRICS cooperation and global development, saying China's role is crucial in the international arena.

"The BRICS cooperation mechanism allows BRICS countries to strengthen exchanges and mutual learning and share governance experience," he said, pointing out that China's development experience is worth learning for other emerging markets and developing countries.

The BRICS countries should strengthen cooperation so as to make a louder voice on international affairs.

Pinato, who is also chairman of the Committee on Agriculture of the National Congress of Brazil, places high hopes on BRICS agricultural cooperation.

Brazil is a traditional agricultural country with superior natural conditions, but there is still much room for improvement in agricultural technology, he said.

"I am optimistic about the cooperation potential of BRICS countries in agriculture. I hope they can provide more financial and policy support for Brazil's agricultural development, especially to strengthen the support for small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises," he pointed out.

BRICS countries have a relatively solid economic foundation and a large market, and the cooperation prospects are broad, Pinato said. The energy the mechanism releases and its potential can meet the urgent needs of emerging market countries and developing countries.

Brazil adopts a very positive attitude to BRICS cooperation. It is expected that at the 11th BRICS Summit, all parties could further reach consensus on the current international economic situation, deepen people-to-people exchanges and economic and trade cooperation, and work together to improve global governance, he added.

Goyal to visit 9th BRICS trade ministers meet in Brazil, US next week (Гоял посетит 9-ю встречу министров торговли стран БРИКС в Бразилии и США на следующей неделе) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting,trade_relations

New Delhi , Nov 9 : Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal will attend the 9th BRICS trade ministers meet being held at Brazil's capital city of Brasilia next week, according to an official statement released on Saturday.

The discussions will be focussed on opportunities for enhanced intra-BRICS trade and investment cooperation. Issues like cooperation in e-commerce, investment facilitation, MSMEs and intellectual property rights will be debated.

Deliberations on current global economic and trade environment besides challenges facing the multilateral trading system will also come up for discussions on Monday.

A memorandum of understanding among trade and investment promotion agencies of BRICS countries will be signed to pay the way for close collaboration.

During his second leg of his visit on November 12, Goyal is scheduled to meet representatives of medical devices manufacturing companies.

A day later in Washington, Goyal will have a meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to discuss outstanding bilateral issues and arrive at a shared understating on a mutually beneficial basis.

Besides, he will hold high-level industry interaction with business and industry representatives in New York.
BRICS Summit: Curbing terrorism, digital economy to be focus areas (Саммит БРИКС: борьба с терроризмом и цифровая экономика будут в центре внимания) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, terrorism, political_issues, expert_opinion

The theme of the two-day summit starting Nov 13 is "Economic Growth for an Innovative Future", where Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will talk about boosting cooperation among the member nations.

According to TS Trimurti, Secretary Economic Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, "This is the sixth time that the Prime Minister is participating at the BRICS Summit. The first time it was at Fortaleza in Brazil in 2014." (Reuters) With the focus on deeper multilateralism and stronger world economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads to Brazil for the 11th BRICS summit next week. The theme of the two-day summit starting Nov 13 is "Economic Growth for an Innovative Future", where Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will talk about boosting cooperation among the member nations.

During several ministerial meetings leading up to the summit, New Development Bank, money laundering, digital economy, organised crimes, fight against terrorism as well as scientific-technical and innovative cooperation, are some of the priority areas where the five countries will focus.

According to Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU, "India's engagement with the BRICS involves three key elements: develop mechanisms to counter-terrorism, 'reformed multilateralism' and encourage intra-BRICS trade and cooperation. Focus on terrorism remains India's main priority and it would like to build a consensus on methods to curb the menace of global terrorism by enhancing cooperation with other BRICS countries. Russia, Brazil and South Africa may offer unconditional support, but China is unlikely to endorse India's case if it involves Pakistan, directly or indirectly."

In his view, the BRICS has taken some important initiatives to promote trade and other cooperation in the field of science, culture, education and sport. "Women's Business Forum is an important addition this year. This should be welcomed."

On the other hand, Prof Rajesh Rajagopalan, School of International Studies, JNU, says that "The idea of BRICS as an international grouping is declining, and understandably so. There is little that unites these countries, other than the ambition to be more important players in the global system. But that did not really unite these countries because, obviously, their individual ambitions conflicted with each other. Thus, China has undermined Indian ambitions to become a UN Security Council permanent member, while Brazil and South Africa were less than happy about the special concessions were given to India under the NSG."

"Moreover, beyond this ambition, there is little real common interest that unites these powers. In fact, the conflict of interest between China and India is increasingly likely to make India the odd man out in the grouping because the other members are more likely to support China, thus isolating India. Russia is already very dependent on China, and South Africa and Brazil see Beijing as far more useful compared to New Delhi," Rajagopalan adds.

This will be Modi's second visit to the South American nation and the first after the after new administration led by President Jair Bolsonaro assumed office earlier this year. The summit comes close on the heels of the recently concluded ASEAN summit and India's decision not to join the China-initiated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact.

According to TS Trimurti, Secretary Economic Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, "This is the sixth time that the Prime Minister is participating at the BRICS Summit. The first time it was at Fortaleza in Brazil in 2014."

Besides meeting at the summit level, there will be bilateral meetings too between the leaders of the member states. Modi has already met with the leaders earlier at different multilateral forums including the on the margins of G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan this year.

Accompanied by a high-level official delegation, according to MEA there will be a business delegation led by industry chamber FICCI. At the BRICS Business Forum meet, the business community of all five countries will be represented and this will also give an opportunity to all participants to seek deeper cooperation in various sectors.

Though there have been meetings at the multilateral forum, according to Trimurti, "This will be the first time that the Prime Minister Modi will have a formal bilateral meeting with the Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro."

With Brazil holding the chair this year of BRICS which represents over 3.6 billion population and have a combined nominal GDP of $ 16.6 trillion. As a whole, the BRICS brings together five major world economies.
BRICS can set example for the rest of the world: Brazilian envoy (БРИКС может показать пример остальному миру: посол Бразилии) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: quotation, expert_opinion

Brazil is all set to host this year's BRICS summit which will see Indian PM Modi participating. Speaking to our diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal, Brazilian envoy to India Andre Aranha Correa Do Lago said one of the key objectives of the summit will be innovation and how these five countries - India, Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa can work together and set an example for the world.


WION: What will be the main agenda of the BRICS summit?

Andre Aranha Correa Do Lago: We are very happy to host the summit, this is the 11th BRICS summit and what really Brazil thinks is very important, its economic growth, innovation and technology for the future, which is an important objective. There are different things happening in the world, but we have to focus on this, how much these countries can get together and this can improve things and economic growth, science, technology and innovation.

WION: How much global growth can be part of the talks, since BRICS is a grouping based on economic issues?

Andre Aranha Correa Do Lago: As you know, we have very different circumstances, India has been growing very strongly, as well as China but Russia, Brazil, South Africa have been growing through more difficult times with much less significant percentage of growth.

What we know, we are all living in a world full of uncertainties and since these economies got together in the group, because of our economic significance, we have to show we have lines that we follow and that their things to show what can be done between us and that can be example for rest of the world.

WION: Are you planning to call other Latin American countries?

Andre Aranha Correa Do Lago: In this BRICS summit, the Brazilian government decided not to call anybody else, just five leaders and somehow we want to concentrate on the leadership of the five countries.

It will also be a celebration because one doesn't notice but during the process of presidency of BRICS we had several meetings. This year we organising over 90 government meetings, 17 at the level of ministers and also 15 people-to-people meet which is a great achievement. BRICS institutions coming together.

The summit is not something to be looked at in isolation, it is in fact, the symbolic end of engagements.

WION: How are current India-Brazil ties faring?

Andre Aranha Correa Do Lago: The relationship is getting stronger, and you have to think of one element, which is forgotten, the most important new groups formed recently to try to solve some of the difficulties we have in multilateral, basically BRICS formed to deal with economics and trade regarding the IMF, WTO but we have also we have the group G4 to deal the UN issues.

In G4, we have India with Brazil, and then IBSA that concentrates on south-south cooperation and has big democracies in three different continents and it is being preceded by India this year. SO whatever geometry we choose to try to overcome the difficulties of traditional structure, India and Brazil are always together.

WION: Any high-level visits in the offing from Brazil to India?

Andre Aranha Correa Do Lago: I hope so. As you know reports of things that can happen, the fact this is a very good moment for the relationship and there is a very good understanding between our leaders in the Osaka G20 meet and it has continued.

We all know how important it is to have a special relationship between the leaders and will be good to have more high-level visits.

WION: What is your take on UN reforms?

Andre Aranha Correa Do Lago: Well, I hope yes. As a Brazilian diplomat I have believe in the United Nations and both India and Brazil want to work with the UN, we don't want to reduce the strength of the UN.

But the world has changed since 1945 and no doubt reforms are needed. It is a complex process and we have to remember, their can't be reforms without considering India and Brazil, this is the main message and the reform should reduce us.
BRICS is new model of international contact: Russian envoy to India (БРИКС - новая модель международных контактов: российский посланник в Индии) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: quotation, expert_opinion

Ahead of the BRICS Summit in Brazil next week, Russian envoy to India Nikolay Kudashev spoke to our diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal.

Kudashev said that the grouping is a new model of international, political and economic contact. While confirming Modi-Putin meet next week on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit, Kudashev said that Russia supports India's idea of holding a global comprehensive convention against terrorism or CCIT that calls for a common definition of terror as well as PM Modi's idea to convene a global conference on counter-terror.

Here is the transcript of the interview.

WION: What will be the main focus of the BRICS Summit in Brazil?

Kudashev: The summit testifies that the BRICS remain very much relevant and remains capable of generating new ideas and the new vision for the future. For us, as a regional member to the BRICS, our highest priority will be the position of the group of 5 as a new model of international, political and economic contact. No less important will be the issue of strategic stability, multipolarity, peace and security. Economic dimensions of BRICS have greater and greater importance. In the offing are BRICS women business alliance, BRICS platform for energy research. Issue of new challenges and threats, counter-terrorism and information security will be in focus. Russia advocates a separate pact on information security which is of great importance for us. Multiple ideas are put forward by our BRICS partners, including India, for enhanced humanitarian connect.

WION: Will PM Modi meet Russian President Putin in Brazil?

Kudashev: Yes, it is in the offing. It will be premature for me to announce the specific date and time, but it will happen. Our relation with India is special and in the coming year, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of our strategic partnership, the 10th anniversary of our specially privilege strategic partnership, the 75th anniversary in the great patriotic war and 550th anniversary of the first contact between India and Russia.

WION: When will the training of Gaganyaan astronauts begin in Russia?

Kudashev: The legal environment is there and the sooner we start doing the business and start the training procedure, the better it is because time goes by very fast and the flight will come very soon.

WION: Indian defence minister was in Moscow. When can we see an inter-government agreement on Reciprocal Logistics Support (ARLS) ?

Kudashev: I could say that we remain committed to this agreement, committed to doing it at the earliest, so I believe doing in the course of coming 2-3 months, it will be there.

WION: Terror remains a key global concern, including for India, how are both countries are increasing the counter-terror initiative?

Kudashev: We should help each other. We actively cooperate at the global level and at the regional level. We do exchange our experiences, information and certain material. Russia is supportive of India's idea of doing a global comprehensive convention against terrorism and remains supportive of PM Modi's idea to convene a global conference on counter-terror.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
New Members for BRICS New Development Bank? (Новые члены для НБР БРИКС?) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: ndb, expert_opinion, brics+

In the past several weeks ahead of the BRICS summit in Brazil a number of initiatives were unveiled by representatives of the BRICS economies. One of the more significant discussions centered on the expansion in the membership of the New Development Bank (NDB). According to the Deputy Finance Minister of Russia Sergey Storchak BRICS countries may give the green light to the expansion in the Bank's membership at the BRICS summit in Brazil this year. In effect, the expansion in the membership of the Bank may lower the urgency of the expansion in the core BRICS membership, while the pattern of the expansion in NDB's membership may be considered as one of the trajectories of the BRICS+ cooperation between core BRICS members and their regional partners from the developing world.

In fact, it is through the expansion in NDB's membership that the BRICS+ concept can be institutionalized during the very initial stages of its implementation. According to Sergey Storchak, one of the potential paths for the expansion in NDB's membership could involve the accession to the Bank of the regional partners of the core BRICS economies. After the BRICS summit consultations are set to take place between core BRICS countries and accession candidates, with the technical details of the accession of new members hammered out at the technical level with the participation of Bank's management.

Such a regional approach in the expansion of NDB's membership makes economic sense since it allows core BRICS economies to pursue more actively connectivity integration with their regional neighbors with financing for the corresponding projects provided by NDB. Such a sequencing of the accession of new countries to NDB will also provide greater scope for customs cooperation that the BRICS countries are seeking to boost in 2020 – according to Sergey Storchak one of the priority spheres of cooperation will be the creation of BRICS authorized economic operators – organizations that will serve to facilitate the customs procedures in the trade between BRICS countries. A regional strategy in the expansion of NDB's membership also enables the Bank to exploit the potential synergies that exist between NDB's financial instruments and the regional mechanisms that may complement and amplify the effects of the bank's project financing.

In this respect, the economic effects and the potential for pursuing connectivity integration of core BRICS economies with their regional partners could be further reinforced via creating a platform for the cooperation of regional development banks and funds where BRICS countries are members. This platform of regional development banks could comprise the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), the SAARC Development Fund (SDF), Mercosur Structural Convergence Fund (FOCEM), China Development Bank (CDB), China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund (CAF), and the New Development Bank (NDB). As noted before, within this group of development institutions, the NDB could potentially perform a coordinating role with respect to BRICS+ initiatives.

In terms of cooperation between the regional development banks of BRICS countries, in 2016 the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) in collaboration with the New Development Bank, Nord Hydro, and the International Investment Bank (IIB) signed an agreement on construction of small hydropower plants in the Republic of Karelia (Russia). The project may be the first completed NDB project in the Bank's loan portfolio. In April 2017, the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) signed a memorandum on cooperation with the NDB.

In the end, the main potential in the "regionalistic expansion" of NDB membership is the continental connectivity integration among BRICS members and their regional partners, most notably in the case of Africa. Indeed, connectivity integration lays a firmer foundation for African economies to pursue development via building regional cooperation rather than relying mostly on external assistance. A regional approach to building BRICS cooperation with African countries could also rely on the cooperation between the respective regional development banks, such as the Development Bank of South Africa as well as the African Development Bank – in both cases South Africa is a member. As noted back in 2017 in my Valdai publication, "the BRICS New Development Bank and its regional center in Africa could play a coordinating role in the efforts of regional and national development institutions in advancing greater regional connectivity" (see Yaroslav Lissovolik. A BRICS+ framework for Africa: targeting regional connectivity, Valdai club, December 4, 2017)[1].

One of the questions will be whether it makes sense to have a material expansion early on or whether the approach should be incremental, with several rounds of expansion eventually bringing NDB's membership closer to a combination of regional economic blocks where core BRICs countries are members. On this issue gradualism and caution may be warranted as the New Development Bank will need to establish a firm track-record of completed projects among its members early on before significantly increasing the ranks of its members.

In the longer term the patterns outlined by the expansion in NDB's membership may set the trails for developing the BRICS+ format in other areas, including with respect to potential coordination of regional integration blocks, such as the Eurasian Economic Union, MERCOSUR, SACU and others. Another dimension with respect to the BRICS+ format may also be the cooperation among the regional financing arrangements (RFAs) such as the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD), the BRICS CRA, Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), etc. In effect the BRICS+ format may serve as a platform for bringing together the bulk of the countries of the Global South in areas of cooperation that span continental connectivity, trade, investment and assistance for purposes of sustainable development.
NDB to Back Renewables in India, Brazil (NDB поддержит возобновляемые источники энергии в Индии и Бразилии) / China, November, 2019
Keywords: ndb, investments

The New Development Bank (NDB) said it approved a USD-300-million (EUR 270.7m) loan to India's REC Ltd, a public infrastructure financier, to support the Indian government's investment in the renewable energy sector.

The bank's contribution will be directed at improving India's power mix through funds for construction and commissioning of renewable energy projects, the multilateral lender said.

The NDB, formerly known as the BRICS Development Bank, also agreed to provide USD 500 million as a sovereign loan to Brazil for the nation's climate fund project Fundo Clima. This disbursement will enable Fundo Clima to expand its on-lending operations to climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

The renewable energy sector, as well as urban mobility, waste treatment and energy efficiency enterprises, can expect to be financed under this loan, the NDB said.

Renewables Now
Asian Foreign Direct Investment in Russia (Прямые иностранные инвестиции в Россию) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: economic_challenges, expert_opinion

Yana Grigoryeva, Intern at the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research - special for InfoBRICS

The imposition of anti-Russian sanctions in 2014 by economically developed countries definitely impacts on the configuration of Russia's investment links. The percentage of the federal support for the far Eastern regions is increasing. The direction of Russian investment flows changes towards Asia and the role of the Eastern regions of Russia grows. However, according to experts, building economic relations with Asian countries, including China and India, faces certain difficulties. What is the role of Siberia and the Far East in the formation of the "Eastern way" of Russian investment relations and, in particular, in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI)? It is known that the geographical proximity of the territories contributes to the intensification of investment ties. If the Russian Eastern regions are really interested in neighboring countries, it certainly improves the prospects for investment cooperation.

Since the beginning of the anti-Russian sanctions, the share of FDI attracted to Russia from Asian countries has increased dramatically. In 2016, it exceeded 50%, whereas before in some years it did not reach 1%. Of course, this can be seen as evidence of the increasing importance of Asian investments for Russia.


Foreign direct investment in Russia, 2016 (million dollars):

Europe – 5978

America – 9584

Asia - 17376


Europe - 18.1 (60.1 – in 2008)

America - 29.1 (23.6)

Asia - 52.7 (0.8)


The increase in Asia's share of the total FDI balance is mainly because of the decrease in the share of the investment from Europe. In terms of FDI from China, the maximum balance was in 2014 ($1.27 billion), in the next two years, it declined, amounting to only $ 350 million. The structure of accumulated FDI in Russia also indicates of the weakening role of Chinese investment. At the beginning of 2017, China ranked only 20th in accumulated FDI in Russia.

Since the beginning of 2014, it has more than halved (from 4547 million dollars to 2271 million dollars). The dynamics and structure of accumulated FDI, as we can see in official statistics, are also largely determined by single transactions (projects). Thus, the privatization of "Rosneft" led to a sharp increase in the share of investments from Singapore. A threefold increase in accumulated FDI from Italy and the reduction in the role of Austria was due to the restructuring of UniCredit Bank. So, the flow of FDI to Russia has not yet become sustainable, the scale of investments is relatively small, their dynamics and structure are determined by single transactions related to the implementation of certain major projects or restructuring of companies, mainly with state participation.

Traditionally, the so-called neighborhood effect has been considered one of the main factors influencing the dynamics, distribution and accumulation of FDI. Good knowledge of the neighboring country, geographical proximity, and in some cases also cultural and historical community, as a rule, increase the share of neighboring countries in the structure of FDI and increase the concentration of investments in border regions. China and the Republic of Korea are among the top twenty countries in terms of FDI accumulated in Russia.

"Komatsu", a leading Japanese manufacturer of construction and forestry equipment, operates in the Yaroslavl region.

The commodity plays a significant role in attracting FDI from East Asian countries, especially from China. The most well-known projects of East Asian investors include factories for the production of household appliances ("LG" in the Moscow region and "Samsung" in Kaluga). Udmurtia reached the fifth place in the list of the main recipient regions because since 2006 the Chinese state company "Sinopec" has been involved in the management of "Udmurtneft" (in the same year "Rosneft" became the Russian shareholder of "Udmurtneft"). The neighborhood effect in attracting FDI from East Asian countries is manifested in the presence in the list of leaders a number of regions of Siberia and the Far East. Thus, in the trans-Baikal region, the largest project of Chinese investors was a mining and processing plant at the large Noion-Tologoi Deposit of polymetallic ores.

In Primorsky region, within the framework of the Federal program for the development of the automotive industry, car Assembly enterprises of Japanese "Toyota" and "Mazda", Chinese "Great Wall", as well as the production of automotive components of South Korean "Hyundai" were created. Attracting FDI from East Asian countries to the Russian Eastern regions is associated with the implementation of projects not only in industry but also in other sectors, including services. Outside the Eastern regions such projects are rare (in Moscow operates a subsidiary Bank "Bank of China", in the Samara region, the Chinese company "Beijing China Sport Construction" is building an ice Palace). In the far East, such projects have become more widespread.

Thus, Bank of China branches were established in Primorsky and Khabarovsk territories. In the Khabarovsk territory, South Korean investors are involved in housing construction ("Kyeryong Construction Industrial Co"), and South Korean "Incheon International Airport Corporation" and Japanese "Sojitz Corporation" are implementing projects at Khabarovsk airport. The Pacific state University has a training center and laboratory of the Japanese "Komatsu". In the Amur region, Chinese investor "Huafu Commercial Construction Company" built shopping centers, hotels and entertainment complexes. There is also a joint Russian-Japanese project on the cultivation of buckwheat, soybeans, corn and vegetables.

The intensification of economic ties with the Asia-Pacific countries in the energy sector is largely due to the changes in the production of oil and natural gas in Russia. If in 2005 the total share of Siberia and the Far East in oil production was only 4%, and natural gas-1.5%, in 2015 it reached 14.3 and 8% respectively. So, the increasing role of the Eastern regions of Russia in oil and gas production began long before the economic crisis of 2008 and the anti-Russian sanctions of 2014. The shift of oil and gas production to the East of the country is because of the depletion of reserves in the Western regions and the need to develop new hydrocarbon deposits. The geography of Russian oil and gas supplies has also changed, and large-scale projects have begun, in particular, the construction of the "Eastern Siberia- Pacific Ocean" oil pipeline (the first stage was launched at the end of 2009) and the "Power of Siberia" gas pipeline.

Such projects, especially those already implemented in the oil industry, affect not only the geography of Russian exports, but also investment ties. And this is a rare case when it comes to real mutual investment of companies. Investment projects in the oil industry are extremely costly. Investments in oil production and, especially, in oil pipelines in the territory of the country-exporter of oil make sense only when there is a guaranteed market. Accordingly, it is reasonable to invest in oil refineries and pipelines in the territory of an oil-importing country when oil supplies are guaranteed. These rules apply to both Russian companies when buying stakes in oil refineries abroad and foreign companies when entering into oil production projects on Russian territory. Rosneft is already the main supplier of domestic oil to China and seeks to carry out investment work along the entire technological chain together with foreign partners.

In conclusion, the "Eastern vector" in Russian investment relations is strengthened and becomes sustainable. So far, the neighborhood effect and the Federal support of the Far East in attracting East Asian investments are less significant than the capacity of the consumer market and the existing sectoral structure of the regional economy. The "Eastern way" of Russian investment ties is likely to continue to strengthen, as it is due not only to anti-Russian sanctions, but also to objective long-term factors, primarily the shift of oil and gas production in Russia to the East and the growth of energy supplies to growing Asian markets. The activation of the Federal policy to attract investors to the Eastern regions of the country can also bring positive results.
Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Interview: BRICS expected to promote globalization to benefit all (Интервью: ожидается, что БРИКС будет способствовать глобализации на благо всех) / China, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, quotation

Cooperation between the emerging economies forming the BRICS bloc has produced positive effects and it will further promote globalization for a shared future, Chinese Ambassador to Brazil Yang Wanming has said.

Yang recently spoke with Chinese media outlets, including Xinhua, in the lead-up to the 11th BRICS Summit to be held in Brasilia on Nov. 13-14, which will gather leaders from the BRICS economies -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

In the past 10 years, cooperation among the bloc members has helped spur development, ushering in a period of "golden decade" for BRICS countries.

BRICS has served as a key mechanism for cooperation by bringing leaders together to forge consensus on important issues, said Yang.

"Especially on certain important international affairs, the BRICS countries are able to put forward a common position and to speak collectively with the global community, safeguarding the shared interests of the developing countries, particularly the emerging markets," Yang said.

The current rise of unilateralism and trade protectionism has exacerbated the global situation, injecting greater uncertainty and instability into the world economy, he said.

Grappling with a volatile landscape, the BRICS countries strove for greater coordination last year, he noted.

Both at an informal gathering of BRICS leaders in Osaka in June and a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers in Rio de Janeiro in July, the group issued joint statements to underscore its message.

"They unanimously showed the world their common position in favor of multilateralism and the authority of the United Nations, facilitating free trade and investment, and spurring the construction of an open, innovative and shared global economy," said the ambassador.

Brazil holds the rotating presidency of the bloc this year. Yang said Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's important official visit to China in late October produced significant results.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Bolsonaro reached new important consensus on deepening the China-Brazil comprehensive strategic partnership, to boost the pragmatic cooperation between the two countries in various fields, said Yang.

The ambassador believes the upcoming BRICS summit will mark the beginning of a new "golden decade" of cooperation, and that the bloc members will speak with a common voice calling for multilateralism and an open world economy.
Xi to visit Greece, attend BRICS Summit (Си посетит Грецию, посетит саммит БРИКС) / China, November, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting, xi_jinping, summit

Countries expected to voice support for multilateralism at summit in Brazil

President Xi Jinping's upcoming state visit to Greece and his participation in the BRICS Summit in Brazil will represent China's strong support, along with the bloc's four other member nations, for maintaining multilateralism and promoting the building of an open global economy, senior diplomats said on Thursday.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xi will make a state visit to Greece and then attend the 11th BRICS Summit in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, from Sunday to next Friday.

Qin Gang, a vice-foreign minister, said at a news conference that Xi will have talks with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on such issues as deepening cooperation on trade, investment and infrastructure construction.

During the visit, China and Greece will issue a joint statement on further deepening their comprehensive strategic partnership and sign a number of cooperation documents, Qin said.

Santorini is located at the southernmost point of the Kiklades in Greece. It has an island area of 96 square kilometers, a coastline of 69 kilometers and a population of more than 14,000. [Photo/IC] Calling Greece a sincere friend and a partner in building the Belt and Road, Qin said Greece was one of the first European Union countries to sign Belt and Road documents with China, and the Mediterranean nation has worked with China to build the Port of Piraeus into a flagship Belt and Road project.

Both being ancient civilizations, China and Greece have a long tradition of friendship and the two nations have supported each other on issues related to core interests and major concerns, Qin said.

Greece was accepted as a full member of the cooperation mechanism between China and Central and Eastern European Countries in April, and Qin said Greece's participation in the mechanism will bring new opportunities for the development of China-Europe relations.

Greece has set a leading example for other European countries to jointly build the Belt and Road, and the cooperation projects have injected impetus into the economic development of Greece, said Qian Yingchao, a professor of Greek studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Greece's geographic location has consolidated the country's important status in the building of the Belt and Road, Qian said, adding that the two sides can enhance cooperation in such areas as infrastructure, energy, transportation, finance, tourism and culture.

The Cathedral of Brasilia was designed by Oscar Niemeyer, and was completed and dedicated on May 31, 1970. The cathedral is a hyperboloid structure constructed from 16 concrete columns, weighing 90 tons each. [Photo/IC] Ma Zhaoxu, a vice-foreign minister, said at the news conference that Xi will deliver important speeches while attending BRICS events, including at the BRICS Business Council, the BRICS Leaders' Meeting and the dialogue with the New Development Bank.

Since its establishment over 10 years ago, BRICS has made important contributions to promoting global economic growth, pushing forward reform of the global governance system and maintaining global stability, Ma said.

The BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — sent a strong signal of support for maintaining multilateralism and opposing trade protectionism during their leaders' meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka this summer, Ma said.

He added that China hopes the five countries will once again send a strong voice of support for upholding multilateralism to boost the confidence of the international community during the BRICS Summit in Brazil.

Ma highlighted the increasing people-to-people exchanges among BRICS members, including events such as BRICS film festivals, athletic competitions and seminars on governance.

During the BRICS Summit, a documentary jointly filmed by the five countries, Kids and Glory, will be broadcast to show how teenagers in the member nations pursue their soccer dreams, Ma said.

Kremlin: Putin, Brazil's Bolsonaro may hold bilateral meeting on sidelines of BRICS summit (Кремль: Путин и бразильское Bolsonaro могут провести двустороннюю встречу в кулуарах саммита БРИКС) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting, vladimir_putin, summit

MOSCOW, November 6. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin might hold a bilateral summit meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on the sidelines of the BRICS summit scheduled for November 13-14 in Brasilia, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Wednesday.

"The summit meeting is being worked out," Peskov said when asked by TASS.

Earlier, Peskov said that Putin was scheduled to go to Brazil on a three-day visit. The country will host a BRICS summit on November 13-14.

The Russian president said he hoped to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Brasilia. China's Ambassador in Moscow Zhang Hanhui pointed out that the Russian and Chinese leaders were likely to "exchange views on an entire range of relations" at the meeting.
Putin to hold three meetings on BRICS summit's sidelines (Путин проведет три встречи в кулуарах саммита БРИКС) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting, vladimir_putin

MOSCOW, November 10. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to hold three separate meetings on the sidelines of BRICS summit in Brazil, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS.

"Three separate meetings are scheduled," Peskov said, noting that the schedule was being worked out.

Putin is expected to meet with all participants in Brasilia, he added.

Earlier, the Kremlin spokesman told TASS that Putin could hold a separate meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on the sidelines of BRICS summit.

Putin is planning to pay a three-day visit to Brazil, which is due to host the summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on November 13-14. The Russian president said he hoped to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Brasilia. China's Ambassador in Moscow Zhang Hanhui pointed out that the Russian and Chinese leaders were likely to "exchange views on an entire range of relations" at the meeting.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
BRICSMATH to be inaugurated at the BRICS summit in Brazil on 13th November 2019 (BRICSMATH будет открыт на саммите БРИКС в Бразилии 13 ноября 2019 года) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: social_issues

BRICSMATH, the international Mathematics competition will be inaugurated at the BRICS summit in Brazil on 13th November 2019. The competition is meant to create a sense of unification among the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The organizers of the competition are hopeful that more than 2 million children will participate in the competition. Students from Classes 1 through 12 can take part in the competition.

The competition will be hosted on the website - BRICSMATH is a free of cost competition that will be held for the third time. Its inauguration ceremony will take place during the 11th BRICS summit in Brasilia (Brazil) on 13th -14th November 2019. The Mathematics competition is supported by the Department of School Education and Literacy (MHRD), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Atal Innovation Mission (NITI Aayog).

The international competition in Mathematics is a platform for school students of BRICS countries to come together and participate online. The competition is meant to promote creativity and has helped to strengthen ties between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in the fields of culture, education and innovation. The competition unites children besides introducing them to the concept of BRICS.

The goal of BRICSMATH is to make STEM subjects more popular among children and help them develop creative thinking. All tasks in the competition are in a game format and are available in the official BRICS languages - Russian, Portuguese, Hindi, English and Chinese. The tasks aim to help students improve their concentration, logic, and spatial imagination. The competition tasks will be available on the portal from 13th November to 13th December 2019. Participants will be able to see their results immediately after completing the tasks. All participants will receive certificates through their accounts on the website after the competition is over.

ITMO University Student Participates in BRICS International Youth Forum as Part of Russian Delegation (Студент Университета ИТМО принимает участие в Международном молодежном форуме БРИКС в составе российской делегации) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: social_issues, cooperation
Author: Antonina Nikulina

On October 17-20, the capital of Brazil hosted the fifth BRICS International Youth Forum. The main topics for discussion were new educational formats, the development of soft skills, as well as entrepreneurship in the student community. Presenting his research at the panel session was Kirill Plugin, a fourth-year Bachelor's student of ITMO University's Information Technologies and Programming Faculty and co-founder of the Digital Generation club. Read on to learn more about the forum and its results.

Kirill Plugin at the BRICS International Youth Forum

Practitioners club

Digital Generation is a movement aimed at bringing about a transformation toward modern technologies, and also at the active involvement of students in this process. Its main goal is to provide young specialists with the skills crucial in the era of the digital economy.

The Digital Generation club was formed a year ago, initially on the basis of Moscow and St. Petersburg. As of now, it covers 29 other Russian territorial entities, but ITMO University's club still remains the main generator and creator of all educational content.

"Among the authors of the project are Sergey Shestakov, an employee of Agency for Strategic Initiatives, Evgenia Kozlova, a representative of the youth State Duma, and me. I met them when I was working at the Association of Students for Science and Education Development. We had an excellent collaboration: I coordinated the center in St. Petersburg, uniting four universities: ITMO University, Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg State University and the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy, and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation, while Sergey and Evgenia were responsible for Moscow universities. Apart from that, we divided the main areas of work: St. Petersburg became a research, educational and business center, while Moscow became a strategic development and business processes center," says Kirill Plugin.

Kirill Plugin Currently, Digital Generation is entering the international stage of its development, all thanks to the arrangements achieved as part of the BRICS International Youth Forum.

BRICS Youth Forum

In the course of four days, delegations from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa discussed topical problems and trends in the field of education. The first two days took place in the format of plenary sessions, during one of which Kirill Plugin gave a presentation titled "Inclusion in new educational formats, inclusion in education". He spoke about the Digital Generation movement at ITMO University and its development in Russia. This idea attracted the interest of many forum delegates as the digital economy is now coming to the forefront as one of development priorities for many countries all over the world.

"What makes our project particularly appealing to the forum's participants is that it implies collaboration with the state, students, educational institutions, and the representatives of businesses. Thus, we include all the participants of the market in the process of youth education. What is also important is that we represent young people who are ready to solve practice-oriented tasks and work on real-life cases. Representatives of many delegations asked us a lot of questions about how such a movement could be established in their country," explains Kirill.

BRICS International Youth Forum Emerging as a response to this reaction from the participants was a resolution developed and signed by the BRICS countries representatives in the following two days of the forum. As per the agreements reached, the Russian delegation will present their methodological developments and written account of their experience of organizing the Digital Generation movement. According to Kirill, three universities from South Africa, India and Brazil have already expressed their determination to apply these practices and launch their own digital clubs.

Platform for students

Another important result of the meeting was the decision to develop a platform that would assess students' competencies and build a ranking of ten universities of each of the BRICS countries containing detailed information about each university and the city it is located in. The purpose of such a platform is to help students willing to pursue their education in one of the BRICS countries' universities have a better understanding of the available options.

"This platform will describe the factors that are usually skipped over by international rankings but are of critical importance for students: how comfortable they'll find the studies at the university of their choice and living in the city of its location, and to what degree and how justified it will be for them to attend this or that country for educational purposes," explains Kirill.

According to him, the main development tasks will be solved by ITMO University Master's and PhD students.

Kirill Plugin at the BRICS International Youth Forum Apart from educational projects, delegation members also discussed commercial prospects. Namely, Indian representatives shared that they were interested in Digital Generation specialists working in the field of machine learning.

"We, in our turn, said that we need experienced biologists for these projects. Potentially, the members of the Indian delegation can take on some of our tasks, and we can work on their ones. We are continuing our talks on this matter, but even now the prospects are looking good," concludes Kirill.
Exploring the influence of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) domains on consumers' loyalty: an experiment in BRICS countries (Изучение влияния доменов корпоративной социальной ответственности (CSR) на лояльность потребителей: эксперимент в странах БРИКС) / Italy, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, research, social_issues


Studies on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) acknowledge the need to consider stakeholder's expectation when building a corporate image. However, this stakeholder-centric perspective is often neglected in the literature in favour of more firm-centric studies on CSR practices that are widely legitimated in the business community. Our study helps to fill this gap by exploring the influence of various CSR practices on consumers, who are a key stakeholder in every CSR campaign. The study empirically test how different CSR activities, and their related CSR domains, are valued by consumer when assessing their loyalty to a company. Data from 1516 consumers in the capital cities of BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – show how the communication regarding CSR initiatives in remote areas influences the consumers' assessment of their energy supplier. Our results highlight that CSR activities aimed at reducing the impact of company' operations on local communities have the highest importance for consumers compared to CSR activities that ensure reliable communications and prevent environmental impacts. Differences among BRICS countries highlight that multinational companies should adapt their CSR communication strategies for different developing countries.
Over 100 attend BRICS biomedical meeting in Taizhou (Более 100 человек посещают биомедицинскую встречу БРИКС в Тайчжоу) / China, November, 2019
Keywords: cooperation, social_issues

The BRICS Biotechnology and Biomedicine Innovation Collaboration Conference took place in Taizhou City on November 1, attracting the participation of more than 100 representatives from universities, research institutions and enterprises from the BRICS members and other countries including Italy, Cuba and Thailand.

With an aim to promote the S&T innovation and open cooperation in the BRICS countries, the conference organized seminars on a broad range of topics including chronic disease management and aging society, telemedicine and health, and facilitated the joint research and technology transfer. The conference also showcased the results from the collaboration in biotechnology and biomedicine, such as the R&D in new drugs, medical devices and diseases prevention.

At the opening ceremony, representatives from the BRICS countries reported the progress of building the Biotechnology and Biomedicine Innovation Collaboration Platform of BRICS Technology Transfer Center and other topics, and also introduced the key breakthroughs in biotechnology and biomedicine.

BRICS Technology Transfer Center also signed a cooperation agreement with Taizhou Medical Hi-tech Industrial Park, planning to create regional innovation hub on the base of the park.
3rd BRICS media photo exhibition kicks off in Sao Paulo (3-я медиа-фотовыставка БРИКС стартует в Сан-Паулу) / China, November, 2019
Keywords: media

SAO PAULO, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- The third edition of the BRICS Media Joint Photo Exhibition opened on Wednesday here, with the presence of media representatives from the group's member countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Dozens of photographs on display from 15 mainstream media organizations from the five countries showcased the economic and social development, scientific and technological progress, people-to-people exchange, natural beauty, and cooperation results of the BRICS countries.

The exhibition, under the theme of "Shining BRICS, Shared Future," was jointly organized by China's Xinhua News Agency and Brazil's CMA Group.

"The smiling faces and historical moments captured in these photos reflect the 'BRICS spirit' of openness, inclusiveness, cooperation and win-win," said He Ping, Editor-in-Chief of Xinhua News Agency at the opening ceremony of the event.

They record the hardworking spirit and lives of those living in BRICS countries, and display the solidarity of emerging market economies and developing countries in seeking common development, he said.

In unity BRICS countries stand ready to embrace the second "golden decade" of development, He said.

"With our joint efforts, BRICS media organizations will further enhance communication and coordination and jointly tell the new and exciting stories of BRICS cooperation," added He.

Jose Sanchez, president of the CMA Group, said that he believed the joint work of the BRICS media organizations will further promote cooperation and development among BRICS countries.

More than 100 representatives from BRICS media organizations attended the event's opening ceremony at the Cultural Center of Sao Paulo. The event was part of the fourth BRICS Media Forum.

The first and second BRICS Media Joint Photo Exhibitions were held in Beijing in June 2017 and in Cape Town in South Africa in July 2018.
BRICS scientists could help stem the tide of invasive species (Ученые БРИКС могут помочь остановить волну инвазивных видов) / United Kingdom, November, 2019
Keywords: ecology
United Kingdom

Developed countries are producing policies to reduce the flow of invasive species and control or eradicate existing invasions. But most developing countries are under-resourced to tackle either aspect without help.

Emerging economies, such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS), are responsible for donating many of the world's invasive species that have the potential to reach nearly all terrestrial biomes. These are natural areas defined by the communities of plants and animals present. Countries must urgently implement a proactive "facilitated network" to build capacity and stimulate effective, appropriate invasion science in BRICS nations.

In our paper we explored why the world needs BRICS countries to build capacity to manage invasive species. We chose the BRICS set of countries because they have a very real potential to be the source of the 21st century's new invasions.

This is because they make a sizeable contribution to world trade. The link between the quantity of trade and the introduction of invasive species has been well established. Trade results in many more unintentional movements, from toads that sneak into containers of furniture to organisms that attach themselves to the outside of ships which move the goods around.

It also involves the intentional movement of plants and animals in the horticulture and pet industry. Once established in new environments, a proportion of these become invasive.

Read more: Why the habit of wanting to own a piece of nature's beauty needs to be broken

The other reason we focused on BRICs countries is that they are home to a large proportion of the world's biodiversity: the Brazilian Amazon, Cerrado, and Atlantic Forest; Russia's Caucasus and Far East; Indian Western Ghats, Himalayas; Southwestern China; and South Africa's Cape Floristic Region, Succulent Karoo, and Maputo-Pondoland-Albany.

To protect these, and to manage the growing threat to biodiversity from anthropogenic drivers – that is action by humans – we argue for a global network of scientists who specialise in invasions within and between the BRICS countries. The aim would be to train the next generation of invasion scientists in order to continue to provide evidence-based recommendations for policy makers.

Current and future BRICS invasions

BRICS countries are already plagued with some of the world's worst invasive species. These include:

  • The Harlequin Ladybird is native to Central and East Asia, but has been introduced all over the world including Brazil and South Africa.

  • Rainbow Trout are native to North America, but are now present in Brazil, Russia (which also has native populations), India, China and South Africa.

  • Black Wattle is native to Australia, but is now invasive in Brazil, India, China and South Africa.

  • and Castor Oil Plants from northeastern Africa, which have been introduced around the world, becoming invasive in Brazil, India, China and South Africa.

BRICS countries are also the sources of some invasive species with the highest impact. These include:

  • The Tree of Heaven, native to China but invasive in India and South Africa.

  • Strawberry Guava, native to Brazil but invasive in India, China and South Africa.

  • The House Crow, native to India and China but invasive in South Africa.

  • and the African Clawed Frog, native in South Africa but invasive in China.

Two important factors in alien species becoming established, and subsequently becoming invasive, are how many arrive and whether there's a matching climate. The fact that all five BRICS countries are growing their global trade presence means that the number of alien species arriving in foreign climes is likely to rise.

As far as the matching climate factor is concerned, our analysis by researchers from all of the BRICS countries found that the climatic areas found in each of the countries matched all but the very coldest places on earth. This means that species originating from BRICS countries are very likely to find suitable climatic space elsewhere in the world.

The good news is that there's a solution, and it's relatively cheap.

The recommendation that we set out is much cheaper than removing invasive species, which is estimated to have cost the UK alone US$1.7 billion in 2010.

BRICS countries are already on the same page: all have signed up to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It's aimed at preserving global biodiversity. This includes eliminating the threat from invasive species.

The solution

South Africa has established the world's first Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology by linking the country's existing invasion scientists in a facilitated network. This could be replicated by the other BRICS countries.

Achievements of the Centre for Invasion Biology include:

The centre's model of a facilitated network of invasion biologists is reproducible in the other BRICS countries. Each country already has excellent invasion scientists, but they aren't linked into a network.

The facilitated network approach is different to traditional research institutes. This is because it gains strength from having its members distributed across the different biomes within each country. This means that they can offer biogeographic, cultural, and institutional insights from local invasions within their working context.

In addition, capacity built by new networks can quickly be taken up by governmental and nongovernmental organisations, providing the know-how to tackle existing and emerging problems with invasive species.

Investing in facilitated networks in all of the BRICS countries would also result in a global network of invasion scientists that would benefit all countries that trade with these emerging economies, allowing economic growth without the future threat.
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