Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 46.2019
2019.11.11 — 2019.11.17
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
BRICS most notable for the burning issues it ignored (БРИКС наиболее известен игнорированием острых проблем) / Australia, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues
Author: Lia Timson

Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin and fellow leaders of the world's major emerging economies made no mention of some of the most pressing crises facing their countries at the conclusion of their summit in Brazil.

The summit, which ended in the capital Brasilia on Thursday, brought together the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).

Their final communique, to be known as the Brasilia Declaration, highlighted issues in which the parties have a strong interest - foreign investment, for example, given China's deep pockets and the infrastructure needs of Brazil, India and South Africa.

Other pressing issues were completely igored.

From left to right, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, China's President Xi Jinping, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro wave to photographers during the BRICS Summit in Brasilia.CREDIT:AP

Example one: Venezuela. China, Russia and India support leftist President Nicolas Maduro while Brazil and others, including the US, have recognised self-declared president Juan Guaido as legitimate leader. Venezuela's economic meltdown and political turmoil have sent 4 million refugees flooding across its borders into Brazil, other neighbouring countries and the US in a humanitarian crisis that is considered a top regional security issue. Three diplomatic sources told Reuters that Venezuela was not even mentioned in the meetings. A high-profile stand-off between Maduro and Guaido supporters across town on the first day of the summit failed to force the issue.

Example two: Hong Kong. Five months of increasingly violent protests and a ticking time-bomb for China and its "two systems, one country" formula were not enough for the city-territory to be included in the summit's resolutions. The Chinese news agency Xinhua did report Xi made strongly worded comments on the issue while in Brazil, but it was not for general discussion.

Add to shortlist Example three: Bolivia. Again a major developing crisis next door to the leaders' meeting. China has affinities with the ousted leftist president Evo Morales and Russia said he was removed in a coup. Brazil was among the first to recognise self-declared new president Senator Jeanine Anez.

Chile and its month-long chaos awakened by a rise in public transport fares also missed the attention, as did Kashmir - a region disputed by India, Pakistan and China.

However, conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya were discussed and carefully worded. The leaders reaffirmed their "strong commitment to sovereignty and independence" of Syria, to a Yemen-led solution to its war with rebels, and to the immediate ceasing of "all military action in Libya".

None of these statements requires BRICS to take practical steps.

The only major concessions were made by Brazil's controversial leader. In "reiterating the two-state solution" for the Middle East, Bolsonaro appears to have stepped further away from his plan to move his country's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem; and in committing to implement the Paris climate agreement, he cancelled another of his Trump-inspired wishes: to pull out of the accord.
BRICS Delivers on the Commitments made in Johannesburg (БРИКС выполняет обязательства, взятые в Йоханнесбурге) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, declaration, research

On the eve of the eleventh BRICS summit, which will take place on 13-14 November 2019 in Brasilia, RANEPA researchers present the results of their study dedicated to the compliance with Johannesburg commitments and carried out in partnership with the University of Toronto.

Despite some member states' internal problems and rising external challenges, the final compliance score for the priority commitments reached 85%, it is higher than the average compliance for all summits which equals 75%. The study covered actions between 27 July 2018 and 1 October 2019. The highest compliance scores (100%) were achieved for the commitments on health (vaccines research), international taxation (BEPS implementation), energy (diversification of supply sources) and macroeconomic policy (global value chains). All these commitments belong to the core of the institute's agenda and members' performance on them is consistently high reaching full or almost full compliance. The highest score of 100% for the commitments on international taxation and health has been maintained for several summits.

They are followed by the commitments on jobs (Fourth Industrial Revolution) and financial regulation (market integration) with 90% compliance score. For the financial sector, this level of performance is a significant success. Labour and employment is not yet a part of the core BRICS agenda, only 4 decisions were made so far. However, cooperation of labor ministers has been developing since 2015, and we can expect a breakthrough in cooperation for this area during the Russian presidency in 2020. In the meantime, the high level of compliance signals that this sphere of cooperation is important for all members and they are ready to upgrade it. The compliance level of 80% was registered for the commitments on trade (developing multilateral trading system) and crime and corruption (extradition and asset recovery). All BRICS members support the international trade system reform, develop and present reform proposals, and consistently advocate the interests of developing countries. For the commitments on development (infrastructure in Africa) BRICS members showed compliance of 70%.

For several years in a row the lowest final compliance score was registered for the commitment on regional security (40%). This trend is defined mostly by the lack of actions from Brazil and South Africa (both demonstrated negative compliance) which do not consider the Syria problem as a threat to national security. However, both countries call on the international community to resolve the conflict peacefully and are ready to actively cooperate with the country after peace is reached. Also this commitment does not imply interior actions by the member countries but aims at local government's capacity building to ensure the security. These factors limit available instruments.

To sum up, compliance assessment for the commitments made at the Johannesburg summit in 2018 showed that, in general, the South African chairmanship can be considered relatively successful, 73 concrete decisions were made, the BRICS compliance is higher than the average for the institute. The trend of a higher compliance level in the fields of energy and international taxation was continued, the success of the previous summits for the commitments on health was consolidated. The commitment on regional security remained problematic, as for the previous summits compliance was low.


1.The RANEPA Center for International Institutions Research in cooperation with the University of Toronto annually prepares two BRICS compliance reports: interim and final.Detailed information on the methodology used for the assessment and full results of the study, as well as annual compliance reports for the previous summits, can be found on the website of the Center for International Institutions Research, RANEPA.

2. The methodology uses a scale from −1 to +1, where +1 indicates full compliance with the stated commitment, −1 indicates a failure to comply or action taken that is directly opposite to the stated goal of the commitment, and 0 indicates partial compliance or work in progress, such as initiatives that have been launched but are not yet near completion and whose final results can therefore not be assessed. Each member receives a score of −1, 0 or +1 for each commitment. For convenience, the scientific scores reported in the tables in this summary have been converted to percentages, where −1 equals 0% and +1 equals 100The formula to convert a score into a percentage is P=50×(S+1), where P is the percentage and S is the score. The final report analyses compliance performance by BRICS countries with 10 priority commitments selected from the total of 73 commitments made by the leaders at the Johannesburg Summit on 25-27 July 2018.

Is BRICS Losing Its Shine for China? (БРИКС теряет блеск для Китая?) / USA, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion
Author: Eleanor Albert

From November 13 to 14, heads of state and government from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa gathered in Brasilia for the 11th BRICS summit, a grouping of emerging national economies. China previously hosted the third and ninth BRICS summits respectively in Sanya and in Xiamen in 2011 and 2017. Amid China's going global push, it has sought to foster linkages with the developing world, increasingly via regional groupings.

Earlier this fall, Beijing issued a new white paper outlining China's relationship to the world. China's view of itself as a developing country featured prominently. Most of its messaging was not new, drawing on win-win, South-South cooperation and assistance without conditions. Moreover, the paper emphasized China's efforts to democratize the international system by advocating for and promoting the interests of other developing countries and highlighting the opportunities that the rise of China has brought by "fundamentally altering the international structures of power."

China has also been a driving force behind further institutionalization of the BRICS. The group opened a development bank in 2014, headquartered in Shanghai with a regional office in Johannesburg. Each member contributed equally to the initial $50 million of capital. In its initial five years, the New Development Bank has issued loaned for almost 50 approved projects, funding primarily infrastructure projects. In August 2019, China opened its branch of the BRICS Institute of Future Networks in Shenzhen, designed to facilitate additional cooperation related to information and communication technology.

But excitement surrounding the BRICS may be waning. At the outset, the grouping brought together emerging national economies that appeared to show promising growth. Over the past 10 years, a few trends are clear. The sheer size of China's economy sets it apart, while growth rates across the five members has been inconsistent and contracted.

Economic dynamics are not the sole factor dividing BRICS either. The grouping is subject to political divergences, not least stemming from domestic politics.

Ahead of the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, their second meeting in less than a month. The China-Brazil relationship has been tested by the election of Bolsonaro who campaigned on taking a tougher stance against the expansion of Chinese influence in the South American nation. Bolsonaro not only railed against Beijing's economic practices but also challenged the country on one of its most sensitive issues by visiting the island of Taiwan as a presidential candidate in February 2018. Since his election, however, the Brazilian president seems to have tempered his views. Last month in Beijing, Bolsonaro said that China and Brazil "were born to walk together." Bolsonaro further echoed the complementarity of his country and China this week saying "China is becoming more and more part of Brazil's future." Non-binding agreements were made in investment, services, and transport industries. Brazil also invited China to participate in an auction for offshore oil drilling in Brazil. There has also been much debate over whether or not Brasilia will allow China's Huawei to bid to develop Brazil's 5G network.

Xi also met on the sidelines of the summit with his Russian and Indian counterparts. On Russia, Xi declared the bilateral relationship as solid and stable, based on friendship and mutual trust. He also called on China and Russia "promote solidarity and cooperation" within the BRICS bloc and signaled that the members are committed to multilateralism.

Meanwhile, the Chinese and Indian leaders both expressed an interest in developing closer communication channels, particularly on trade and investment issues. The latest meeting between Xi and Modi comes just days after India withdrew from negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a multilateral trade deal encompassing 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Professor Harsh V. Pant wrote in The Diplomat in 2016 that BRICS's mandate was "under siege" amid slower economic growth and increasing intro-bloc political differences. Three years on, the observation holds. As the BRICS struggle to maintain relevance, Beijing is likely to recalibrate its approach to the bloc, not abandoning or withdrawing from it, but shifting its priorities and placing greater value in other regional multilateral groupings.
Together for a New Chapter in BRICS Cooperation Remarks by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People's Republic of China At the Plenary Session of the BRICS Brasilia Summit (Вместе для новой главы в сотрудничестве БРИКС. Замечания Х.Е. Си Цзиньпин Президент Китайской Народной Республики На пленарном заседании Бразильского саммита БРИКС) / China, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, speech, xi_jinping

Your Excellency President Jair Bolsonaro,
Your Excellency President Vladimir Putin,
Your Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
Your Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa,

It gives me great pleasure to join you in this meeting in Brasilia. Let me first thank President Bolsonaro for the kind invitation and gracious hospitality.

This is my third visit to Brazil in ten years. Stepping once again on this land of vibrancy, I am deeply impressed by its vastness and natural endowment, by the friendly people, and by the great promise the country holds.

We are meeting at a time when crucial developments are taking place in the world economy and international landscape. A burgeoning round of technological revolution and industrial transformation has created more opportunities for countries across the globe to achieve leapfrog development. Meanwhile, the unstoppable rise of emerging markets and developing countries has injected strong impetus to the reform of the global economic governance system. Nevertheless, there are also causes for concern: rising protectionism and unilateralism; greater deficit of governance, development and trust; and growing uncertainties and destabilizing factors in the world economy.

Faced with profound changes rarely seen in a century, major emerging markets and developing countries like us must grasp the trend of the times. We must respond to the call of our people, and shoulder our responsibilities. We must remain true to our unwavering commitment to development and strengthen solidarity and cooperation for the well-being of our people and for the development of our world.

- Let us work to foster a security environment of peace and stability. Our world has yet to achieve full peace. As we speak, tensions continue in regional security situations; hotspot issues keep emerging; traditional and non-traditional security threats are interwoven. Challenges of a global nature are becoming more prominent.

We need to take it our aim to safeguard peace and development for all; we need to uphold fairness and justice and promote win-win results; we need to base our efforts on international law and widely recognized norms of international relations; we need to champion and put into practice multilateralism. It is important that we uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the UN-centered international system, oppose hegemonism and power politics, and take a constructive part in settling geopolitical flash points. We can use BRICS mechanisms, including the meetings of our ministers of foreign affairs/international relations and high representatives for security issues, the working groups on counter-terrorism and cybersecurity, and the regular meetings among our permanent representatives to multilateral institutions, to maintain close strategic communication and coordination and speak in one voice for a more just and equitable international order.

- Let us pursue greater development prospects through openness and innovation. Development is what really matters to all. Many of the world's problems are rooted in unbalanced and inadequate development. We must therefore seize the opportunities that come with reform and innovation. We need to deepen the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution, and strive for more productive cooperation in such fields as trade and investment, digital economy, and connectivity. These efforts will surely lend impetus to economic growth and high-quality development in our five countries.

At present, economic globalization is encountering setbacks, which reveal, to a certain degree, the flaws existing in the global governance system. We the BRICS countries need to play our role as responsible major countries. We need to advocate extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in global governance, and push for reform of the global economic governance system. We need to stand firm against protectionism, uphold the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, and increase the voice and influence of emerging markets and developing countries in international affairs. We need to prioritize development in the global macro policy framework, follow through the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, and promote coordinated progress in the economic, social and environmental spheres.

- Let us promote mutual learning through people-to-people exchanges. Human history is one of civilizations living and prospering together in diversity. Countries, regions and ethnic groups with varied histories, religions and customs have offered inspirations to each other and together contributed to a diverse and colorful world.

We the BRICS countries have many best practices to offer when it comes to cultural interactions. Over recent years, we have carried out flourishing cultural exchanges. Film festivals, sports games as well as film and documentary co-production have rolled in to the delight of our people, thus creating a bridge for our people to be brought still closer together. We need to sustain and build up this momentum to take our people-to-people exchanges to greater breadth and depth. On that basis, we can leverage "BRICS Plus" cooperation as a platform to increase dialogue with other countries and civilizations and win BRICS more friends and partners.

Dear Colleagues,

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Over the past seven decades, working under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the resilient and assiduous Chinese people have blazed a trail of socialism with Chinese characteristics and embarked on an epic journey toward national rejuvenation.

Going forward, China will open up still wider. We will import more goods and services, ease market access for foreign investments, and step up intellectual property protection. With these efforts, we will break new ground in pursing all-dimensional, multi-tiered and all-sectoral opening-up in China.

China will continue to act in the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and pursue open, green, and clean cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. We will continue to follow a high-standard, people-centered, and sustainable approach to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with partner countries.

China will stay committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and to the path of peaceful development. We will continue to enhance friendship and cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. To be more specific, China will deliver the follow-ups to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and work with Africa for an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future; China will pursue closer cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in political, economic, trade, cultural, and regional and international affairs and build a China-LAC community with a shared future and common progress; and China will take a long-term perspective, deepen the Asia-Pacific partnership, and work for an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future of openness and inclusiveness, innovation-driven growth, greater connectivity, and mutually beneficial cooperation. All in all, China will work with the rest of the international community toward the goal of building a new type of international relationship and of building a community with a shared future for mankind.


A review of historic achievements gives ample room of expectation for the future. As we enter the second "Golden Decade" of BRICS cooperation, let us work in concert and with continued efforts to write a new chapter in not only BRICS cooperation but also South-South cooperation and the mutually beneficial cooperation of countries around the world.

Thank you.
BRICS Summit: What it means for India in the global order (Саммит БРИКС: что это значит для Индии в мировом порядке) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the 11th BRICS Summit in Brasilia, his sixth since he assumed office in 2014, it will be the beginning of what New Delhi sees as the "second cycle" of BRICS.

Advertising BRICS Summit: The origins, and now

On November 30, 2001, Jim O'Neill, a British economist who was then chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, coined the term 'BRIC' to describe the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

In a paper, 'The World Needs Better Economic BRICs', written for the Goldman Sachs 'Global Economic Paper' series, O'Neill — who went on to serve as Commercial Secretary to the Treasury between 2015 and 2016 in the governments headed by David Cameron and Theresa May — made a case for BRIC on the basis of econometric analyses projecting that the four economies would individually and collectively occupy far greater economic space and become among the world's largest economies in the next 50 years or so.

"In 2001 and 2002, real GDP growth in large emerging market economies will exceed that of the G7. At end-2000, GDP in US$ on a PPP basis in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) was about 23.3% of world GDP. On a current GDP basis, BRIC share of world GDP is 8%. Over the next 10 years, the weight of the BRICs and especially China in world GDP will grow, raising important issues about the global economic impact of fiscal and monetary policy in the BRICs. In line with these prospects, world policymaking forums should be re-organised and in particular, the G7 should be adjusted to incorporate BRIC representatives," O'Neill wrote.

Answering a question, "Should the G7 be replaced by a G9?", he wrote it seems quite clear that the current G7 needs to be "upgraded" and room made for the BRICs in order to allow more effective global policymaking.

And, about India's role, he wrote, "India would almost definitely be the least eager to join the G9 club. They might regard any 'obligati'ns' as unwelcome, as well as possibly seeing their own experiences as limiting their ability to give 'advice'. However, in view of their size, population and potential (and their geographical location), the possible inclusion of India would be attractive."

Eighteen years later, India finds itself as one of the emerging economies in the grouping and beyond, especially G20. BRICS now brings together five economies accounting for 42% of the world's population, 23% of the global GDP and an around 17% share of world trade.
As a formal grouping, BRIC started after the meeting of the leaders of Russia, India and China in St Petersburg on the margins of the G8-Outreach Summit in July 2006. The grouping was formalised during the first meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers on the margins of the UNGA in New York in September 2006. The first BRIC Summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on June 16, 2009.

It was agreed to expand BRIC to BRICS with the inclusion of South Africa at the BRICS Foreign Ministers' meeting in New York in September 2010. South Africa attended the third BRICS Summit in Sanya on April 14, 2011. Last year, leaders of the grouping commemorated the 10th anniversary of BRICS in Johannesburg.

India & the current BRICS Summit

As Modi attends the 11th BRICS Summit in Brasilia, his sixth since he assumed office in 2014, it will be the beginning of what New Delhi sees as the "second cycle" of BRICS. Since July 2014 in Fortaleza in Brazil, Modi's first multilateral summit after becoming Prime Minister, the grouping has completed the first cycle during his regime in India.

From the Indian perspective, BRICS has emerged the voice of developing countries, or the global south. As these countries face an aggressive club of developed countries, raising challenges on issues from WTO to climate change, New Delhi believes BRICS has to protect the rights of the developing countries. The five BRICS countries are also members of G-20.

While the economic heft of three of the five countries has been dented in the last few years, the BRICS cooperation has two pillars — consultations on issues of mutual interest through meetings of leaders and ministers, and cooperation through meetings of senior officials in areas including trade, finance, health, education, technology, agriculture, and IT.

Also, India has to maintain the balancing act between Russia-China on the one side and the US on the other. While India has had a growing role in global affairs in the last decade or so, and is seen to be helping drive the global agenda, the current crop of BRICS leaders too are seen as strong personalities — from Chinese President Xi Jinping to Russian President Vladimir Putin to Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro — with a pronounced nationalistic agenda. South Block views this as a potential for cooperation, as the leaders have more in common than their predecessors. New Delhi believes that over the last few years, India has taken the lead in galvanising BRICS has also worked within the grouping to take a strong stand against terrorism and bring about focused consultations on specific aspects relating to terrorism.

On the table in Brazil

This year, the joint working group on counter-terrorism has decided to constitute sub-working groups in five areas: terrorist financing; use of Internet for terrorist purposes; countering radicalisation; the issue of foreign terrorist fighters; and capacity-building. It is expected that India will chair the subgroup on use of Internet for terrorist purposes. During meetings of National Security Advisers of BRICS last month, India's NSA Ajit Doval put forward a proposal to host a BRICS workshop on digital forensics in India. Brazil has also made terrorism one of the priorities for its presidency. It held the first BRICS seminar on Strategies for Countering Terrorism.

The fact that BRICS has put counter-terrorism on top of the agenda has been a success for India. That was evident in the BRICS Summit in Xiamen in September 2017, with China as the chair. The fact that it was achieved, despite the strained ties due to the standoff in Doklam, was a testimony to the value Beijing and New Delhi attach to the outcomes of the grouping.

On the question of multilateralism, Modi has articulated a vision for strengthening and reforming the multilateral system itself. He has underlined that when India calls for multilateralism, it is not a call to reinforce the status quo of multilateralism but to reform it since this is what BRICS had originally set out to do.

Leaders will attend a BRICS-restricted session, expected to focus on challenges and opportunities for the exercise of national sovereignty in the contemporary world. In the Plenary Session, leaders will discuss cooperation for economic development of BRICS societies. A meeting of BRICS leaders with BRICS Business Council will take place, and BRICS MoU among Trade and Investment Promotion agencies will be signed. On the conclusion, Summit leaders will issue a joint declaration.

The Summit will be an opportunity for India to lay the groundwork for hosting the 2021 Summit scheduled in India. The last Summit took place in Goa in 2016. India will also be mindful of the fact that the G20 Summit to be hosted in India will take place in 2022, and this will be an opportunity to synergise the two agendas from New Delhi's lens as well.

BRICS is an idea whose time has come and gone; for India, the only benefit is an alternative platform for China outreach (БРИКС - это идея, время которой пришло и ушло; для Индии единственным преимуществом является альтернативная платформа для охвата Китая) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion

  • Politically, these countries are not all on the same page at the same time

  • Economically too, there isn't much convergence

  • Compounding matters is the unclear nature of the group as it exists

The BRICS Summit returned to Brazil after five years — as per the rotational nature of venues among the five member States — this week (13 and 14 November). Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in attendance and so too were presidents Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Jair Bolsonaro and Cyril Ramaphosa, with their respective contingents in tow.

As per the joint statement, dubbed the 'Brasilia Declaration', signed by the five leaders, discussions were held on a whole host of themes including, but not limited to, climate change, security, trade, technological innovation, counter-terrorism, investment and culture.

Ahead of his return to India, Modi tweeted:

If the "focus on futuristic subjects" sounds vague, it's probably appropriate because the purpose and raison d'être of the BRICS grouping itself is just as hazy. The story of the group's inception is well-known, but for the uninitiated, here's a swift recap:

Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill wrote in 2001 of Brazil, Russia, India and China (collectively dubbed the BRICs; South Africa would be added in 2010, thereby capitalising the lowercase 's' at the end of the original acronym) being emerging economies to watch out for. At some point, the quartet decided it would be a fine idea to come together as a bloc to counter the West-dominated Bretton Woods institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Within a few years — in 2012, to be precise — India proposed the establishment of a development bank "for mobilising resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development".

The bank saw the light of day as the New Development Bank (NDB) in Fortaleza in 2014. While there have been agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) signed on a whole variety of topics since the grouping came to be, the NDB was arguably the most significant development. After all, one of the major reasons for these countries to come together was to provide an alternative to the existing global financial architecture.

Is BRICS relevant?

"It is not obvious to me what the [New Development] Bank's real purpose is," said the man responsible for coining 80 percent of the acronym in a 2018 interview.

In the five years since the NDB was born, its key vision to 'supplement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development' remains miles away from realisation. "So far the only members are its founders; observers find its criteria for choosing investments vague; and even controversial Amazon road paving can get the NDB's 'sustainable' stamp," notes a China Dialogue piece.

It goes on to list a lack of transparency and good governance, coupled with the up-and-down relations among member States as being among the other problems with the bank. However, it could and should be argued that the bank is still very young and must be given time to grow and ultimately make good on its mandate.

The real problem isn't the bank per se; it's the grouping responsible for birthing it that is.

In the interview last year O'Neill commented on the grouping, saying, "It is not obvious to me that they have done a lot to improve the outcomes of their own countries from what would have happened any how... What is the point of getting on the plane all the time to go to these different countries – just for the sake of it. Other than annoy America."

There are three major factors that threaten the relevance of the BRICS grouping and render it just another multilateral grouping in an already bloated set of groupings:

Leaders of BRICS nations in Fortaleza on Thursday. Twitter @narendramodi

Politically, these countries are not all on the same page at the same time. While India and Russia share historically close ties, India-China relations experience swing from warm to frosty and back like a pendulum. Russia and China have been united by a common adversary. US-led West-imposed sanctions on Russia and Washington and Beijing's trade war have pushed the world's second and third largest military powers closer together.

Elsewhere, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who ran his election campaign in 2018 as a fierce critic of China, has done a complete volte face. He, however, remains a self-proclaimed fan of US president Donald Trump — something that won't have gone unnoticed in Beijing or Moscow. South Africa is the only country with no discernible beef with any of the other BRICS members. At the same time, none of the four other countries are among its closest partners either.

Economically too, there isn't much convergence. From being four economies to watch out for back in 2001, they (along with South Africa) are all in the middle of some sort of economic doldrums. But the reasons for the states of these economies vary vastly. In fact, as this article notes, the economic trajectories followed by these countries also vary: "BRICS can be broken into two groups — those that took advantage of globalisation's march to integrate themselves into global supply chains (primarily China and India) and those that took advantage of globalisation to sell their abundant natural resources (primarily Brazil, Russia and South Africa)." As it stands, there isn't one solution to fix all their problems. In fact, they tend to often make matters worse for each other.

The latest instance of this came in the form of Xi's remarks at the summit that "Protectionist and bullying counter-currents bring shocks to international trade, adding to downward pressure on the world economy". Ostensibly aimed at the US, this (the 'protectionist' part, in particular) can also be seen as a thinly-veiled jab at India, which earlier this month opted out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The RCEP includes all 10 members of ASEAN, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.

Compounding matters is the unclear nature of the group as it exists. BRICS is a non-regional grouping that has began as a bloc of emerging economies joining hands for economic purposes. It has transformed into an amorphous collective with its fingers in all sorts of pies, but an inability to commit to very many common goals. A case in point in this regard is terrorism. In 2016, it was noted that successive declarations by the BRICS nations tended to echo the same throwaway lines on terrorism, but do little about assuaging one another's real concerns. The 2019 iteration is no different with its "We condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, which should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilisation...". Through it all, China continues to show brazen disregard to India's concerns about terrorism emanating from Pakistan. This is unlikely to change anytime soon.

China interactions

A small positive, if that, is that it gives India one more mechanism, occasion and opportunity to hold dialogue with China. There may be little tangible movement in India-China ties, however, if diplomacy is to work, sustained interaction between parties is essential. A counterpoint to this point, however, is that India and China already have several points of contact bilaterally and multilaterally (at the UN, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, G20, East Asia Summit and so on), and that one extra platform isn't going to make a whole lot of difference.

Perhaps that is true, but the glorified talk-shop that discusses "futuristic subjects" that is BRICS will continue to exist despite its irrelevance, and any little benefits it affords should be appreciated.
BRICS is Becoming a Practice-Oriented Organization (БРИКС становится практико-ориентированной организацией) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion

At a round table on the eve of the BRICS summit, held at the Russia Today Press Center, where experts discussed the goals, objectives and agenda of the upcoming activities, Leonid Grigoryev, the chief adviser to the head of the Analytical Center, declared: "BRICS is ceasing to be a curiosity for students and researchers, and is becoming a practice-oriented organization".

Reminding of the existence of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, Grigoryev has noted that while the BRICS member states are close to agreement on the international issues reflected in these goals, their views on the internal issues are quite different.

Agreements on direct investment, the fate of coal in the energy sector, the intricacies of antitrust regulation – these are the issues that are relevant for all countries participating in the association, according to Mr. Grigoryev. Meanwhile, a closer look at each member state of the association reveals problems and achievements that are characteristic of their economies.

For example, China wanted to fundamentally rework its development model, reducing the share of coal and increasing the share of consumption, but so far it was only successful at slowing down the GDP growth rate from 10 to 6% a year. South Africa has its own difficulties: there, demography "eats up" economic growth, meaning per capita GDP indicators are not rising due to the fact that the country's population has been growing throughout the past decade at rates far exceeding its economic growth. Due to free access to the Internet and higher English proficiency, Russia is far ahead of its association partners in terms of the development of information networks.

According to the expert, in terms of innovations, which are also on the summit's agenda, in general, BRICS is turning from a buyer of innovations into their creator. Innovations, coupled with the digital economy, are becoming a stepping stone to scientific and technological progress. However, this cannot be considered an absolute good. For example, while robotics is welcome in Russia, which can be considered a labor-deficient country, in South Africa or India economic growth should ensure employment, the expert noted.
Transcript of Media Briefing by Secretary (ER) On Prime Minister's visit to Brazil for BRICS Summit (November 13-14, 2019) (Стенограмма брифинга для СМИ секретаря (ER) о визите премьер-министра в Бразилию на саммит БРИКС (13-14 ноября 2019 г.)) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, narendra_modi

Distinguished members of the media, my dear friends,

Welcome to the briefing on the visit to Brazil by Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to attend the 11th BRICS Summit.

Prime Minister is accompanied by an official delegation. A large business delegation from India is also present, which attended the BRICS Business Forum yesterday, where the business community of all five countries were represented.

The theme of the BRICS Summit this year is "Economic Growth for an Innovative Future".

Prime Minister arrived in Brasilia yesterday. This is PM's second visit to Brazil yesterday. He had bilateral talks with his counterparts from China, Brazil and Russia. You have already been briefed on the bilateral interactions.

Later in the evening, Prime Minister attended the closing ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum in the evening along with other BRICS leaders. This was followed by a Welcome Dinner being hosted by HE President Bolsonaro for all the leaders, which was preceded by a cultural programme.

This morning, after a Photo-op, the BRICS restricted session was held, which was a closed session. The discussions during this session focussed on challenges and opportunities for the exercise of National Sovereignty in the contemporary world. In his statement, Prime Minister underlined the importance of a rule-based world order which respects diversity and equality and eschews unilateral policies or the use of force. He stressed on the challenges to sovereignty arising from a range of factors including terrorism which seeks to undermine the nation State, technology's impact, especially digital technology on sovereignty and the challenges & opportunity it offers, importance of development cooperation on reasonable terms to strengthen sovereignty without constraining it and the need to respect each other's sovereignty in that context.

The restricted session was followed by the BRICS Plenary Session where the leaders discussed intra-BRICS cooperation for the economic development of BRICS societies. Prime Minister welcomed the BRICS Summit deliverables on a range of areas including Innovation BRICS Network (iBRICS), BRICS New S,T & I Architecture, BRICS Institute of Future Networks and the establishment of the Women's Business Alliance. He placed special emphasis on Intra-BRICS Trade in goods and services and welcomed the BRICS Joint Statement's endorsement of his focus on reformed multilateralism.

Some of the significant announcements made by the Prime Minister included the following:

(i) India will host the BRICS Digital Health Summit on Innovative Solutions to Healthy Lifestyle. This will be in keeping with "Fit India Movement" launched by PM. The Digital Health Summit will seek to integrate digital technology with healthcare informatics and diagnostics.

(ii) PM also announced his intention to build on the workshops hosted on Traditional Medicine and have a BRICS MoU on Traditional Medicine. As you are aware, this is an initiative which was taken up under India's Presidency in 2016.

(iii) Another initiative was on Sustainable Water Management. PM has offered to host the first BRICS Water Ministers Meeting in India.

(iv) Since India has been a world leader in film production and technology. India will host the BRICS Film technology Symposium in conjunction with FICCI-FRAMES in Mumbai in March 2020.

(v) Terrorism has been an important area of focus in BRICS and, as you are aware, Brazil just hosted the first BRICS Seminar on Strategies to counter terrorism. BRICS has also set up 5 sub working groups on terrorism. PM announced that India will host a BRICS workshop on Digital Forensics.

(vi) PM also mentioned that India will host the BRICS Youth Summit with focus on areas like start ups, hackathon, games etc. This is in keeping with the people-to-people initiatives taken by India during our Presidency in 2016, all of which has been welcomed and sustained over the last few BRICS chairship.

(vii) PM announced his intention to initiate BRICS internship and fellowship Programme for students from all BRICS countries.

Thereafter, the meeting of BRICS leaders with BRICS Business Council and the New Development Bank took place. The chairman of the Brazilian BRICS Business Council submitted his report. The President of the New Development Bank also submitted his report. Prime Minister welcomed the positive developments that have taken place on both fronts and made several focused suggestions in this context.

On the conclusion of Summit, Leaders issued a Joint Declaration.

PM will attend a lunch hosted by the President of Brazil after which he will leave for India.

This concludes my remarks. Thank You.
Meeting of Prime Minister with Jair Messias Bolsonaro, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil on the margins of the 11th BRICS Summit (Встреча премьер-министра с Президентом Федеративной Республики Бразилия Яиром Мессиасом Болсонаро в кулуарах 11-го саммита БРИКС) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, jair_bolsonaro, narendra_modi

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi met H.E. Mr. Jair Messias Bolsonaro, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil on the sidelines of the 11th BRICS summit at Brasilia on 13 November 2019.

Prime Minister Modi invited the President of Brazil to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day 2020. The Brazilian President has accepted the invitation with pleasure.

Both leaders agreed that on this occasion the two countries can comprehensively enhance our strategic partnership. PM Modi said that he looked forward to discussing matters relating to trade. He also outlined areas for potential investment from Brazil , including in areas of agricultural equipment, animal husbandry, post-harvest technologies and biofuels.

The President of Brazil expressed his readiness and informed PM that a large business delegation will accompany him to India. They also discussed other areas of cooperation including space and defence sectors. PM welcomed the decision of President to grant visa free travel to Indian citizens.
Meeting of Prime Minister with Vladimir Putin, President of Russian Federation on the margins of 11th BRICS Summit (Встреча Премьер-министра с Президентом Российской Федерации Владимиром Путиным в кулуарах 11-го саммита БРИКС) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, vladimir_putin, narendra_modi

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi met H.E. Mr Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation on the sidelines of the 11th BRICS summit at Brasilia on 13 November 2019. This is the 4th time the two leaders have met this year.

During the meeting both leaders reviewed the progress made in the bilateral relationship since PM's visit to Vladivostok. PM specifically mentioned the successful visits of our Minister of Defence and Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas to Russia.

The two leaders noted with satisfaction that the USD 25 billion target of bilateral trade by 2025 has already been achieved. The two leaders decided that the 1st Bilateral Regional Forum at the level of Russian Provinces and Indian States be held next year to dismantle the barriers of trade at regional level.

The two leaders noted the stability and progress made in imports of oil and natural gas. President Putin highlighted the potential of Arctic region in natural gas and invited India to invest in the region.

The two leaders also reviewed the progess made in the field of Infrastructure particularly railways in context of raising the speed of the Nagpur-Secunderabad sector railway line. The leaders also noted with satisfaction the cooperation in Defence sector and in the field of Civil Nuclear Energy. They welcomed the prospects of cooperation in civil nuclear energy in third countries.

The two leaders also noted that both sides shared common position on international issues and agreed to continue close consultations in the future.

President Putin reiterated the invitation to PM to visit Moscow to participate in the Victory Day celebrations next year, which PM gladly accepted.
Meeting of Prime Minister with Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China on the margins of the 11th BRICS Summit (Встреча премьер-министра с президентом Китайской Народной Республики Си Цзиньпином в кулуарах 11-го саммита БРИКС) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, xi_jinping, narendra_modi

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi met H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China on the sidelines of the 11th BRICS summit at Brasilia on 13 November 2019.

President Xi Jinping conveyed his deep appreciation to PM for hosting him at the 2nd Informal Summit in Chennai and said that he would not forget the welcome given to him by PM Modi and the people of India. He invited PM for the 3rd informal summit in China in 2020. The date and venue for which will be determined through diplomatic channels.

They both agreed on the importance of maintaining close dialogue on matters relating to trade and investment. President Xi thanked PM for India's substantial participation in the just concluded China Import Export Expo in Shanghai. The two leaders agreed that the new High Level Mechanism on Trade and Economy should meet at an early date.

The leaders reviewed preparations for celebrating the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries next year. They agreed that this will enhance people-to-people relations.

The leaders noted that the Special Representatives will have another meeting on matters relating to the Boundry Question and reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and security in the border areas.

The leaders also exchanged views on multilateral issues including WTO, BRICS and RCEP.
Translation of Prime Minister's remarks at BRICS Business Forum (Перевод выступления премьер-министра на бизнес-форуме БРИКС) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, narendra_modi, speech

Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Participants of BRICS Business Forum,

Good Evening.

I am very happy to join the BRICS Business Forum. The 11th BRICS Summit program has started with this forum. I congratulate the President of Brazil, the organizers of this forum and all the participants for making Business a priority.


BRICS countries account for 50% of the world's economic growth. Despite the recession in the world, the BRICS countries accelerated economic development, drove millions of people out of poverty and achieved new breakthroughs in technology and innovation. Now ten years after the founding of BRICS, this forum is a good platform to discuss the direction of our efforts in the future.


Simplifying intra-BRICS business will increase mutual trade and investment. Tax and Customs procedures between us five countries are getting easier. The business environment is getting easier with the collaboration between Intellectual Property Rights, and Banks. I request the BRICS Business Forum to study the necessary business initiatives to take full advantage of the opportunities thus generated.

Intra-BRICS business and investment targets should be ambitious. Your suggestions will be helpful to further reduce the cost of trade between us.

I would also like to request that priority areas in business be identified among us for the next ten years and based on them blue print of Intra-BRICS collaboration should be made.


Our market size, diversity and our complementarities are very beneficial to each other. For example, if there is technology in one BRICS country, then in other are present the related raw materials or markets. Such possibilities are especially present in electric vehicles, digital technology, fertilizer, agricultural products, food processing, etc. I would urge the Forum to map such complementarities in five countries. I would also like to suggest that at least five such areas should be identified by the next BRICS Summit in which joint ventures can be formed between us on the basis of complementarities.


The BRICS countries are well known for the hard work, talent and creativity of their people. Important initiatives like innovation BRICS Network, and BRICS Institution for Future Network will be considered during tomorrow's summit. I request the private sector to join these efforts focused on human resources. Connecting young entrepreneurs with these initiatives will also give more strength to business and innovation.


There are possibilities of making tourism, business and employment between our countries more easy. I thank the President of Brazil for giving the visa free entry to Indians. We five countries should also consider mutual Social Security Agreement.


You will be familiar with India's continued progress in indexes such as Ease of Doing Business, Logistic Performance and Global innovation. Due to the time limit, I would just like to say that India is the most open and investment friendly economy in the world due to Political Stability, Predictable Policy and Business Friendly Reforms. By 2024, we want to make India a five trillion dollar economy. The infrastructure alone requires $ 1.5 trillion investment.

India has immense possibilities, countless opportunities. To take advantage of them, I invite the business of BRICS countries to build up and grow their presence in India.

Thank you very much.
Disclaimer: PM's speech was delivered in Hindi. This is an approximate translation of the speech.
Translation of Prime Minister's remarks at plenary session of 11th BRICS Summit in Brasilia (Перевод выступления премьер-министра на пленарном заседании XI саммита БРИКС в Бразилиа) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, speech, narendra_modi

President Bolsonaro,
President Putin,
President Xi and
President Ramaphosa

I am very happy to be here in this beautiful capital of the friendly country Brazil for the 11th BRICS Summit. My heartfelt thanks to my friend President Bolsonaro for the grand reception and excellent arrangements for the summit.


The theme of this summit - "Economic growth for an innovative future", is very accurate. Innovation has become the cornerstone of our development. Therefore, we need to strengthen cooperation under BRICS for innovation. Brazil itself has taken many successful steps for innovation and practical cooperation. We should continue to work on the initiatives of Brazil in the coming years as well.


BRICS began 10 years ago, at a time of financial crisis and many economic problems. The journey, which started from Yekaterinburg in 2009, has crossed several notable stops. BRICS countries have been the main engines of global economic growth over the years. And we have contributed to the development of the whole humanity. At the same time, we have emerged as a major factor in a peaceful, prosperous and multi polar world.


Now we have to consider the direction of BRICS, and mutual cooperation to be more effective in the next ten years. Despite success in many areas, there is considerable scope to increase efforts in some areas. We must make BRICS mechanisms and processes more efficient and outcome-driven to meet the challenges of the global economy. We need to pay special attention to mutual trade and investment. Intra-BRICS trade accounts for just 15% of world trade, while our combined population is more than 40% of the world's population. The service sector has a large share of GDP in all five countries. Therefore, services have good prospects to grow the business. It is also important to reduce the cost of Intra- BRICS trade. Our Trade Minister can consider the goal of reducing it by 5%. Trade will gain further momentum through trade facilitation and cooperation in simple customs and banking processes. The agreement between the trade promotion agencies will help us achieve the $ 500 billion trade target soon.


I am happy that under the leadership of Brazil, we have emphasized on science and technology, innovation and the digital economy. Several initiatives have been taken such as the creation of the i-BRICS network, new Science Technology Innovation architecture, human milk bank and BRICS Institute of Future Networks. These efforts will promote entrepreneurship in innovations eco-system and technology in BRICS. The BRICS start-up challenge and hackathon will also be helpful in this purpose. In these efforts, medical devices, new energy options and innovations for the differently-abled and elderly can be given priority. These initiatives will also help us to promote useful research for society. In this direction, India will organize the BRICS Digital Health Summit. This will encourage innovative solutions for healthy lifestyles. Recently in India, we have started a 'Fit India Movement'. I want to increase contacts and exchanges between us in the field of fitness and health. We have traditional knowledge in the field of health in five countries. By giving mutual recognition to it and increasing mutual cooperation in this field, we can reach the benefit of this education which has been held for thousands of years. I would also like to suggest a MoU between BRICS countries on this subject.

I congratulate all the members on the establishment of the BRICS Women Business Alliance. I especially thank President Putin for this initiative. In India, women's participation has increased in every sector in the last five years. In previous elections, women voters were equal to the number of men for the first time. And by far the highest number of women candidates also emerged victorious. The number of elected women leaders in our local self-government is more than 1.4 million. Be it Maternity leave or to reduce the salary gap, we have taken many important steps in the last five years for women entrepreneurship and empowerment.

Our countries cover every climatic zones. Be it flooded areas or drought-prone areas, icy areas or deserts, earthquake zones, etc. exist in our countries. Sustainable water management and sanitation are important challenges in urban areas. I propose to hold the first meeting of BRICS Water Ministers in India.


Multi-lateralism, international trade, and rules-based world order are grappling with serious problems. Last year we emphasized on reformed multilateralism. I am glad that the joint statement of this summit will recognize its need. We must form a collective strategy to strengthen and improve the U.N., W.T.O., World Bank and other international organizations.

Humanity has come away from threats like World War. But terrorism has emerged as the biggest threat to development and peace. In ten years, two and a half million lives were lost at the hands of terrorism and the society suffered deep damage. Also, according to various estimates, more than one trillion dollars was lost to the world's economy. And has reduced the economic growth of developing countries by 1.5 per cent. Terrorism, terrorism financing, drug trafficking and organized crimes create deep indirect harm to business and business by creating an environment of scepticism. I am happy that the first Seminar on BRICS Strategies for Countering Terrorism was organized. We hope that such efforts and the activities of the five working groups will increase the strong BRICS Security Cooperation against terrorism and other organized crimes. In this direction, India will organize a workshop on digital forensic analysis of terrorism.


The growing people-to-people relationship between us will give energy to our partnership. In this regard, I would like to suggest something. BRICS countries should organize youth summits. In this, the youth of five countries should take part in activities like start-ups, hackathon, sports, creativity. Students of BRICS countries in India will be given internships and fellowships every year to study subjects related to BRICS. We should also consider promoting traditional sports of our countries. India will be happy to take initiative in this regard. Films can be an important means to enhance the relationship between our people. India has the highest number of films made in many languages, and in the world. India will hold the BRICS Film Technology Symposium in Mumbai next year. I am happy that our countries are facilitating visa, etc. arrangements. I welcome the announcement by President Bolsonaro of visa-free entry to Brazil for Indians. With the mutual recognition of visas, social security agreement and qualifications, we will provide a more conducive environment for people from five countries to travel and work.

Finally, I would like to once again congratulate President Bolsonaro for the excellent arrangements and impressive leadership of BRICS. I also congratulate the President of BRICS for the coming year, Russia and assure the full support of India. Thanks a lot.
Disclaimer: PM's speech was delivered in Hindi. This is an approximate translation of the speech.
Translation of Prime Minister's remarks at Leaders Dialogue with BRICS Business Council and New Development Bank during 11th BRICS Summit in Brasilia (Перевод выступления премьер-министра на диалог лидеров с Деловым советом БРИКС и Новым банком развития в ходе 11-го саммита БРИКС в Бразилиа) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: speech, narendra_modi, summit

Honorable Chairman,
Your Excellencies,

Members of BRICS Business Council and New Development Bank,

I'm delighted to be joining in this discussion.

These two mechanisms are useful platforms

for practical cooperation between BRICS countries. I thank him for his efforts.

BRICS countries are a ray of hope for the world's economic growth. Innovation and hard work of our businesses are the source of our energy.

In today's era, it is important to recognize every business opportunity and take immediate advantage of it.

I would like to suggest something in this context.

First, the Council created a roadmap to achieve the $ 500 billion Intra-BRICS trade target by the next summit. Identification of economic complementarities among us will be important in this effort.

Secondly, several agro-tech start-ups have emerged in the five countries. Their network will be useful for sharing experiences and taking advantage of our large markets. The use of technology and data analytical tools in agriculture will also be encouraged through these start-ups.

Thirdly, to address the challenges facing universal health coverage, the Council may consider organizing a Hackathon in India on the use of digital health applications.

Fourth, a working group for small and medium industries will facilitate the exchange of best practices.

The BRICS business community will get great benefit of practical support from the early progress on subjects like BRICS Pay, Credit Rating Agency, Reinsurance Pool and Seed Bank.

The partnership agreement between New Development Bank and BRICS Business Council will be useful for both the institutions.

Our economies need large infrastructure finance. I believe that New Development Bank can provide valuable support in this area.

I welcome the launch of the Project Preparation Fund by NDB.

The presence of private sector projects in NDB's portfolio will increase the bank's presence.


I request BRICS countries and NDB to join Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure initiative.

India will be pleased to work with NDB on creating guiding principles for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

I request that the work of establishing the Regional Office of NDB in India should be completed soon. This will give a boost to projects in our priority areas.


You are familiar with the growing investment opportunities and the eco system of innovation in India.

I invite all of you to build a new India by 2022 and be a part of the development journey of India.

Excellencies, Friends,

I will conclude by saying that our dream of strengthening BRICS economic cooperation can be realized only with the full cooperation of Council and NDB.

India is with you in your efforts for this purpose.

Thank you very much .
Disclaimer: PM's speech was delivered in Hindi. This is an approximate translation of the speech.
BRICS brings the chance of world change, as the US and EU obsess over internal battles (БРИКС дает шанс изменить мир, так как США и ЕС одержимы внутренними битвами) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues
Author: Damian Wilson

The big outsider nations of the world meet at the BRICS summit as the US and EU face their own struggles, with a chance to reset the global agenda to improve their own economies and standing on the international stage.
The Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) summit in Brasilia, starting today, shines the spotlight onto a disparate group of hugely populated nations at a time when Western powers are at their most unstable for years.

This is a meeting for the outsiders of this world. The awkward squad. They are the lanky kids, the geeks, the pimply swots and the just plain weird of the global playground. They are big, influential players in their own regions but not welcome at the top table of global financial institutions where Europe and the US hold sway and jealously guard their seats.

Sure, they have economic issues to talk about, ostensibly the whole point of the Brasilia summit, but it is geopolitics that they are really there for. A big gossipy catch-up and a chance to compare notes on the increasingly fractured European Union and the ever more isolationist US of Donald Trump, and how those two tectonic shifts impact their own worlds and spheres of influence.

China is in the middle of rolling out its massive Belt and Road initiative, spreading the investment love worldwide. Russia has managed to make previously unthought of diplomatic inroads into the Middle East, India speaks for a hugely diverse 1.3 billion souls and South Africa has the weight of the entire African continent on its shoulders, along with all the expectation that brings.

And Brazil? Well Brazil is playing host. It's a game of keepy-uppy for President Jair Bolsonaro and all eyes will be on him, hoping he makes a better fist of it than his first foray onto the world stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos last January. The gruff, lisping former army captain did not earn any rave reviews for his short speech there, which lasted just six minutes of the allocated 45, and this time he has Lula, his political rival freshly released from prison, watching every move from the sidelines. It can't be that comfortable.

So while their economies are out of kilter and there may be individual difficulties and priorities for these nations, they do share their outsider status and that is a powerful connection, but not all there is to this not-so gentlemanly club. They can certainly find further common ground on the workings of their New Development Bank alongside the BRICS Business Council, they can look at the potential effects of trade protectionism and access to the US market, they can address the digital divide and China, particularly, has plenty to share on innovation.

The BRICS nations represent 42 percent of the global population and if they can manage to find a way, or just a part of that way, to effectively address the issues that impact on their ability to increase GDP – education, security, workforce population changes, climate issues and government debt – then they will face the prospect of being able to protect their economies from the disruptions of the global economy, allowing for a more dynamic response to problems when they arise.

With the BRICS nations in Brasilia, the rest of the globe looks on and wonders, is this the way things are going to be now? The EU and the US seem so caught up in the machinations of their own internal workings that they have no time or inclination to address global problems on a broader scale.

This summit is a fantastic opportunity for BRICS to have a huge say in the global direction of travel. It should not waste it.
Unfair competition becoming more and more widespread in global trade — Putin (Недобросовестная конкуренция становится все более распространенной в мировой торговле - Путин) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: vladimir_putin, quotation, summit, trade_relations

BRASILIA, November 14. /TASS/. Unfair competition and protectionism are becoming more and more widespread in global trade, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"Undoubtedly, the global economy was affected by the fact that methods of unfair competition, unilateral sanctions - including politically motivated ones are being used on a wider scale in the global trade, [and] protectionism is flourishing. Under those circumstances, BRICS nations have to take serious effort to ensure the development of their economies, to prevent the deterioration of the social situation and the fall of living standards, of our citizens' welfare," Putin said at the closing ceremony of the BRICS business forum.

"Of course, we all know that the situation in the global economy remains complicated," he continued. "Since the start of 2018, the pace of economic growth has been slowing down, and, according to the International Monetary Fund estimates, this year it is to reach its lowest figures in a decade."

Russian economy

The Russian government managed to prevent the national economy from plunging into recession, but the present-day GDP growth is not fast enough, Putin told the BRICS business forum.

"For many years, we in Russia have been conducting balanced macroeconomic policy, treat state finances with responsibility, maintain stability of the bank and loan markets, seek to strengthen the key sectors of the economy. Thanks to that, we managed to prevent the country's economy from plunging into recession," Putin said at the closing ceremony of the BRICS business forum.

"Of course, we do not think that the current GDP growth rate is sufficient, that's why we are seeking to make the environment for new investments as comfortable as possible," the president added.

The Russian Ministry of Economic Development maintains a forecast of Russia's GDP growth by the end of 2019 by 1.3%. "In the Q4 of 2019, economic growth rate is expected to remain at around the level of the Q3, which corresponds to the forecast of the Ministry of Economic Development for GDP growth in 2019 (1.3%)," the ministry said.

Rosstat tentatively estimated annual growth of the Russian economy in the Q3 at 1.7%, the growth in January-September was 1.1.

Energy cooperation with BRICS

In his speech, Putin invited Russia's partners in the BRICS group of nations to expand cooperation in the energy sector, including the nuclear power sector.

"Energy remains one of the priority areas of the five nations' cooperation. Russia keeps to ensure reliable energy supply to global markets, makes a considerable contribution into sustaining the global energy security, without which economic growth and social development cannot be guaranteed," the Russian leader said at the closing ceremony of the BRICS business forum.

"We are ready to expand cooperation with BRICS nations in the use of environmentally friendly types of fuel," he continued.

Putin named "producing renewable sources of energy, increasing energy efficiency, using natural gas as engine fuel" among promising areas of joint work.

He also said that "Russia has the most advanced, environmentally friendly and cleanest nuclear power generation technologies."

"We successfully develop cooperation in this sector with our BRICS partners, first of all with China and India," the Russian leader said, adding that his country "invites all the other partners in the group to engage in mutually beneficial projects in the energy sector.".

Cooperation in digital technologies

Putin invited Russia's BRICS partners - Brazil, India, China and South Africa - to pay attention to Russia's digital technologies, such as anti-virus software and search engine technologies.

"There are also good opportunities to enhance our cooperation in the sector of information and technologies," he said. "The Russian side suggests that BRICS nations take a closer look at our advanced solutions."

Putin said he meant "electronic document and content management systems, search engines and anti-virus software that meets the most advanced information security requirements."

"We are ready to provide them for their use by the organization's members," the Russian leader said.

He also said that Russia "came up with an initiative to launch a data exchange network for small-and medium-sized businesses within the BRICS framework." According to Putin, "this would allow BRICS business circles to get relevant information about goods, services, suppliers, would help them search and find new partners.".

Invitation to Russian business forums

In his speech, Putin also invited officials and business leaders to attend Russia's main economic forums next year.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) business forum on Thursday, the Russian leader said that the organization's next summit, to take place in Russia's second largest city of St. Petersburg in July, will be preceded by a series of notable events, including those aimed at promoting economic cooperation.

"I would like to take this opportunity to invite official representatives and business circles of the BRICS member states to take part in them," Putin said. "Besides, we invite you to come to the biggest business forums in Russia - the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum <...> and the Eastern Economic Forum," Putin told the participants of the conference.

It was earlier reported that the next year's St. Petersburg International Economic Forum will take place on June 3-6, and the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) - in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on September 2-5.

According to the Russian leader, the top priorities of the country's presidency in BRICS in 2020 will include ways to further enhance trade and investment contacts among the five nations. Among other things, Moscow will suggest its partners to update the BRICS economic partnership strategy, adopted in 2015.

"It would make sense to think about new goals that can be set for our organization and about truly massive tasks that we should focus on regarding our joint activities in trade, financial sector and investment," Putin said.
Press review: How BRICS can challenge the G7 and Moscow's bid to defend Russians abroad (Обзор прессы: как БРИКС может оспорить стремление «большой семерки» и Москвы защитить россиян за рубежом) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: media, cooperation

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: BRICS offers non-Western alternative for global governance

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had an excellent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Brazil, where the 2019 BRICS summit was held. Contacts between other leaders were friendly as well. That makes the work of Moscow, which will assume BRICS chairmanship next year, easier, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

However, according to some experts, differences in the level of development between the group's members, which account for 42% of the world's population, complicate pursuing its goal of playing a greater role in global governance.

Meanwhile, Western commentators noted that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing politician, was not particularly enthusiastic about the summit. Moreover, he criticized China, the country's key trading partner. However, later on, the president reconsidered his approach, reportedly, under pressure from representatives of such powerful sectors of his country's economy like cattle breeding, agriculture and mining, which favor good relations with Beijing.

Even though contacts between the association's leaders were successful, BRICS was not created to strengthen bilateral relations, Alexander Lukin, Department Head of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at the Higher School of Economics, told the paper. "The idea of creating BRICS was to strengthen the voice of non-Western countries in global governance. From these countries' viewpoint, the West fully dominates the global government system, and this has to change. BRICS is the only organization, which is trying to do that. It is a kind of counterbalance to the G7 and the G20 groups," he explained. The expert also pointed to discord between some BRICS countries, specifically, India and China.

"Nevertheless, all BRICS members are interested in ensuring that the non-Western world has more weight in the global economic system. The most important thing for the association is to develop a common stance on the world stage, and that's what the five countries' delegations are doing," he concluded.

Izvestia: Moscow proposes setting up council to protect Russians abroad

Arrests, extradition of Russians, discrimination against the Russian language, vandalism of monuments and violations of Russian journalists' rights have been recorded more often in 2019 than ever before. In order to help Russians defend themselves, it is essential to establish a coordination council, which will provide legal assistance to them, Izvestia writes citing the annual report by the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights.

The document will be presented in the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) in late November and handed over to President Vladimir Putin at a meeting with the members of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights. It will also be forwarded to the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, head of the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights Alexander Brod informed the paper.

"The report is based on the monitoring data and materials provided by partner NGOs. New threats, including pressure against the Russian language and education, have been occurring," he said.

Brod is certain that Russia needs to set up new mechanisms to protect its citizens abroad and coordinate its efforts with other international non-governmental and parliamentary organizations.

The most widespread violation is the infringement of Russian journalists' rights abroad. Russian reporters can be barred from taking part in news conferences or socio-political forums only because they are members of the Russian media community. In Ukraine alone, 122 Russian media outlets have been denied accreditation recently, according to Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova.

Discrimination against Russian citizens is gaining momentum because of ongoing attempts to demonize Russia, Konstantin Zatulin, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, told Izvestia. To reverse that negative trend, Russia needs to pursue a policy towards other countries depending on their attitude to the Russian language and Russians, the senior lawmaker stressed.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Erdogan's Syria gamble may lead to protracted war

Ankara is pushing ahead with efforts aimed at playing a leading role in the Syrian conflict. After his visit to the US, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is likely to use Washington to promote his country's geopolitical interests in northeastern Syria, said Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

Turkey's Anadolu news agency earlier reported that Erdogan said at a meeting with American senators and President Donald Trump that Turkey could resettle up to one million refugees in the safe zone in northeastern Syria within a period of six months to two years. Another one million Syrians could be transported to Raqqa and Deir Ez-Zor.

The resettlement of refugees will inevitably lead to more intense hostilities between the Kurds, Assad's forces and the Turkish military, that is, a real war, which will have nothing to do with vanquishing the Islamic State (IS, terror group, outlawed in Russia). Everything seems to suggest that Russia will play the role of a kind of "dividing wall" in that armed standoff.

"The outcome of Erdogan's negotiations with Donald Trump prove once again that Ankara's key objective in northern Syria is not creating a buffer zone but resettling about two million Syrian refugees there," military expert, Colonel Vladimir Popov, stressed to Nezavisimaya Gazeta. He is certain that "the Americans vigorously back that initiative despite the Kurds' resistance."

"That means that there are no preconditions for resolving the conflict in the Trans-Euphrates region by peaceful means now. The war against the slow Turkish occupation will be waged not only by the Kurds, but the Assad regime as well," he warned, while pointing out that Moscow would end up between a rock and a hard place.

Izvestia: Russia lags behind Europe in shopping malls

Russia is facing a shortage of shopping centers. The availability of shopping space is approximately half that of leading European countries, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov told Izvestia.

"The potential for developing the industry is tremendous," he stressed.

The global commercial real estate services organization, Colliers International, earlier conducted a study in Russia's 129 cities to find out that 104 of them have less than 400 square meters of shopping space per 1,000 people. The urban trio that top the list of Russian cities, which have the best statistics, includes Kursk (805 square meters per 1,000 people), followed by Ivanovo (758 square meters) and Krasnodar (707 square meters).

According to the information provided by the consulting companies interviewed by the paper, Samara, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod top the list of cities with a population over one million people best provided with shopping centers.

Developers often fear entering regional markets, despite the lack of shopping malls, explained President of Garant Invest Group Alexey Panfilov.

Modern shopping centers have turned into points of attraction for urban residents. Previously, shopping malls did not focus on the development of public spaces and entertainment, but today it is an indispensable condition for commercial success, the paper quotes S.A. Ricci Director General Alexander Morozov as saying.

According to the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, the government is interested in increasing the number of shopping facilities, be they small, medium or large.

"The more varied the shopping facilities are, the greater the competition is. Both entrepreneurs and consumers will benefit from that," Denis Manturov has been quoted as saying.

RBC: Pawnshop network planning an IPO in Russia

The Mosgorlombard network of pawnshops, which includes 17 pawnshops in Moscow and the Moscow Region, intends to float its shares in early 2021, the company's spokesperson informed RBC. Plans are in store to sell up to 20% of the shares. That could be the first such placement in Russia. However, experts warn that it will not be easy to do.

The pawnshop market is non-transparent for investors, explains Ivan Uklein, Bank Rating Analyst at Expert RA. Pawnshops, just like other microfinance institutions, carry enormous risks amid constantly tightening regulations, the expert stressed.

"To attract large-scale funding, the reputation of the pawnshop market itself, its regulation, information transparency should take a few steps forward, and that will take considerable time," he said.

Russia's IPO market is facing hard times. The latest float was carried out by Globaltruck freight carrier in November 2017. Several companies, including the Rambler Group, announced their intention to float their shares but have not proceeded to do it so far.

There are no reasons to expect many Russian companies to float their shares, the paper quotes Director General of the BusinessDrom analytical agency Pavel Samiev as saying. The market conditions are not conducive to that, while requirements for issuers are being tightened. "On the other hand every market has a player who believes IPOs are a better source of funding than other mechanisms of attracting investment," he added.

TASS is not responsible for the material quoted in these press reviews
Putin discussed arms control with BRICS leaders (Путин обсудил контроль над вооружениями с лидерами БРИКС) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: vladimir_putin, national_security, summit

MOSCOW, November 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed arms control issues with the leaders of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) at the summit in Brazil. All counterparts share the Russian leader's concerns, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Russia's TV Channel One.

"Putin spoke about the general problem of arms control. He said that US actions on this track certainly had a negative effect. There is actual dismantling of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. There's our common complete ignorance of the future of the New START treaty - whether there will be its prolongation or not. The United States does not outline its stance in any way. Putin spoke about all this and expressed alarm in this connection," Peskov said, adding that the other BRICS leaders shared Putin's concern over this problem.
BRICS Countries bring stability & balance in an uncertain World (Страны БРИКС обеспечивают стабильность и равновесие в неопределенном мире) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion

India places great importance on its engagement with BRICS as it brings stability and balance to an uncertain world said Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways, Piyush Goyal, at the interventions made by him in the BRICS Trade Ministers meeting held in Brasilia, Brazil today.The global economy is facing grave challenges due to growing protectionism and trade tensions due to unilateral measures said the Minister in his address at the session on International Economic Outlook. He further stated that in this uncertainty India continues to offer economic opportunities with reduced corporate taxes that are the most competitive in the world, liberalised rules for Foreign Direct Investment and revitalisation of sectors like real estate and the micro and small enterprises. The micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India support the livelihood of millions of people the Minister added. The 50 million MSMEs create over 100 million jobs and contribute 40 percent to India's exports. It is the backbone of Indian economy but the increasing trends of protectionism in the form of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) are denying market access to these enterprises particularly from the developing countries. Developed countries advocate open and free trade with emphasis on removal of tariffs in developing countries but they themselves are raising more barriers in the form of NTBs that are leading to economic uncertainties and raising the cost of doing trade in developing and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) said the Minister.Commerce and Industry Minister urged the BRICS countries to again focus on trade as a catalyst for development, poverty alleviation and job creation. BRICS countries accounted for 25 percent of the world's GDP, 50 percent of the world's population and around 20 percent of global merchandise trade in 2018. BRICS countries, added the Minister, have natural resources, human capital and financial outreach and have the potential to become global growth engines and leaders in innovation and enterprise.

Commerce and Industry Minister in his address, in the session on Advancing BRICS Trade and Investment Cooperation- the Road Ahead, urged the BRICS countries to develop digital infrastructure, skills and institutions with special focus on the developing countries and LDCs while highlighting the adverse impact of predatory pricing that is practised by some e-commerce players that adversely affects millions of small retailers. He reiterated that e- commerce players must follow the letter and spirit of the law of the country. In his address the Commerce and Industry Minister also spoke about the need to ensure that the WTO reform process does not dilute the basic principles like Special and Differential Treatment to developing countries and consensus-based decision making. He urged the BRICS countries to collectively take the lead in shaping the narrative on reforms within the WTO in order to enhance its relevance and effectiveness in the contemporary technological and trade environment.The Commerce and Industry Minister in his closing remarks at the Trade and Industry Minister's meeting said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) amongst BRICS Trade and Investment Promotion Agencies signed at this meeting provides a framework for forging collaboration between countries and facilitating greater trade amongst BRICS member countries. He expressed his confidence that the MoU will further promote trade and market studies and will narrow gaps in trade facilitation measures in BRICS countries.Piyush Goyal urged all BRICS member countries to maintain the momentum in all the areas agreed upon during the Brazilian Presidency especially cooperation initiatives in MSMEs, Intellectual Property Rights, e- commerce, technical regulations, investment facilitation and trade and investment promotion as cooperation through these frameworks will encourage value added outcomes for stakeholders.The Commerce and Industry Minister said that the joint communique reflects the resolve towards an open, fair, transparent and inclusive multilateral trading system. He further said that as the Joint Communique feeds into the BRICS Leaders' Declaration it sends a strong message to the world in defence of free and fair trade and revival of the rules-based multilateral trading system. He reiterated the Prime Minister of India's commitment that India's no strings attached model of cooperation is driven by the requirements and priorities of India's partner countries.
BRICS, One Decade Later (БРИКС, спустя десятилетие) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, cooperation
Authors: Rajan Kumar and Bappaditya Mukherjee

The summit of BRICS at Brasilia will be an opportunity for the members to conduct a decennial assessment of their cooperative and collaborative activities thus far. These nations can be justifiably pleased with the tangible results of their BRICS-related diplomatic efforts: first, they have established financial institutions that are influential enough to pressurise the Bretton Woods institutions; second, the grouping has advanced a shared vision of global governance that prioritises the interests of emerging economies; and finally, the organisation has become a platform for meaningful transnational civil society interactions.

The global order, nonetheless, has undergone momentous changes since the first formal summit meeting of the BRICS in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in 2008. The BRICS economies have slowed down, and there is a rising wave of protectionism led by the US. The BRICS was conceived in the backdrop of the financial crisis and the collapse of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations in 2007. This was a sign that the incremental progress towards a global free trade regime may be harder than previously thought. However, the subsequent setbacks in global trade liberalisation have surprised even the most pessimistic prognosticators.

The global economic system is facing serious headwinds due to the spectre of retaliatory protectionism between China and the US. Given the centrality of the US-China dynamic for the global trading system, China's disputatious relationship with the US is having downstream adverse effects on other BRICS nations as well. Although trade liberalisation continues to be the stated objective for the BRICS nations, it is increasingly becoming politically difficult for policymakers to justify economic openness to their domestic constituencies. For example, India has recently refused to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) treaty, a free trade forum that includes China, Australia, Japan and the ASEAN countries. India's further turn towards protectionism has to be viewed in the larger context of the virtual abandonment of the liberal trading order by the US under President Trump. Trump merely exploited the long-term concern within the US that it's trading partners were responsible for deindustrialisation, particularly in the electorally important rust belt states. Trump has made reducing the trade deficit the chief goal of US foreign economic policy.

Consequently, under Trump US market access has become harder for its traditional trading partners. For three BRICS nations, Trump's actions carry colossal significance. China is directly impacted by retaliatory tariffs by the US. On the other hand, an aggressive and transactional US trading policy could not have come at a worse time for Brazil and India. Both nations are seeking to boost their export volume for which access to the US market continues to be important. This is why one of the chief concerns of the BRICS group is to ameliorate the negative consequences of the global beggar-thy-neighbour protectionism triggered by the US-China trade dispute.

The good news is that although BRICS nations have struggled to maintain their pre-2008 growth rates in the post-crisis decade, they continue to be the most dynamic components of the global economy. The contribution of the BRICS nations to the global GNP per capita was 5.7 per cent during 2008-2017. This compares very favourably to 1.7 per cent, the share of the rest of the world over this period. The current trajectory of the relatively superior economic performance of the BRICS bloc of nations vis-a-vis the rest of the world is likely to stay the course in the coming years. Irrespective of the results of the next years' presidential elections, the US retrenchment of its leadership of the liberal international order is likely to continue. Absent US leadership and resources, the long-term decline in the legitimacy and effectiveness of the global institutions — the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Bank — to perform their mandated and assumed functions are likely to accelerate.

In this uncertain environment, the BRICS can offer a multilateral model of institutional leadership to enable stable economic and political governance. The diplomatic and resource coordination displayed by the BRICS nations to create the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangements in such a short period has to be lauded.

A more robust BRICS will also strengthen the legitimacy and effectiveness of the United Nations and the WTO. In broad terms, the BRICS nations are aligned with some of the broad principles of the sovereignty, non-intervention norm, territorial integrity and a rules-based global economy based on the international division of labour that these International organisations are meant to institutionalise. They are in general agreement that these Westphalian principles are useful in delegitimising interventions by US-led multilateral coalitions or unilateral US sanctions on Iran and Russia that they oppose in unison. These sanctions have impacted many of the BRICS nations, and Russia and China are likely to call out this issue in the BRICS summit.

The participation of China and Russia underscores the centrality of BRICS as an important forum of international security diplomacy. Russia is deeply involved in West Asia and Eurasia, while China is a regional hegemon in East and South-East Asia, though contested by Japan, Vietnam and other countries. Given the strategic interests of some BRICS nations in Syria, Afghanistan and North Korea, this grouping can play an important role in stabilizing these international flashpoints.

Apart from undermining the existing global free trade regime, the retrenchment of the US from its international leadership responsibilities under Trump has also seriously retarded the existing system of global environmental regulation. Following the withdrawal of the US from the Paris accords on climate change, the BRICS nations have no choice but to forge a transnational consensus on reducing emissions and developing alternatives to fossil fuels.

On the issue of global terrorism, the national interests of individual BRICS members often collide in building a coherent response to this menacing transnational problem. India and China diverge on whether diplomatic pressure should be brought to bear on Pakistan to assuage Indian concerns regarding cross-border support for terrorist groups that target India. For example, Indian efforts to declare Masood Azhar as a global terrorist through a United Nation Security Council Resolution was blocked for a long time due to a technical hold placed by China. A symbolically significant advance in intra-BRICS coordination on global terrorism occurred at the Xiamen Summit in China in 2017 when Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), and Haqqani network were jointly classified as global terror outfits. This was deemed as a major diplomatic victory for India because China had prevented a similar declaration at the BRICS summit Goa just a year ago. In this context, it is noteworthy that President Bolsonaro of Brazil, the host of the next BRICS summit, recently announced that the fight against organized crime and money laundering would be core agenda items of this meeting at Brasilia. This is a good opportunity for India to advance its counter-terrorism diplomatic agenda through BRICS. India has always maintained that curbing money laundering, terrorist finance, supporting the ranking system of countries instituted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) are vital components of a global anti-terror regime.

While the combined size of the population of its members, regional spread across five continents and market size make BRICS a serious group actor in the world affairs, its effectiveness remains hobbled due to failure of its members to resolve some seemingly irreconcilable bilateral differences. In a small organisation of just five members, the border dispute between India and China poses a terminal risk to the viability of this institution. This became quite evident during the Doklam crisis between the two neighbours in 2017 when India threatened to boycott the next summit to be hosted by China. As the power asymmetry between China and the other BRICS nations is likely to increase further, in the future, deft diplomatic manoeuvring will be required by all the stakeholders to manage the internal contradictions within this grouping. China's economic rise is likely to motivate grander ambitions to expand its influence in the South China Sea and Indo-Pacific. China's BRI has also raised concerns because the interests of other countries were not properly addressed before its implementation. The success of BRICS to a large extent will depend on how India and China manage to resolve the border and trade disputes. China's continued diplomatic and material support to Pakistan is likely to remain an issue between the two countries.

In the final assessment, BRICS has made significant achievements in the last decade. It has acquired an institutional status from being an informal talk-shop. The Brasilia summit is occurring at a time when three non-excludable governance challenges are threatening international stability — retaliatory protectionism between US and China, rapid deterioration of the environment, and transnational terrorism. The relevance of the BRICS depends on its ability to coordinate policies on these issues and persuade non-BRICS members to join its efforts.

Prof Kumar teaches at School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. And Bappaditya Mukherjee is ex-faculty at the State University of New York, Genesco, US. Views expressed are personal.
India to Invite Brazil Prez as Republic Day Guest (Индия пригласит Бразилию в качестве гостя на День Республики) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: top_level_meeting, political_issues

The Union government is planning to invite Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as chief guest to the Republic Day celebrations, expanding its outreach to South America.

If the trip is finalised, Bolsonaro would be the third Brazilian President to be invited for Republic Day celebrations, after Fernando Henrique Cardoso in 1996 and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2004.

Government's plan to invite the Brazilian President comes as India is in the process of expanding its ties with South America through high-level visits and meetings.

Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Bolsonaro were present at the Future Investment Initiative business forum in Riyadh last week as Brazil is increasingly viewing Asia as a trade and investment partner.

Brazil under Bolsonaro has not only announced visa-free entry for Indians but also strengthened the counterterrorism agenda of BRICS and helped revive the India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) grouping, much to India's satisfaction.

Further, Prime Minister Modi will travel to Brazil for the BRICS Summit on November 13-14. This will be his second visit to Brazil, after he attended the BRICS Summit there in 2014.

The Hans India
BRICS leaders' meeting (Встреча лидеров БРИКС) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, top_level_meeting, vladimir_putin, speech

Itamaraty Palace in the capital of Brazil was the venue of a meeting of the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Before the consultations, Jair Bolsonaro, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Xi Jinping and Cyril Ramaphosa posed for a group photo.

Speaking at the meeting, Vladimir Putin outlined the priorities of Russia's BRICS presidency in 2020 and invited the member states' leaders to the next summit in Russia.

The Brasilia Declaration was adopted following the 11th BRICS Summit meeting.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Bolsonaro, Prime Minister Modi, President Xi Jinping, President Ramaphosa,

Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

I completely agree with President Bolsonaro's praise of the work done by BRICS. Over the past 10 years, BRICS has achieved serious results and has gained a reputation as a respected association. At the same time, the coordination mechanisms established within BRICS make it possible to cooperate effectively in politics, security, trade, finance and culture.

It is important that the BRICS countries closely cooperate in addressing global and regional problems. Together we speak in favour of strict compliance with the norms of international law and the central role of the United Nations in international affairs. Our countries promote the influence of developing countries in the global management system, as well the establishment of a more just global order.

See also

Declaration of the 11th BRICS Summit November 14, 2019
The BRICS member states consistently deepen mutually beneficial economic ties, strengthen trade and investment flow and together address such important tasks as industrial upgrading, the introduction of innovation technologies, and improvement in our people's welfare.

This year Brazil, which is chairing BRICS, has carried out very useful and constructive work in all the areas of cooperation I mentioned. For this, I would like to thank both President Bolsonaro and all our Brazilian colleagues.

Colleagues, as mentioned, starting on January 1, 2020, Russia will chair BRICS. This is why I would like to talk about Russia's main approaches to the further development of cooperation.

Everything we plan to do will, in one way or another, continue Brazil's efforts; we will carry on these trends and priorities. We regard among our tasks enhancing the efficiency of BRICS in providing for the continuity of implementing the projects approved in recent years.

Russia's motto for its BRICS presidency will be BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Common Security and Innovative Growth. We plan to hold around 150 events at different levels. Apart from the key event, the BRICS Summit in St Petersburg, there will be many meetings, forums and sessions in Chelyabinsk and other Russian cities.

During its presidency, Russia will certainly pay special attention to expanding foreign policy coordination between our states on key international platforms, primarily at the UN where the BRICS countries have good experience of interaction.

We have common positions on a broad range of issues on the UN agenda, such as peacemaking and combating the terrorist threat and transnational crime. We invariably support each other's initiatives and try to vote in solidarity on major resolutions.

However, it appears that the BRICS nations must show more initiative in taking the lead at the UN. We must more actively and persistently promote a positive international agenda by uniting around us like-minded nations to jointly solve key global and regional problems.

Thus, we consider working out international standards in terrorism prevention and countering the spread of terrorist ideology, including via the internet, to be an urgent issue for the BRICS countries' interaction at the UN. The Russian presidency is set to closely cooperate with partners on the issues of money laundering and terrorism financing, and the return of illegally obtained assets.

As you are aware, next year marks the 75th anniversary of the Second World War and the establishment of the United Nations Organisation, and our countries could consider the possibility of drafting a joint statement on these landmark events. It is important to condemn attempts to glorify the Nazis and also to firmly stand up for a world order based on international law and the United Nations Charter.

Regarding economic cooperation between the BRICS member countries, during Russia's chairmanship, we plan to suggest that the group of five economies work together to update the Strategy for BRICS Partnership in Trade and Investment that was approved at the 2015 BRICS Summit in Russia. Indeed, the implementation of this strategy has had a positive impact on economic cooperation between the BRICS member countries in many areas, however, it is time to review and update this document and set new objectives for developing cooperation between various sectors in the BRICS economies for the next five-year period, that is, through 2025.

The main objective of cooperation between the BRICS member countries, as we see it, is to deliver real benefits for people and help improve living standards and the quality of life.

Russia will work to enhance existing BRICS organisations and financial mechanisms – the new Development Bank, as well as the BRICS Pool of Conventional Currency Reserves and its macroeconomic information exchange system. We will continue to work to create a BRICS bond fund in our national currencies. We also plan to come up with new initiatives to expand cooperation between the fiscal, customs and antimonopoly authorities of the BRICS member states. I believe practical work and practical cooperation of this kind will be very useful as it promotes our efforts to achieve our objectives.

We will continue to promote cooperation between the BRICS five-nation group in the energy sector, including efforts to push forward our earlier initiative to create a BRICS energy research platform.

In June, the first ever, and very effective, meeting took place. It was attended by specialists from all five countries. The participants discussed prospects for conducting joint research in the fields of oil, natural gas and energy efficiency.

Of course, we consider culture and people-to-people ties to be another important area of cooperation between the BRICS member states. Next year, we plan to hold a series of cultural events in Russia, including festivals, theatre performances, creativity contests for adults and youth and BRICS sporting events.

We will also continue to do what has been done before, including during the Brazilian chairmanship to promote the activities of the BRICS Network University, expand contacts between academic and scientific centres, research institutions and universities in the five member countries. As for science and healthcare, we are committed to implementing the Clean Rivers of BRICS programme.

In conclusion, I would like to say again that we would be happy to welcome the leaders of the BRICS member states to the next summit in Russia.

Thank you for your attention.
Meeting with BRICS Business Council members and New Development Bank management (Встреча с членами Делового совета БРИКС и руководством Нового банка развития) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: vladimir_putin, speech, summit, think_tank_council, ndb

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in the Brazilian capital.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Bolsonaro, President Xi Jinping, President Ramaphosa, Prime Minister Modi,

Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

Meetings between the BRICS heads of state and governments and the Business Council have become a good tradition. They represent a useful format of direct communication between the leaders of the Five and the business community. I consider it quite logical that Brazil's chairmanship also invited the management of the New Development Bank, which was established five years ago within the BRICS framework and has successfully moved beyond the creation stage; the bank, which has been efficient in investment and lending, has become a key international financial institution.

We listened to the remarks of the bank's president, Mr Kamath, with great interest, and I think the work of the NDB, its executives, the entire management team and regional offices deserve good marks. I believe that my colleagues will agree that Mr Kamath has done a lot to make bank's operation what it currently is – successful.

It is important that the investment project portfolio of the New Development Bank continues to grow and has already exceeded $12 billion, with seven of 44 approved projects being implemented in Russia. They include very important projects for us, such as building small hydroelectric power plants in northwest Russia, in Karelia; an oil refinery in Tobolsk, Siberia; projects to upgrade the water system and infrastructure in several Russian cities; and the development of the Russian court system (including building new court houses and introducing advanced information technologies in legal proceedings).

I would like to propose increasing the share of BRICS national currencies in project financing as my recommendation for the bank's further work. This would not only add weight to our currencies as an alternative for international payments in the global economy, but also help to avoid additional risks and expenses in mutual payments.

And, of course, we welcome the plans of the New Development Bank to attract ruble loans on the Russian financial market. This measure fully corresponds with the interests of Russian borrowers too, and the preparations for issuing the first ruble loan have already begun in cooperation with the Russian Finance Ministry and the Bank of Russia.

In this context, I would like to remind everyone that the Russian currency, the ruble, can easily be converted into any currency of the world. Given the stable macroeconomic situation in Russia, the ruble can serve as an additional means of payment between our countries and it fully meets all these requirements.

We also count on the fact that the New Development Bank will soon complete the approval of internal procedures to launch the technical support foundation aimed at helping entrepreneurs draft high-quality design documents when applying for a bank loan.

One more point. It seems worthwhile to increase the number of regional branches of the New Development Bank. I would like to note the successful experience of the African Regional Centre in Johannesburg. A bank's branch in Latin America has been launched in Brazil. We plan to complete the necessary procedures for the opening of the Bank's Moscow office in the first half of 2020.

I would also like to praise the work of the BRICS Business Council that was described to us in detail by its Chairman Jackson Schneider. The Council really helps fill BRICS economic cooperation with specific projects and initiatives in trade, investment, industry, finances, science and technology.

Related Business Council working groups – on infrastructure, production, finances, energy and the green economy, personnel policy, agriculture, deregulation, regional aviation and the digital economy – have earned positive reputations.

I would like to thank the members of the Business Council for yet another detailed report with recommendations on developing cooperation between states and the business community. We will of course study them attentively and will certainly consider them during the Russian Presidency of BRICS in 2020 when determining key areas of cooperation in our association.

I would like to mention that next year we plan to suggest to our BRICS partners an update, through a joint effort, of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership until 2025, which was adopted at its summit in Russia in 2015. We assume that the Business Council will come up with its own ideas and proposals on this.

As I said yesterday, a vast programme of business events will be timed to the BRICS summit in St Petersburg next July. We invite all interested business associations and official circles in the BRICS countries to attend. And naturally, we are looking forward to meeting our guests from BRICS at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in June and the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok next September.

Thank you for your attention.

See also

Visit to Brazil. BRICS Summit November 13 − 14, 2019
Closing ceremony of BRICS Business Forum (Церемония закрытия бизнес-форума БРИКС) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: vladimir_putin, speech, summit

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Bolsonaro, Prime Minister Modi, President Xi Jinping, President Ramaphosa, forum participants, ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to begin by greeting everyone present here, and I certainly agree with the assessments by the heads of state who spoke earlier that the BRICS Business Forum is making a tangible practical contribution to our joint efforts to promote mutual trade and investment, as well as ties between our economies. This is also confirmed by the results of the current forum.

Our hosts have just noted that over 1,000 people took part in the work. We discussed many interesting projects and many promising agreements were reached. It is now time to implement them. In turn, we are ready to assist entrepreneurs in every way.

Of course, all of us know that the global economic situation remains complicated. Global growth rates have been subsiding since early 2018. The International Monetary Fund predicts that this year growth rates will hit a ten-year low. Indeed, our colleagues who have spoken here are noting aptly that BRICS countries are making a weighty contribution to maintaining economic growth.

The more frequent use of unfair competition methods in global trade, as well as unilateral sanctions, including politically motivated sanctions and rampant protectionism, have undoubtedly impacted the economy. In these conditions, BRICS countries have to exert serious efforts in order to ensure the development of their own economies, and to prevent an aggravation of the social situation and a decline in living standards and the well-being of our countries' citizens.

We have conducted a balanced macroeconomic policy in Russia for years with a responsible attitude to state funds. We are maintaining the stability of the banking and lending markets, and trying to help strengthen the main economic sectors. Thanks to these efforts, we have prevented the national economy from sliding into a recession. Of course, we do not regard the current GDP growth rate as sufficient, which is why we are trying to create the most comfortable conditions possible for new investments, doing our best to simplify regulatory norms and developing a modern infrastructure.

In October of this year, the World Bank again upgraded its assessment of the business and investment climate in Russia. Our investment attractiveness, including the securities market, is improving. Based on the results of the first quarter of 2019, foreign investment in federal bonds has increased by nearly $4 billion.

Russia is an active member of international trade. We are expanding mutually beneficial ties with other countries, primarily our BRICS partners. In 2018, our trade with the BRICS countries increased by 22.5 percent to more than $125 billion.

We are promoting industrial cooperation within BRICS and creating modern technological and investment alliances, primarily in science-intensive spheres. One of the positive examples of this cooperation is the joint implementation together with our BRICS partners of projects in aircraft and rocket manufacturing, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and space exploration. There is potential for building up our interaction in the field of ICT.

We invite the BRICS countries to take a look at our new achievements in electronic document management, search systems and antivirus software, which meet the highest data security requirements. We can offer them to our BRICS partners.

I would like to remind you that Russia has proposed launching a data exchange system for small and medium-sized businesses within BRICS. This would allow our businesses to receive the latest information about goods, services and suppliers and to look for new partners.

The energy sector is one of the high-priority cooperation spheres for our five countries. Russia ensures reliable fuel and energy deliveries to global markets and makes a substantial contribution to maintaining global energy security, without which it would be impossible to ensure economic growth and social development.

We are ready to expand collaboration with the BRICS countries in using environmentally friendly fuel. Promising aspects of our joint work include production of renewable energy sources, efforts to boost energy efficiency and the use of natural gas as a motor fuel.

I must also point out that Russia has the most advanced, cleanest and safest civilian nuclear technology. We are successfully expanding cooperation in this area with our BRICS partners, primarily the People's Republic of China and India. We can offer mutually beneficial nuclear power industry projects to all other BRICS countries as well.

Colleagues, Russia will assume the presidency of BRICS next year. It goes without saying that we will prioritise matters of further expanding intra-BRICS trade and investment collaboration.

First of all, we are planning to propose that BRICS countries update the Economic Partnership Strategy, which was adopted at the 2015 summit in Russia. It would be appropriate to think what new goals our association should set, and what truly large-scale joint tasks in trade, finance and investment we should focus on. Of course, we will use all the constructive ideas and proposals that have been submitted by the BRICS Business Council, the New Development Bank, and the business and expert communities.

I would like to note that a detailed programme of events will be drafted in the run-up to the planned July 2020 BRICS summit in St Petersburg. Many of them will focus on economic cooperation. I would like to use this opportunity to invite official representatives and business leaders of BRICS member countries to take part in these events. We also would like to invite you to attend major business forums in Russia, including the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, scheduled for June 3–6, 2020, and the Eastern Economic Forum in early September in Vladivostok, Russia's Far East.

Thank you for your attention.

See also

Visit to Brazil. BRICS Summit November 13 − 14, 2019
Putin Encourages BRICS to Collaborate on Anti-Virus Programs (Путин призывает БРИКС сотрудничать по антивирусным программам) / USA, November, 2019
Keywords: vladimir_putin, digital, national_security, summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin told fellow leaders of the BRICS group of emerging economy nations that he supports more cooperation in information and computing.

"We would like the other countries to look at our advances in those areas to participate with us, including in anti-virus programs that are fundamental for the information sector," Putin said.

Speaking at an event for business executives, Putin also told the leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa that Russia has proposed a data-exchange network to help small- and medium-size companies in their nations to find suppliers more efficiently.

The five leaders gathered in Brazil's capital underscored in speeches Wednesday night their greater integration aimed at boosting the countries' economic growth.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said mounting protectionism and threats in the world have eroded international trade and investment, weighing down global growth.

China is in the midst of trade fight with the U.S. that has caused economic forecasts to slide.

Still, Xi said, the outlook for continued Chinese growth provides opportunities for the world.

"Looking forward, China's resolve to open its market remains unchanged and so does its positive growth trajectory," Xi said.

Prime Minister Narenda Modi of India said that taxation and customs process have become simpler between the five countries and that the business environment is becoming more conducive. But he asked business leaders for their help.

"Inter-BRICS trade and investment targets must be more ambitious. Your suggestions for further reducing trade costs between us will be very useful," Modi said. "I would also like to request that we identify priority business sectors for us in the next 10 years and on the basis of these we create a blueprint for inter-BRICS cooperation."

On Thursday, the leaders will hold the plenary session of the BRICS session and hold bilateral meetings.
Interview: BRICS could help improve global governance, says expert (Интервью: БРИКС может помочь улучшить глобальное управление, считает эксперт) / China, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance

MOSCOW, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- BRICS could improve global governance and provide a voice for non-Western countries, says one expert.

This grouping of the world's five major emerging economies -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is a project for their voices to be heard on the world stage and can thus help "improve global governance and create a more equitable world order," according to Georgy Toloraya, executive director of the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research.

Toloraya made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua ahead of the 11th BRICS summit scheduled for Nov. 13-14 in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil.

Toloraya said that in the context of increasing chaos in international affairs, BRICS provides an opportunity for consolidating the views of non-Western countries on the global agenda.

"It is not aimed against the West. BRICS is for order, for determining game rules that would meet the interests of various countries and not just Western countries as has been the case so far," he said.

The group is seemingly growing to be a "developer" of such rules, he said.

"The fact is that the BRICS agenda covers almost the entire spectrum of international life, including sustainable development, scientific and technical cooperation, economic and humanitarian cooperation, and global governance, a topic specific to the BRICS," Toloraya said.

"There is no reason to doubt the prospects of the BRICS," Toloraya noted, adding, "I believe the (Brasilia) summit, which has a big agenda, will be successful."

Russia will take over the rotating BRICS presidency from in 2020.
Xi seeks business support for BRICS (Си ищет поддержку бизнеса для БРИКС) / China, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, xi_jinping, economic_challenges

Involvement of private sector will promote growth

President Xi Jinping called on Wednesday for active participation of the business sector in BRICS cooperation to promote economic growth and job creation amid a global economic slowdown, which is arising from growing protectionism.

Xi made the remark when addressing the closing ceremony of the BRICS business forum in Brasilia, Brazil, amid sentiment that the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — should strive to use the 11th BRICS Summit to cement their ties in a world of rising uncertainty.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also attended the forum, which involved around 600 business leaders from the five emerging markets.

Xi said that the world situation has recently witnessed many changes, which have brought about both opportunities and challenges.

He referred to the new round of technological and industrial revolution driving socioeconomic development while mounting protectionism and economic bullying are eroding global trade and investment and weighing down the world economy.

Saying the market gains vitality when businesses are confident, Xi called on the business sector to leverage its respective strengths to get involved in BRICS cooperation and promote investment and business in BRICS countries.

He told forum participants that China's development presents an opportunity to the world, adding that the country's resolve to expand opening-up and the long-term positive trend of its economy remain unchanged.

China will further open its market, expand imports and constantly improve its business environment to create better conditions for business development, Xi added.

He said that the joint building of the Belt and Road has entered a stage of high-quality development, and he called on entrepreneurs to seize opportunities and actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative to reap more fruits of cooperation.

The 11th BRICS Summit, held under the theme "BRICS: Economic growth for an innovative future", offers an opportunity for the five countries to boost their cooperation in scientific and technological innovation, finance and digital economy, officials said.

Xi said at the forum that the BRICS partnership for a new industrial revolution is vital to BRICS economic cooperation at the next stage. He urged the business sector to integrate business cooperation with the BRICS partnership as part of the new industrial revolution. That will enable them to produce more outcomes in such areas as innovation and the digital and green economies to promote high-quality development of BRICS economies.

Zhou Zhiwei, a researcher in Latin America studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that this year's summit will focus not just on economic and trade cooperation among BRICS members given that innovation cooperation will be a new driver of growth, Xinhua News Agency reported.

BRICS might use the summit to strengthen cooperation mechanisms in such fields as digital economy and scientific and technological innovation, Zhou said.

BRICS countries make up over 40 percent of the world's population, and with cooperation among its members continuously growing in many fields, they accounted for about 23.5 percent of global GDP and 16.3 percent of global trade in 2018.
BRASÍLIA DECLARATION - 11th BRICS Summit (Декларация 11-го Саммита БРИКС в Бразилиа) / Brazil, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, concluded_agreements


1. We, the Leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa met on 14 November 2019 in Brasília, Brazil, at the Eleventh BRICS Summit, which was held under the theme "BRICS: economic growth for an innovative future".

2. As leaders of vibrant nations, we reaffirm our fundamental commitment to the principle of sovereignty, mutual respect and equality and to the shared goal of building a peaceful, stable and prosperous world. These concepts, values and objectives provide a solid foundation and clear guidance for our mutually beneficial and pragmatic cooperation. Building on the work of successive summits in the pillars of economy, peace and security and people-to-people exchanges, we will continue to strengthen BRICS cooperation for the benefit and welfare of our peoples and enhance the traditional ties of friendship amongst our countries.

3. We are pleased with the outcomes of the 2019 BRICS Chairship (Annex 1). We recall the more than one hundred meetings held this year (Annex 2). We welcome the Ministerial and other high-level Meetings held this year in the areas of finance, trade, foreign affairs, national security matters, communications, environment, labor and employment, science, technology and innovation, energy, agriculture, health and culture. We also note the Meeting of New Development Bank Board of Governors.

4. We welcome, among other achievements, the establishment of the Innovation BRICS Network (iBRICS); the adoption of the New Architecture on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), which will be implemented through the BRICS STI Steering Committee, and the Terms of Reference of the BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform. We also welcome the holding of the BRICS Strategies for Countering Terrorism Seminar, the Workshop on Human Milk Banks and the BRICS Meeting on Asset Recovery. We commend the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding among BRICS Trade and Investment Promotion Agencies (TIPAs), and the establishment of the BRICS Women Business Alliance (WBA). We further appreciate the approval of the Collaborative Research Program for Tuberculosis, and other initiatives promoted by the 2019 BRICS Chairship. Strengthening and reforming the multilateral system

5. We remain committed to multilateralism, cooperation of sovereign States to maintain peace and security, advance sustainable development and ensure the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all and build a brighter shared future for the international community. We reaffirm our commitment to helping overcome the significant challenges currently facing multilateralism, as well as upholding the central role of the UN in international affairs and respecting international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, its purposes and principles.

6. We reiterate the urgent need to strengthen and reform the multilateral system, including the UN, the WTO, the IMF and other international organizations, which we will continue working to make more inclusive, democratic and representative, including through greater participation of emerging markets and developing countries in international decision-making. We reiterate our commitment to shaping a more fair, just, equitable and representative multipolar international order. We also underline the imperative that international organizations be fully driven by Member States and promote the interests of all.

7. We recall the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective, and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to the status and role of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.

8. We express our commitment to sustainable development in its three dimensions - economic, social and environmental - in a balanced and integrated manner. All our citizens, in all parts of our respective territories, including remote areas, deserve to fully enjoy the benefits of sustainable development. International cooperation in this field, as in all others, must respect national sovereignty and domestic legal and institutional frameworks and arrangements, as well as practices and procedures.

9. We reiterate the importance of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and call for redoubled efforts for its timely implementation. We call on developed countries to fully implement their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments and to provide developing countries with additional development resources.

10. We reiterate our commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement adopted under the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances. We urge developed countries included in Annex II to scale up the provision of financial, technological and capacity-building assistance to developing countries to support mitigation and adaptation action. We expect that the first replenishment of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) by the end of 2019 will significantly exceed the initial resource mobilization, ensuring that financial contributions by donors match the ambition, needs and priorities of developing countries. We are also committed to working for the success of UNFCCC COP 25, particularly with regard to achieving a balanced and comprehensive outcome on all remaining items of the Paris Agreement Work Program.

11. We recall the BRICS MOU on Regional Aviation and value the cooperation among BRICS countries in the field of civil aviation. Acknowledging the critical role played by the aviation sector in emerging markets, including in BRICS countries, and considering the potential impacts of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) on the growth of the aviation sector, we reiterate our commitment to work together on the review process of the framework.

12. We are committed to contributing to and supporting the development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and to the successful outcome of the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be held in Kunming, China, in 2020. We will deepen our dialogue and cooperation on the respective positions concerning biodiversity. We expect that the CBD's three objectives are considered in the Framework in a balanced manner, so as to avoid overlooking the often disregarded sustainable use of biological diversity components and Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) pillars.

13. We are committed to implement the outcomes of COP 14 UNCCD with an aim to achieve SDG 15.3 by 2030 to combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world. We welcome enhancement of SouthSouth Cooperation through the establishment of the Centre for Sustainable Land Restoration by India for capacity building, exchange of database and information regarding the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme. We acknowledge the New Delhi Declaration on "Investing in Land and Unlocking Opportunities" and the Ordos Declaration.

14. We express serious concern over persistent threats to international peace and security and commit to work for lasting peace for all, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and all applicable international obligations. We reaffirm our commitment to the principles of good-faith, sovereign equality of States, non-intervention in matters within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, and the duty to cooperate, consistently with the Charter of the UN. Implementation of these principles excludes imposition of coercive measures not based on international law.

15. We emphasize the importance of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) as a pillar of the international security system. We underline the need to comply with and strengthen the BTWC, including by adopting a Protocol to the Convention that provides for, inter alia, an efficient verification mechanism. We reaffirm that the BTWC is the core instrument for biological and toxin weapons. Its functions, including in what concerns the UN Security Council, should not be duplicated by other mechanisms. Efforts aimed at the resolution of implementation issues should be consistent with the BTWC.

16. We reaffirm support for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and to the preservation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) as an effective disarmament and non-proliferation instrument. We stress the need for the States Parties to the CWC to stand united and be engaged in constructive dialogue with a view to restoring the culture of consensus in the OPCW.

17. We express our serious concern about the possibility of an arms race in outer space and reaffirm the need to carry on activities in the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations. We emphasize the urgent need to negotiate a legally binding multilateral instrument that could fill the gap in the international legal regime applicable to outer space, including on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space. We stress that practical transparency and confidence building measures may also contribute towards this goal. In this connection, we welcome the relevant work carried out by the UN Group of Governmental Experts on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) and regret that it was unable to reach consensus on its report. We underscore that any instrument on this matter should be non-discriminatory and contain operative provisions on the right to develop technology for peaceful purposes.

18. We underscore the importance of an open, secure, peaceful, stable, accessible and non-discriminatory environment for information and communications technologies (ICTs). We emphasize the importance of universally agreed norms, rules and principles, under the auspices of the UN, for the responsible behavior of States in the realm of ICTs, and uphold the centrality of the United Nations in their development. In this connection, we welcome the establishment of a UN open-ended working group on this matter, as well as the launch of a new edition of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE). While supporting both mechanisms, we underline that the dual-track process can provide complementarity and synergies in the international efforts in this matter.

19. We reaffirm our commitment to tackling the misuse of ICTs for criminal and terrorist activities. New challenges and threats in this respect require international cooperation, including through discussions on possible frameworks of cooperation, among which a UN universal binding regulatory instrument on the criminal use of ICTs. We recognize the progress made by the BRICS countries in promoting cooperation through the Working Group on Security in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (WGSICT), which approved its revised Terms of Reference, and through the BRICS Roadmap of Practical Cooperation on Ensuring Security in the Use of ICTs. Bearing in mind previous BRICS Summits, we reaffirm the importance of establishing legal frameworks of cooperation among BRICS member States on ensuring security in the use of ICTs and acknowledge the work of the WGSICT towards consideration and elaboration of proposals on this matter. We take note of both the proposal by Russia on a BRICS intergovernmental agreement on cooperation on ensuring security in the use of ICTs and of the Brazilian initiative towards bilateral agreements among BRICS countries on the matter.

20. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, which should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization, and recognize terrorist acts as criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivations whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed. We urge for concerted efforts to fight against terrorism under UN auspices in accordance with international law, recognize the primary role of States and their competent authorities in preventing and countering terrorism and express our conviction that a comprehensive approach is necessary to ensure effective results in combating terrorism. We recall the responsibility of all States to prevent financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions, including those from their territories. We also call for an expeditious conclusion and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism within the UN framework. We emphasize the importance of preventing and combating the financing of terrorism, implementing relevant UNSC resolutions and welcome in this regard the adoption of UNSC Resolution 2462 (2019). To address the threat of chemical and biological terrorism, we emphasize the need to launch multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, including at the Conference on Disarmament.

21. We recognize progress made in BRICS cooperation in counter-terrorism and welcome the results of the Fourth Meeting of the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group, including the establishment of thematic sub-working groups and the holding in Brasília of the Seminar "BRICS Strategies for Countering Terrorism".

22. We reaffirm our commitment to combating illicit financial flows (IFFs) and to closely cooperating within the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the FATF-style regional bodies (FSRBs), as well as in other multilateral, regional and bilateral fora. We emphasize the importance of upholding and supporting the objectives of the FATF and of intensifying our cooperation to implement and improve FAFT Standards. We value and encourage the dialogue among BRICS countries in key issues of the Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) agenda, bearing in mind the proposed institutionalization of the AML/CFT BRICS Council. We underscore the importance of the work of national Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs).

Economic and Financial Cooperation

23. Since our last meeting, global economic growth has weakened, and downside risks have increased. Trade tensions and policy uncertainty have taken a toll on confidence, trade, investment and growth. In this context, we recall the importance of open markets, fair, just and non-discriminatory business and trade environments, structural reforms, effective and fair competition, promoting investment and innovation, as well as financing for infrastructure and development. We stress the need for greater participation of developing countries in global value chains. We will continue to cooperate within the G20 and advance the interests of EMEs and developing countries.

24. While noting that the BRICS countries have been the main drivers of global growth over the last decade and currently represent close to a third of global output, we are convinced that continued implementation of structural reforms will enhance our growth potential. Trade expansion among BRICS members will further contribute to strengthening international trade flows. We further advocate for continued use of fiscal, monetary and structural policies to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. We call on major advanced and emerging market economies to continue policy dialogue and coordination in the context of the G20 and other fora to advance these objectives and to address potential risks.

25. We reaffirm our commitment to a strong, quota-based and adequately resourced IMF at the center of the global financial safety net. We are deeply disappointed that the 15th General Review of Quotas (GRQ) failed in increasing the quota size of the Fund and realigning quota shares of member countries, including in favor of emerging markets and dynamic economies (EMDEs), which remain under-represented in the Fund. We also support protecting the voice and representation of the poorest members. We call upon the IMF to start work on quota and governance reform on the basis of the principles agreed in 2010 under the 16th GRQ in right earnest and within a tight timeframe.

26. We reiterate the fundamental importance of a rules-based, transparent, nondiscriminatory, open, free and inclusive international trade. We remain committed to preserving and strengthening the multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization at its center. It is critical that all WTO members avoid unilateral and protectionist measures, which run counter to the spirit and rules of the WTO.

27. We recognize the importance of necessary WTO reform, including in the lead up to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference, to ensure the effectiveness and relevance of the Organization and its capacity to better address current and future challenges. Our countries will work with all WTO Members to advance a process for necessary reform that is balanced, open, transparent and that promotes inclusivity and development. The reform must, inter alia, preserve the centrality, core values and fundamental principles of the WTO, and consider the interests of all members, including developing countries and LDCs.

28. We emphasize the importance of the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism, with its two-stage binding adjudication system. The Appellate Body is essential to the regular and effective functioning of the Organization and the fulfilment of its rules. We underline the urgency to overcome the impasse in the appointment of members to the Appellate Body, and call upon all members to agree to initiate the Appellate Body selection process promptly.

29. We will explore in appropriate fora ways to promote and facilitate investments in productive sectors, e-commerce, MSMEs, infrastructure and connectivity, which will help to promote economic growth, trade and job creation. In so doing, we will take into account national imperatives and policy frameworks, with the aim of enhancing transparent, effective and an investment-friendly business environment.

30. We note with appreciation the role of the New Development Bank (NDB) in infrastructure and sustainable development financing. We stress the need for enhanced efforts to build a strong, balanced and high-quality portfolio of projects. We also note with pride the 5th anniversary of the signing of the NDB's Articles of Agreement in Fortaleza, Brazil and welcome the upcoming mid-term review of NDB's General Strategy.

31. We welcome the opening of NDB Regional Offices and their activities in member countries. We welcome the establishment of the Americas Regional Office in São Paulo, along with its sub-office in Brasília, and look forward to the opening of the two remaining NDB Regional Offices in Russia and India in 2020. Building upon the core functions of the Bank's headquarters, its Regional Offices shall contribute to expanding its operations and striving for a more robust project portfolio for all member countries.

32. We acknowledge the progress made by the New Development Bank towards expanding its membership. The expansion of the NDB membership in accordance with its Articles of Agreement will strengthen the Bank's role as a global development finance institution and further contribute to the mobilization of resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other EMDC's. We look forward to the Board of Governors concluding the preparatory work with the aim of taking timely and considered decisions on the expansion of the membership in due course.

33. We also attach great importance to other key cooperation initiatives, encompassing the BRICS Task Force on PPP and Infrastructure, which facilitates dialogue on infrastructure, including the G20 infrastructure agenda, the NDB's Project Preparation Facility, the effectiveness of which will be enhanced by launching its first set of projects at the earliest, and our cooperation with a view to enhancing the representation of developing countries and emerging economies in the Multilateral Development Banks.

34. We note with satisfaction further steps undertaken to ensure the preparedness of the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) and welcome the conclusion of a second test run, with added elements of complexity, of the de-linked portion of the CRA mechanism, including encashment.

35. We note the progress achieved in establishing a BRICS Local Currency Bond Fund and look forward to its operation. We support the on-going collaboration to develop our local bond markets. We will continue to communicate on other possible areas of currency cooperation, consistent with each central bank's mandate.

36. We acknowledge the importance of the BRICS Survey on International Payments System.

37. We positively assess the progress achieved under the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership including ensuring innovative, sustainable and inclusive economic growth and look forward to its review under the Russian Chairmanship in 2020. We applaud the progress that members have made in the implementation of the BRICS Action Agenda on Economic and Trade Cooperation, promoting several activities for policy sharing, information exchange, trade and investment facilitation and promotion, and development of trade studies. We welcome the conclusion of the BRICS Joint Trade Study Review, which identified trade and investment potential between BRICS countries, and instruct our ministers to continue to take actions that give support for joint initiatives of cooperation between our countries.

38. We welcome the holding of the BRICS Business Forum and acknowledge the efforts of the BRICS Business Council (BBC) in promoting trade and investment among its members by fostering cooperation in areas such as infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, agribusiness, including biotechnology, financial services, regional aviation, alignment of technical standards, skills development and digital economy.

39. We welcome the establishment of the BRICS Women Business Alliance (WBA), which aims at increasing the role of women as drivers of economic growth, contributing to the economic empowerment of women in our countries and bringing a distinctive perspective on issues of interest for the BRICS business community. The WBA's agenda, working methods and other matters related to its functioning will be determined by its members. We look forward to the selection of five members per country and the holding of the first meeting of the WBA to take place as early as possible in 2020.

40. We call on the WBA and BBC to cooperate actively and coordinate their activities in order to be mutually reinforcing and strengthen the participation of women in all BRICS business initiatives, including in the BBC.

Regional Situations

41. We reaffirm our commitment to collective efforts for peaceful settlement of disputes through political and diplomatic means, and recognize the role of the UN Security Council as bearing the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.

42. Regarding the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, we reaffirm our strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the country. We express our conviction that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict. We also reaffirm our commitment to advancing a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015). We express our support to the creation of the Constitutional Committee, thanks to the efforts of the UN, the Astana Guarantors and all states engaged in efforts to address the conflict through political means. We call on all parties to allow for unhindered humanitarian aid and to fully implement a sustainable ceasefire in the Idlib region, which does not encompass terrorist groups and entities that are designated as such by the UN Security Council. We reaffirm the international obligations to fight terrorism in all its forms and highlight the importance of unity in the fight against terrorist organizations in Syria that are designated as such by the UN Security Council. We also express concern with the suffering of vulnerable ethnic and religious communities and minorities. We remain deeply concerned with the humanitarian situation in Syria and the risks of dispersion of terrorists. We urge all parties to facilitate humanitarian aid to all Syrians throughout the country without preconditions. Bearing in mind the need to protect civilians under international human rights law and international humanitarian law throughout the territory of Syria, we welcome the efforts to de-escalate the crisis in northeastern Syria, in particular the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Russia and Turkey on 22 October 2019.

43. We reaffirm our concern about the ongoing conflict and the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the Republic of Yemen and call on the parties to facilitate the rapid, safe and unhindered access to humanitarian personnel and supplies across the country. We recognize that the Yemeni conflict has a significant impact on the security and stability of the whole region and reiterate our support of the Stockholm Process and the efforts of the United Nations towards a peaceful Yemeni-led resolution to the conflict, under the auspices of the United Nations.

44. We are unanimous in our resolve that the conflicts elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa should not be used as pretext to delay resolution of the long-standing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Guided by the international framework in place, such as the relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid principles and the Arab Peace Initiative, we reiterate that the two-state solution will enable Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side, in peace and security. In this context, we express, furthermore, the need for new and creative diplomatic efforts to achieving a just and comprehensive settlement of the PalestinianIsraeli conflict, in order to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East.

45. We express our serious concern about the ongoing crisis in the Gulf region, including one-sided actions and reaffirm our support for the resolution of the existing disagreements through negotiations and diplomatic engagement. We stress the need for promoting a positive, constructive agenda in the region, in which all countries jointly respond to common threats and challenges. We underscore that UN member states are obligated under article 25 of the UN Charter to accept and carry out the Security Council decisions.

46. We reiterate our continuous support to the people of Afghanistan in their effort to build a stable, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous country. We firmly believe that there is no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan. We reaffirm our support for a process of peace and reconciliation that is Afghan-owned and Afghan-led. We express concern over the persistence of terrorist-related attacks.

47. We reaffirm our support for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation in the Korean Peninsula, as well as for its complete denuclearization. We underline the importance of maintaining peace and stability in North East Asia.

48. We commend the efforts of the African Union and sub-regional organizations in addressing regional issues and managing conflicts in the interest of peace and security in the continent and reiterate the importance of collaboration between the United Nations and the African Union. We urge all parties to cease immediately all military action in Libya and to engage with the United Nations and the AU High Level Committee on Libya and relevant stakeholders to ensure a comprehensive and sustainable solution through a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process.

49. We congratulate the Sudanese people for the signing on 17 August 2019 in Khartoum of the Political Agreement and Constitutional Declaration, which we consider an important step towards the stabilization of the political situation in Sudan. We acknowledge the efforts of the African Union and the Ethiopian government, whose mediation contributed to the conclusion of negotiations.

Intra-BRICS Cooperation

50. We welcome Brazil´s hosting of the Stand-alone Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations in Rio de Janeiro on 26 July 2019. The Ministers exchanged views on major global political, security, economic and financial issues of common concern and on ways to strengthen BRICS cooperation. We also welcome the Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations on the margins of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly as part of continued cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including through our permanent missions to the UN.

51. We welcome the 9th meeting of BRICS High Representatives for Security, held in October 2019, and commend them for enhancing BRICS dialogue on counter-terrorism, security in the use of ICTs, major international and regional hot spots, peacekeeping and transnational organized crime.

52. We highlight the importance of science, technology and innovation (STI) as one of the main drivers of economic growth as well as a key element to shape the future of our societies. We welcome the results of the 7 th Meeting of the BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Ministers and cooperation initiatives which have been fostering collaboration among researchers, young scientists and government bodies and bringing closer together our innovation ecosystems. We express satisfaction at the results achieved by the Innovation Action Plan, such as the creation of the iBRICS Network. We welcome the new BRICS STI Architecture aimed at streamlining and intensifying STI joint activities, to be implemented through the BRICS STI Steering Committee.

53. We welcome the outcomes of the 5th Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Communication. We will continue to strengthen joint activities among BRICS countries, create new cooperation opportunities and expand and intensify partnerships already in progress including taking necessary steps for early setting up of the Digital BRICS Task Force (DBTF). We note with appreciation the outcome of the first meeting of the BRICS Institute of Future Networks (BIFN) Council.

54. We recognize the New Industrial Revolution (NIR) as a critical development opportunity from which all countries must benefit equally, while acknowledging the challenges it brings. We note with satisfaction the progress in the implementation of the Johannesburg Summit decision to commence the full operationalization of PartNIR. We also welcome the adoption of the PartNIR Work Plan and the Terms of References of PartNIR Advisory Group. We will continue to take mutually beneficial initiatives in the six cooperation areas identified in the Work Plan, as agreed at the BRICS 2nd PartNIR meeting held in Brasilia in September 2019, including establishing BRICS industrial and science parks, innovation centers, technology business incubators and enterprises network.

55. We take note of the progress made on the negotiation of the Agreement on Cooperation on BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation and look forward to its early conclusion.

56. We acknowledge the crucial role of energy in promoting social and economic development, as well as environmental protection. While recognizing that the energy transition of each country is unique according to national circumstances, we underscore the importance of securing access to clean, sustainable, affordable energy to our populations. In this regard, diversification of energy sources is paramount to achieve energy security. To that end, we commit to continue to pursue the efficient use of fossil fuels and to increase the share of renewable energy in our economies, including biofuels, hydro, solar and wind. We welcome the ongoing cooperation among our countries in the field of energy. We welcome the holding the 4th Energy Ministerial Meeting in Brasilia and the adoption of the Terms of Reference for the BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform, which will further advance our mutual cooperation, allow for deeper exchange of views and best practices and significantly contribute to global research on energy.

57. We welcome the 9th Meeting of BRICS Health Ministers and the Collaborative Research Program for TB, developed by BRICS TB Research Network in 2019, aimed at promoting new scientific, technological and innovative approaches to tackle the TB burden, by supporting scientific projects in a wide range of relevant issues related to TB. We also welcome the creation of the BRICS Network of Human Milk Banks as proposed in the 1st Workshop of Human Milk Banks. We emphasize the importance of our collective action in promoting research and development of medicines and diagnostic tools to end epidemics, to combat communicable diseases and to facilitate access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines, as well as activities to strengthen non-communicable diseases prevention.

58. We welcome the outcomes of the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meetings, in April and October, on the margins of IMF/WBG Meetings. We note with satisfaction the ongoing development of cooperation on financial issues. We stress the importance of enhancing BRICS financial cooperation to better serve the real economy and address the development needs of our populations.

59. We note the progress achieved by the BRICS Customs Administrations regarding the draft BRICS Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement and direct our respective appropriate authorities to work towards its early conclusion and entry into force. We also welcome the substantial progress made in the implementation of the Strategic Framework of BRICS Customs Cooperation, especially with regard to the BRICS Authorized Economic Operator Program, which should be functional by the end of 2022, including the mutual recognition of controls and economic operators. We also acknowledge the positive practice of establishing BRICS Custom Training Centres and direct the pertinent authorities to continue this approach in the future. We recognize the potential of the BRICS Customs Cooperation Committee and call for enhanced intraBRICS cooperation at relevant multilateral fora, including in trade facilitation, law enforcement, use of advanced information technologies and capacity building.

60. We support efforts to increase trade and recognize that actions such as underinvoicing have a negative impact on trade and industrial policy and tax collection, and need to be addressed.

61. We acknowledge the continued support provided by the BRICS Revenue Authorities towards the implementation of the global standards on transparency and exchange of information and the minimum standards against Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). We remain committed to addressing the tax challenges of the digitalization of the economy. We look forward to further progress in the discussion of the two-pillar approach developed by the Inclusive Framework on BEPS. We welcome the recent achievement on tax transparency including the progress on automatic exchange of information for tax purposes. We call on all jurisdictions to sign and ratify the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. We remain committed to enhancing our efforts on the prevention of base erosion and profit shifting, exchange of tax information, and needs-based capacity building for developing countries. We commit to deeper exchanges and sharing of experiences and best practices, as well as to mutual learning in taxation matters.

62. We appreciate the positive results of the 9th BRICS Trade Ministers Meeting, supported by the work of the BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues (CGETI) and their efforts to further our cooperation on topics such as investment, ecommerce, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and intellectual property rights in cooperation with specialized BRICS IP Offices. We also welcome the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding among BRICS Trade and Investment Promotion Agencies (TIPAs)/Trade Promotion Organizations (TPOs).

63. We support the conclusion of the BRICS Trade Ministers that bold, coordinated international action is required to increase economic growth and sustainability. Increased trade can help with global growth, but the demand deficit in the global economy requires additional sources of growth, which could include infrastructure investment, including in digital infrastructure, skills development, particularly for young people, sustainable investment, investment in local basic services, and outward investment to areas of high potential growth, including on the African continent.

64. We reaffirm our commitment to fight corruption, inter alia, through the strengthening of domestic legal frameworks, as appropriate, to more effectively address cases of corruption. We remain committed to adopting integrity measures in the public sector and promoting integrity standards in private enterprises and to build a stronger global commitment to a culture of intolerance towards corruption. We will maintain our ongoing efforts on anti-corruption law enforcement cooperation and returning of assets, including on civil and administrative proceedings. We will make full use of the BRICS Meeting on Asset Recovery and strengthen experience-sharing and case-cooperation on asset recovery among BRICS countries. We will enhance our exchange of views within multilateral frameworks such as UNCAC and the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, with the aim of joining efforts in denying safe haven to economic and corruption offenders and to facilitate the repatriation of proceeds of crime.

65. We recognize the outcomes of the 5th BRICS Ministerial Meeting on Environment, held under the theme "Contribution of urban environmental management to improving the quality of life in cities". We underline the importance of BRICS environmental cooperation initiatives that contribute to the quality of life in our cities, through the sharing of knowledge and experience on important issues such as waste management, circular economy, in the context of sustainable consumption and production, sanitation and water quality, urban air quality and urban green areas. We welcome the proposal of the Russian Federation on the new dimension of the Clean Rivers of BRICS Program on combining our efforts on combating marine litter.

66. We welcome the outcomes of the 9th BRICS Agriculture Ministers Meeting. As world leading producers of agricultural goods and home to large populations, we underscore the importance of BRICS cooperation in agriculture. We recognize the importance of science-based agriculture and of deploying ICT to that end. We underline the need of ensuring food security, food safety, addressing malnutrition, eliminating hunger and poverty through increased agricultural production, productivity, sustainable management of natural resources and trade in agriculture among the BRICS countries.

67. We welcome the outcomes of the 5th Labor and Employment Ministers' Meeting on the theme "BRICS: economic growth for an innovative future". We note the transformation in the labor market driven by globalization, technological innovation, demographic change and other phenomena, as well as the opportunities and challenges they bring. We note with satisfaction progress in BRICS cooperation with regard to the future of work, quality and productive employment for a sustainable system of social security, and labor market data exchanges. We underline that labor markets need to become more adaptable and inclusive.

68. We acknowledge the role of cultural cooperation in enhancing understanding between peoples. We welcome the outcomes of the 4th Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Culture and their efforts to further strengthen cultural exchanges. We look forward to continued collaboration on cultural affairs, including the initiative on BRICS films and film productions. We commend the organization of the 4th BRICS Film Festival.

69. We reaffirm the importance of BRICS people-to-people exchanges in enhancing mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation among our peoples and express satisfaction at the holding of several meetings and activities in the fields of culture, governance, arts, sports, media, films, youth, and academic exchange.

70. We welcome the exchanges in parliamentary cooperation among the BRICS countries, and take note with satisfaction of the meeting of the BRICS Parliamentary Forum held on the margins of the Inter Parliamentary Union Assembly in October. We recognize the importance of its contribution to strengthening BRICS partnerships.

71. We also note the holding of the Seminar of high-level authorities and experts of the Judiciary, aimed at the exchange of good practices for the modernization and improvement of Judiciary systems in BRICS countries.

72. Russia, India, China and South Africa commend Brazil´s BRICS Chairship in 2019 and express their gratitude to the government and people of Brazil for hosting the 11th BRICS Summit in Brasília.

73. Brazil, India, China and South Africa extend full support to Russia for its BRICS Chairmanship in 2020 and the hosting of the 12th BRICS Summit in Saint Petersburg.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
BRICS Nations to Study Adding Countries to Development Bank (Страны БРИКС изучат вопрос о присоединении стран к Банку развития) / China, November, 2019
Keywords: ndb, economic_challenges, summit

Leaders of the BRICS group of leading emerging economy nations meeting this week will discuss opening their development bank to other countries to increase its capital to fund infrastructure and other projects, diplomats and the bank's head said.

The New Development Bank (NDB) launched in 2014 by China, India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa has a subscribed capital of $50 billion, of which $10 billion is paid capital.

Diplomats for Brazil and one other BRICS nation said expansion of the bank is on the agenda at the annual summit Nov. 13-14.

NDB President K.V. Kamath said the bank's membership is open to all members of the United Nations and its mandate is to mobilize funds for sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries.

"The membership will be expanded gradually," he told Reuters in an interview by email but declined to name any countries.

Kamath rebuffed criticism that the bank has taken a long time to deliver loans to help boost economies amid slowing global growth.

"The NDB has gone a long way in four years, something that took some of our peer institutions decades to achieve," he said referring to other multilateral lending institutions.

As of Monday, the bank's total project approvals stood at $12.5 billion for 45 projects. In 2019 alone it approved 14 loans worth $4.4 billion, he said.

By the end of 2019, the bank projects total approvals to reach $14 billion to $15 billion, almost double the portfolio of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Among recent loans, the bank last month approved $500 million for Brazil's national Climate Fund project, known as Fundo Clima in Portuguese, which is aimed at helping the country meet its Nationally Determined Contribution, a target reducing carbon emissions under the Paris climate accord.
AfCFTA to open BRICS investment opportunities (АфКФТА откроет инвестиционные возможности БРИКС) / South Africa, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, investments, economic_challenges
South Africa

The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will create opportunities for the BRICS investment partners to develop infrastructure on the continent, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

South Africa, he says, sees an important role for the BRICS formation to contribute to these efforts.

The President made these remarks at a cocktail reception he hosted in honour of African Ambassadors accredited to Brazil. President Ramaphosa is in the South American country, where he is leading a South African delegation to the 11th BRICS Summit from 13 - 14 November 2019.

"We seek to build a more inclusive partnership between the leaders of BRICS countries and the elected leaders of African institutions. Apart from the BRICS Framework of Cooperation, BRICS countries have worked individually to promote cooperation and development with Africa," the President said.

President Ramaphosa said the partnership pursued through the BRICS-Africa outreach is rooted in a firm belief in the political, economic and social potential of the African continent.

"It speaks to the promotion of peace and security, advancing industrial capacity and economic integration, and champions a people-centred approach to sustainable development.

"As African nations, there has never been a better time to deepen our collaboration to ensure the African Continental Free Trade Area, our most ambitious collective venture yet, is a success."

This, he said, is an opportunity to grow the continent's economies and to use its considerable collective resources to uplift citizens and improve their conditions.

"Together, we are working to grow the economies of African countries through innovation, infrastructure development and trade."

Speaking on the pending countdown to the launch of the AfCFTA, the President was confident the agreement would, in addition to its economic impact, have far-reaching political, social, physical and international effects.

"On the economic front, it will improve access to existing markets and lead to the creation of new ones. The free flow of goods and services will enable African businesses and entrepreneurs to expand their horizons and unleash the industrial capability of the continent.

"The removal of trade barriers will lower prices and benefit consumers. Business costs will be reduced and business efficiency will be raised," said President Ramaphosa.

On the political front, he said, the AfCFTA will help to consolidate the union among all African States and reduce the potential for conflict.

"From a social perspective, it is likely to result in a more cosmopolitan Africa as the greater movement of people and skills brings more people of diverse backgrounds and nationalities together," he said.

He said the AfCFTA will also have a broader international impact as Africa will be able to deal with other trade blocs from a position of greater strength, able to demonstrate economies of scale.

As the incoming chair of the African Union next year, South Africa will put great emphasis on giving effect to the agreement on the Continental Free Trade Area. –
President Ramaphosa hails New Development Bank progress (Президент Рамафоса приветствует успехи Нового банка развития) / South Africa, November, 2019
Keywords: ndb, cyril_ramaphosa, summit
South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has commended the progress made by the New Development Bank (NDB) since its inception in 2015.

"It has been five years since we signed the Articles of the New Development Bank at the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, thus establishing the first multilateral development institution by emerging and developing countries.

"Today, we proudly acknowledge the significant achievements made by the Bank, and for this we commend the stewardship of President Kamath," President Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

President Ramaphosa made the remarks during a dialogue between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Heads of State and Government, the BRICS Business Council and the New Development Bank held in Brasilia, Brazil. The leaders were gathered for the 11th BRICS Summit.

As founding members, President Ramaphosa said they have made a commitment that the Bank should benefit not only BRICS countries but should extend its horizon to other emerging markets and developing countries.

He said South Africa is particularly impressed with the Bank's efforts to ensure that it becomes a global financial institution by 2021.

"South Africa supports the bank's flexible approach to membership and the composition of the list of countries to be considered as prospective members for the first phase of expansion. We stand ready to support the bank in this process, particularly with regard to reaching out to Africa.

"We are confident that the NDB's activities on the continent will assist in addressing the large infrastructure financing gap that has been impeding economic growth and development in Africa. In this slowing growth environment, where fiscal and monetary policy is limited, public and private role players need to collaborate to support growth," President Ramaphosa said.

The President said institutions like the New Development Bank should consider innovative financing instruments to crowd-in private sector participation.

"As we grow and strengthen the NDB as an institution, we must not lose sight of its developmental mandate. We call on the NDB to ensure that its financing policies support infrastructure development in all our countries."

President Ramaphosa said the NDB, also known as the BRICS Bank, has demonstrated great leadership since it opened its doors in 2015, bringing it on par with and, in some instances, surpassing other regional development banks.

Meanwhile, President Ramaphosa welcomed the report of the chairperson of the BRICS Business Council, and expressed gratitude to the council's continued work in bringing together business communities. –
BRICS Business Council promotes economic growth (Деловой совет БРИКС способствует экономическому росту) / South Africa, November, 2019
Keywords: business_council, summit, cyril_ramaphosa, economic_challenges
South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the BRICS Business Council promotes economic growth, especially through intra-BRICS trade.

The President said the council has identified a number of projects in infrastructure development, agriculture, renewable energy, agro processing, mining and a range of other projects that would positively influence the economies of BRICS countries.

President Ramaphosa has concluded his working visit to Brasilia in the Federative Republic of Brazil, where he participated in the 11th BRICS Summit on Wednesday and Thursday.

"At the conclusion of his visit, the President drew particular attention to the reconfirmation by leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa of their shared commitment to a strong multilateral system that is properly governed," the Presidency said on Friday.

The President said this commitment to multilateralism, along with BRICS' stated intent to promote trade among member States and play a key role in the growth of the world economy, is one of the positive outcomes of the Summit.

President Ramaphosa said the benefits arising from BRICS membership were evident across all partner countries, with South Africa playing host to Brazilian bus manufacturers, Russian train manufacturers, Indian automotive companies and Chinese machinery producers.

"Each of the BRICS countries has South African fruit and vegetables on their tables, buildings constructed from South African metals and factories fitted with South African machinery and electronics," said President Ramaphosa.

He attributed these benefits to the BRICS strategy for economic partnership and the work of the BRICS Business Council.

BRICS is an association of five major emerging countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - which together represent about 42% of the global population, 23% of global GDP, 30% of the planet's territory and 18% of global trade.

The 11th BRICS Summit took place under the theme: "BRICS: Economic Growth for an Innovative Future". –
Russia's Putin Says 2020 BRICS Summit in St. Petersburg Will Focus on Economy (Путин заявил, что саммит БРИКС в Санкт-Петербурге в 2020 году будет посвящен экономике) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, chairmanship, vladimir_putin, quotation

BRASILIA (Sputnik) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country's presidency of BRICS the next year would be focused on the further development of trade and investment cooperation among member states, adding that Moscow will prepare a busy program of events for the next year's BRICS summit in St. Petersburg.

"Of course, the issues pertaining to further development of trade and investment cooperation would be among our priorities. We plan to suggest to the BRICS counties to revitalize our strategy of economic partnership which was adopted at the previous summit in Russia, in Ufa, in 2015 … I would like to highlight that for the BRICS summit in St. Petersburg — it is there where we are going to hold the next BRICS summit in July of 2020 — we have prepared an extensive program of events and many of them will be dedicated to economic cooperation", Putin said at the BRICS Business Forum on Wednesday. Putin added it would be practical to think about what new goals BRICS states should set before them and what major targets in trade, finance, and investment they should focus on.

The Russian president also invited BRICS leaders to attend Russia's largest business forums —the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which is scheduled for 3-6 July 2020; and the Eastern Economic Forum, which will be held in Vladivostok in early September.

BRICS Leaders at the BRICS summit in Brasilia
Russian President on Digital Cooperation among BRICS Nations

Earlier in the day, Vladimir Putin suggested that other BRICS countries should pay closer attention to its digital technologies adding that Russia stands ready to exchange experience in this area.

"There are good chances for boosting our cooperation in computer science and telecommunications. Russia offers BRICS states to take a closer look at our newest projects. I am talking about the technologies of electronic document management, search systems and antivirus software that responds to the highest advanced security requirements", Putin said at BRICS Business Forum. "I would like to remind you that Russia has voiced in an initiative to launch a network of data exchange for small- and medium-sized businesses within BRICS. This would allow business circles of our countries to receive fresh data on goods, services, and suppliers and search and find new partners", Putin continued. "Russia reliably ensures deliveries of energy materials to global markets and makes a significant contribution to supporting global energy security which is vital for economic growth and social development. We are ready to expand cooperation with BRICS states in using environmentally friendly types of fuel", Putin added. The Russian president also offered the BRICS states to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation in peaceful nuclear technologies.

Putin on BRICS Economic and Investment Cooperation

Putin noted that the BRICS Business Forum helped step up trade and investment and strengthen economic ties between the allies.

"More than 1,000 people attended it. A lot of interesting projects have been discussed and a lot of promising agreements have emerged. What we have to do now is implement them. On our part, we are ready to help entrepreneurs. We all know that the situation in the global economy remains difficult", the President explained. Putin argued that over recent years, various unfair competition practices, including politically motivated ones, and protectionism have been prevailing in the global economy.

BRICS Leaders at the BRICS Business Council
The President noted that in that situation, BRICS countries had to make significant efforts for ensuring the development of their economies and avoiding worsening of the economic situation.

The two-day summit of BRICS states, including Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, began in Brasilia on Wednesday. Apart from Putin, the summit is attended by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, China's leader Xi Jinping, South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
BRASILIA (Sputnik) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country's presidency of BRICS the next year would be focused on the further development of trade and investment cooperation among member states, adding that Moscow will prepare a busy program of events for the next year's BRICS summit in St. Petersburg.

"Of course, the issues pertaining to further development of trade and investment cooperation would be among our priorities. We plan to suggest to the BRICS counties to revitalize our strategy of economic partnership which was adopted at the previous summit in Russia, in Ufa, in 2015 … I would like to highlight that for the BRICS summit in St. Petersburg — it is there where we are going to hold the next BRICS summit in July of 2020 — we have prepared an extensive program of events and many of them will be dedicated to economic cooperation", Putin said at the BRICS Business Forum on Wednesday. Putin added it would be practical to think about what new goals BRICS states should set before them and what major targets in trade, finance, and investment they should focus on.

The Russian president also invited BRICS leaders to attend Russia's largest business forums —the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which is scheduled for 3-6 July 2020; and the Eastern Economic Forum, which will be held in Vladivostok in early September.

BRICS Leaders at the BRICS summit in Brasilia
Russian President on Digital Cooperation among BRICS Nations

Earlier in the day, Vladimir Putin suggested that other BRICS countries should pay closer attention to its digital technologies adding that Russia stands ready to exchange experience in this area.

"There are good chances for boosting our cooperation in computer science and telecommunications. Russia offers BRICS states to take a closer look at our newest projects. I am talking about the technologies of electronic document management, search systems and antivirus software that responds to the highest advanced security requirements", Putin said at BRICS Business Forum. "I would like to remind you that Russia has voiced in an initiative to launch a network of data exchange for small- and medium-sized businesses within BRICS. This would allow business circles of our countries to receive fresh data on goods, services, and suppliers and search and find new partners", Putin continued. "Russia reliably ensures deliveries of energy materials to global markets and makes a significant contribution to supporting global energy security which is vital for economic growth and social development. We are ready to expand cooperation with BRICS states in using environmentally friendly types of fuel", Putin added. The Russian president also offered the BRICS states to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation in peaceful nuclear technologies.

Putin on BRICS Economic and Investment Cooperation

Putin noted that the BRICS Business Forum helped step up trade and investment and strengthen economic ties between the allies.

"More than 1,000 people attended it. A lot of interesting projects have been discussed and a lot of promising agreements have emerged. What we have to do now is implement them. On our part, we are ready to help entrepreneurs. We all know that the situation in the global economy remains difficult", the President explained. Putin argued that over recent years, various unfair competition practices, including politically motivated ones, and protectionism have been prevailing in the global economy.

BRICS Leaders at the BRICS Business Council
The President noted that in that situation, BRICS countries had to make significant efforts for ensuring the development of their economies and avoiding worsening of the economic situation.

The two-day summit of BRICS states, including Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, began in Brasilia on Wednesday. Apart from Putin, the summit is attended by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, China's leader Xi Jinping, South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India, China Agree to Hold Talks on Trade Deficit ASAP Days After Modi Opted Out of RCEP (Индия и Китай договорились провести переговоры о дефиците торгового баланса как можно скорее после того, как Моди отказался от участия в RCEP) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, concluded_agreements, trade_relations

New Delhi (Sputnik): Within ten days of India withdrawing from the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Indian and China have agreed that a high-level panel on the Indo-China trade deficit must meet at the earliest. The meet could lead to India softening its stance on RCEP at a later date, before it's signed in June 2020.

While meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed that the new high-level mechanism to reduce the $53 billion trade deficit between the two countries should meet an early date.

"The two leaders agreed that the new High-Level Mechanism on Trade and the Economy should meet at an early date. Both agreed on the importance of maintaining close dialogue on matters relating to trade and investment," said the Indian external affairs ministry. This is the first meeting of both the leaders after their second informal summit in Mamallapuram near Chennai, India last month. Both India and China had then agreed to set up a ministerial group headed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and China's Vice Premier Hu Chunhua.

Worried about the influx of cheap Chinese goods into India and China's stand on non-tariff barriers, the Indian prime minister withdrew from RCEP on 4 November, during the summit meeting in Bangkok.

India's key demands included the imposition of an import surge trigger so that Chinese goods don't flood the Indian market and opening market access for Indian exports to China. After India's withdrawal, Japan urged India to reconsider its decision to pull out of the RCEP. India, however, is of the view that it needs to correct its trade deficit.

India is already making efforts in that direction, by renegotiating its free trade agreements with other Asian and south-east Asian nations. It is now holding negotiations with South Korea and will begin trade negotiations with Japan soon.
BRICS New Development Bank to Open Office in Russia (Новый банк развития БРИКС откроет офис в России) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: ndb, summit

The Russian government and the New Development Bank (NDB), established by BRICS states, have concluded an agreement on opening the bank's Eurasian Regional Center in Moscow, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

At a ceremony in Brasilia on Wednesday, which Sputnik is exclusively covering, the deal was signed by the bank's President, Kundapur Vaman Kamath, and Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak.

In a comment to Sputnik, the NDB president said that the office was expected to open in the next two or three months.

"We have seen that whenever we open an office in a particular country, it adds a big [investment] pipeline. I am sure that we will have a very good pipeline in Russia after we are able to open our office in the next two or three months", Kamath stated after the ceremony.

Storchak told Sputnik that about five to seven people would be working at the NDB's Eurasian Regional Center in Moscow.

Under the deal, apart from the Moscow office, the NDB may also set up offices in other Russian cities, depending on its functions and business needs.

The NDB was established by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in 2014. It is currently focused on developing sustainable infrastructure.

The Africa Regional Center in Johannesburg was the first regional office to be set up by the NDB in August 2017. In July 2018, a deal was signed for establishing the Americas Regional Office (ARO) in Sao Paulo.
Russia Says BRICS Nations Favor Idea of Common Payment System (Россия заявляет, что страны БРИКС отдают предпочтение единой платежной системе) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: economic_challenges

Russia and its fellow BRICS countries — Brazil, China, India and South Africa — have backed a plan to create an anti-sanctions international payments system, a Russian official said on Thursday.

President Vladimir Putin is seeking to internationalize Russia's System for the Transfer of Financial Messages (SFPS) — an alternative to the widely-used Swift system which facilitates interbank payments. SFPS was launched in 2017 as an attempt to sanctions-proof the Russian financial sector should the U.S. cut Russian banks' access to Swift.

Now, plans to link the payments systems of the BRICS countries have been endorsed by the organization's business council.

Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said "increasing non-market risks of the global payment infrastructure" was behind the plan to integrate the group's national payment systems.

Kremlin Hails Special Relationship With China Amid Missile System Cooperation

"An efficient BRICS payment system can encourage payments in national currencies and ensure sustainable payments and investments among our countries, which make up over 20% of the global inflow of foreign direct investment," Dmitriev told reporters.

China already has its own Swift alternative — the Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) — which is used for international yuan transfers. The Indian financial sector does not have a domestic version, but a new Russia-India alternative could be created, the news site said.

Traffic on Russia's SFPS has grown to 15% of the level of communications on Swift in the last two years, according to the central bank. Access to SFPS was recently rolled out to banks in the Eurasian Economic Union, with at least eight banks located outside Russia currently using the system.

Russia and Turkey also held urgent talks on connecting Turkish banks to SFPS over the summer, following the deterioration in U.S.-Turkey relations after NATO member Turkey took delivery of Russia's S-400 missile defense system. The Russian Finance Ministry confirmed the talks had taken place after government documents were found in a Moscow landfill.

Dmitriev said the five BRICS nations had also discussed creating a common cryptocurrency for mutual payments as the grouping was reducing the share of payments in the U.S. dollar.

The share of the dollar in Russian foreign trade payments has fallen to 50% from 92% over the past few years, while the rouble's share has risen to 14% from 3%, he said.

Dmitriev did not say whether Russia supported the idea of the common BRICS cryptocurrency. Previously, Russian officials spoke against any cryptocurrencies, warning that they could be used in money laundering or financing terrorism.
Toward A Diverging BRICS Future – Analysis (На пути к будущему БРИКС - анализ) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, economic_challenges
Author: Dan Steinbock

Two decades ago, the BRIC economies were projected to surpass the advanced G6 economies by the early 2030s. Today, the huge potential of the BRICs prevails, but the pace has slowed and country trajectories have diverged. China and India are on track, Brazil and Russia are not, thanks to geopolitics.

In the early 2000s, Goldman Sachs projected that the four largest emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China, or the BRICs – would surpass the major advanced economies by the early 2030s.

When the first BRICS Summit took place in Yekaterinburg, Russia in 2009, the combined economic power of the BRIC countries amounted to barely 12 percent of the collective economic power of the major advanced economies, the Group of Six (G6); the US, Western Europe (Germany, UK, France, Italy), and Japan.

At the time, the US economy was some 2.5 times bigger than that of China but amid the worst asset-bubble burst since the Great Depression. Japan, the world's second-largest economy, was coping with a second lost decade. Chancellor Merkel's Germany and President Sarkozy's France still led the ailing Europe, where the global recession would soon morph into a series of sovereign debt crises. In Brazil, President Lula drove a dramatic growth catch-up, while reducing historical income polarization. In Manmohan Singh's India, growth was accelerating. In Russia, President Putin had multiplied the size of the economy by more than five-fold in one decade, thanks to rising energy prices.

But where are the BRICs today?

To gain a better understanding of what has happened in the past two decades, let's compare Goldman Sachs's original BRIC projections in the 2000s, which rested on the economic development in the 1980s and 1990s, with the actual BRIC prospects today, which are the net effect of the past two decades.

What Goldman Sachs projected was a dramatic expansion of China whose GDP was anticipated to grow more than 14-fold between 2000 and 2025. At the same time, India's economy would increase by almost tenfold and was projected to grow relatively faster than China in the late 2010s. Brazil was expected to expand fivefold and Russia more than tenfold. In light of the fact that, in the same time period, the US, the largest advanced economy, was projected to expand more than twofold, these were stunning projections indicating solid catch-up growth in the largest emerging economies.

So what happened? Here's the bottom line: If peaceful conditions prevail and trade protectionism can be kept in check, China could deliver more than expected, while India is on track as well. However, the potential of Brazil and Russia, respectively, has been undermined by geopolitics (Figure 1).

After China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, its economic expansion intensified dramatically, fueled by the export-led growth model. Since the early 2010s, that model has been morphing toward consumption and innovation. By the mid-2020s – again, assuming peaceful conditions and managed trade tensions – China's economy could expand more than 17 times, relative to its size in 2000. It is set to surpass the size of the US economy in the 2030s, which may well be the key to the Obama military pivot to Asia in the early 2010s and to Trump tariff wars more recently.

While India's growth trajectory has periodically slipped, it has been pushed harder by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, despite recent growth pains. If things go right, India's economy could expand the projected tenfold by the mid-2020s. New Delhi is engaged in a cautious balancing act between economic development and rising prosperity, which is what the country needs, and geopolitics and rearmament, which is what Washington would prefer.

Under President Lula's leadership, Brazil's GDP grew even faster than expected by the original BRIC projection. But since the mid-2010s, the contested impeachment of President Rousseff and particularly the imprisonment of Lula, Brazil's growth trajectory has plunged. The geopolitical soft coup, which critics claim paved the way to radical right's President Bolsonaro and the dreams of a new military dictatorship, could result in a lost decade. By the mid-2020s, Brazil's GDP may reach the level where it first was at the end of the Lula era, already in the early 2010s.

Instead of being almost a fifth of the US GDP by the mid-2020s, Brazil's economy may prove to be less than 9 percent of the US (over half smaller than originally projected). The dreams of tens of millions of Brazilians of a better future have been undermined.

In Russia, President Putin was able to reverse the economy's drastic fall in the 1990s and restore the growth trajectory in the 2000s, when Russian economic prospects were in line with the BRIC projections. As Stephen F. Cohen has argued, Washington initiated a "new Cold War" against Russia before the 2008 global crisis. Due to the continued softness in oil prices and particularly the still ongoing sanctions, the Russian economy could have been almost a fifth of the U.S. economy by 2025. Thanks to the new Cold War, the Russian economy could prove to be less than a tenth of the US GDP in the period. Thanks to the new Cold War, Russian economy could prove to be less than a tenth of the US GDP in the period.

Russian economy could increase by six to seven times, but it cannot deliver its full potential.

BRICs positioned to surpass G6 in early 2030s

The peak of the advanced economies' global power was in the 1980s and '90s. In 2000, the economies of the major advanced nations of the "West," as reflected by the G6, were still almost ten times bigger than the BRICs. But increasing debt, military overstretch and aging populations have hit hard the advanced West.

In 2010, the BRICs accounted for more than a third of the G6; and in the mid-2020s, that figure will be two-thirds of G6. The original Goldman Sachs projections suggested the BRICs would catch up with G6 by the late 2020s. Thanks to geopolitical interventions, the actual convergence is likely to take a 5-10 years longer (Figure 2).

Of course, if the six G6 countries would be compared with the six largest emerging economies – not just the four BRICs – Indonesia and Mexico could be added to the group. In that case, convergence would happen a few years earlier.

As International Monetary Fund reported in 2007, the large emerging economies have fueled global economic prospects since the 2000s. Recent efforts to undermine their economic potential reflect efforts at destabilization and regime change, critics argue. In the absence of significant policy U-turn, collateral damage is spreading.

As US pivot to Asia is promoting competition rather than cooperation, the economic promise of the Asian Century is threatened. The Trump tariff wars have played a key role in the plunge of world trade, the fall of world investment and rising migration barriers, which have caused the number of the globally displaced to soar to more than 70 million; far higher than they were after World War II. At the same time, global economic prospects continue to diminish in a way that could push major advanced economies into secular stagnation earlier than anticipated.

Spearheading the world's largest emerging and developing economies, China, India, Brazil and Russia together pace global economic prospects. And as they go, so will the world economy.
NDB President reports to BRICS leaders at 11th Summit in Brasilia (Президент НБР отчитался перед лидерами стран БРИКС на 11-м саммите в Бразилиа) / Brazil, November, 2019
Keywords: ndb, summit

On November 14, 2019, Mr. K.V. Kamath, President of the New Development Bank reported to the Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa during the 11th BRICS Summit in Brasilia, Brazil.

"Thus far, the NDB has approved 46 projects for USD 12.8 billion in our member countries. By the end of this year, we expect the approvals to reach about USD 15 billion. In 2020, we are targeting approvals of USD 8-10 billion," said Mr. K.V. Kamath.

"We are measuring the impact of our work through our contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals that our members have committed to. We are also supporting projects that address some of the core developmental needs in our member countries, as articulated in their development agendas," said the NDB President.

Mr. K.V. Kamath highlighted operations of the Bank in its member countries:

In Brazil, the NDB is supporting improved physical connectivity of remote areas to logistical hubs while simultaneously laying the infrastructure for enhanced digital connectivity.

In Russia, in addition to financing infrastructure that will conserve and improve accessibility to historic and cultural centers, the Bank is moving into new areas such as bringing digital technologies to the judicial system, expanding higher education and supporting railway sector.

In India, the NDB is investing in improving connectivity of rural areas to markets and opportunities, as well as in better management of water resources.

In China, the Bank is contributing to the rehabilitation and restoration of environmental assets that were adversely impacted during the phases of rapid growth and lending for innovative green technologies.

In South Africa, the NDB is assisting energy and water projects, two areas that are at the heart of the country's economic and social challenges.

"NDB has thus far received USD 5.6 billion in capital, including advance payments of the fifth instalment by China and Russia. We expect to receive the balance USD 900 million of the fifth instalment from our other three members by January 2020," stated the NDB President.

"The Bank's Africa Regional Center in Johannesburg has proved that on-the-ground presence makes a big difference to our work. Our Brazil office is already staffed and ready to open and we await completion of necessary formalities. Preparations for our office in Moscow are at an advanced stage and we will open this office early next year. We will follow that up with our Delhi office in the first half of 2020," added Mr. K.V. Kamath.

"Going forward, the Bank is capable of sustaining between USD 8-10 billion of annual lending. With the initial USD 10 billion of capital that has been provided to it by the founding members, by 2027, the Bank can achieve a total asset book of about USD 50 billion."

"As and when the decision is taken to admit new members to the Bank, and capital from these new members is received, the Bank can grow further. Under this scenario, it can achieve a total asset book of about USD 90 billion by 2027," projected the NDB President.

Background Information

The NDB was established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. To fulfill its purpose, the NDB will support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments. According to the NDB's General Strategy, sustainable infrastructure development is at the core of the Bank's operational strategy for 2017-2021. The NDB received AA+ long-term issuer credit ratings from S&P and Fitch and AAA foreign currency long-term issuer rating from Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR).
Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Russia to boost space cooperation between BRICS countries (Россия усилит космическое сотрудничество между странами БРИКС) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: summit, chairmanship

BRASILIA, November 14. /TASS/. Moscow plans to implement a number of big ideas during its 2020 BRICS chairmanship, particularly in regard to space cooperation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with TASS.

"We have a number of big ideas in store for Russia's chairmanship," he noted. "We will officially present them to our partners before the end of the year, when the final meeting of the BRICS sherpas will take place under Brazil's chairmanship. We will take steps to boost economic cooperation, activities in the counterterrorism area and the area of information technology, which is a very important field, where things are rather complicated and there are a lot of contradictions between international community members," the senior Russian diplomat specified.

"We will certainly take practical steps to promote the emerging space cooperation between the five countries," Ryabklov went on to say. "I am sure that the results will turn out to be impressive when BRICS leaders meet in St. Petersburg next July," he said.

Ryabkov added that the pattern of cooperation between the BRICS countries had fully taken shape though it could require further refinement. "Work is underway in this regard. All BRICS members understand its importance. We look forward to their support during our chairmanship," the Russian deputy foreign minister pointed out.

A BRICS summit is taking place in Brazil's capital of Brasilia on November 14. On Wednesday, the city hosted the BRICS Business Forum. Russia will chair BRICS in 2020.
Article by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for the media of the BRICS countries "BRICS Strategic Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth", November 12, 2019 (Статья Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова для СМИ стран БРИКС «Стратегическое партнерство БРИКС в интересах глобальной стабильности, общей безопасности и инновационного роста», 12 ноября 2019 года) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: sergey_lavrov, summit, quotation

On November 13–14, 2019, Brasilia will host the 11th BRICS Summit. In the run-up to this key event of the year for our group I would like to share Russia's vision of the BRICS strategic partnership.

The current Brazilian BRICS Chairmanship managed to achieve serious progress in all main pillars of cooperation – political, economic and humanitarian. Russia supports its Brazilian friends in their efforts to improve the practical impact of our multifaceted interaction on the prosperity of our States and peoples.

We welcome the statement made by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Osaka about the importance of strengthening the dialogue within BRICS, which will enable the BRICS countries to make the best use of ongoing global changes.

Today, alignment of efforts of our countries is particularly important. The global politics continues to reel. Various regions of the planet still retain significant conflict potential. The arms control architecture is deliberately undermined – the US unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was a rather dangerous step. Structural imbalances in the world economy are yet to be overcome. A serious threat to global economic growth is posed by such unfair competition practices as unilateral economic sanctions, trade wars and flagrant abuse of the US dollar status as the world reserve currency. The international community is yet to find effective responses to a whole number of critical challenges of our time – from terrorism to climate change.

It got to the situation when there are attempts to replace the international legal system, established after the Second World War with the UN Charter remaining as its main source, with the so-called "rules-based order", where "rules" being invented in secret, in "small groups", and then, depending upon a political situation, imposed on the whole world.

Multipolarity is not a recipe for competition and chaos in international relations, as some of our critics say. On the contrary, this is the only order attuned to present-day realities, which should promote the comprehensive development of all States – both big and small – and enhanced mutually beneficial cooperation among us on the basis of shared interests.

Russia, as other BRICS countries, rejects diktat and pressure, blackmail and threats, let alone the use of force without the UNSC decision. In contrast, it proposes to follow the path of a mutually respectful dialogue aimed to reach the consensus that takes into account interests of all actors in the inter-State relations. We are convinced that any agreements on most important issues on the global agenda should be reached with the widest and equal participation of all stakeholders and be based on universally recognized legal norms. The BRICS countries are firmly committed to democratization of international life and its development under the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and principles of respect for cultural and civilizational diversity of the world and the right of peoples to forge their destiny themselves.

It is of fundamental importance that our approaches to key global and regional issues are the same or rather similar. We have consistently called for a peaceful and politico-diplomatic settlement of crises and conflicts in various regions of the world. We continue to be engaged in a comprehensive dialogue in such fields as counter-terrorism, international information security and fight against organized crime and corruption.

We can state with confidence that having entered the second decade of its activity, BRICS, being one of the pillars of the emerging more fair polycentric world order, plays an important stabilizing role in global affairs, for which it has all the necessary capacity. The group accounts for almost a third of the global GDP at purchasing power parity. Last year BRICS even outperformed G7 on this indicator.

BRICS is becoming a magnet for many emerging economies. They are looking at us because the group protects values of multilateralism, supports a transparent, non-discriminatory, open, free and inclusive international trade, and rejects unilateral economic restrictions and protectionist measures in developing international economic ties. In their statement following the meeting on the margins of the G20 Summit in Osaka last June, the BRICS Leaders explicitly indicated their willingness to protect the pillars of the equitable multilateral trading system and the role of the WTO as its center, and to advocate the IMF reform.

The New Development Bank (NDB) created by the BRICS countries – one of the promising multilateral development institutions – works successfully. Only this year, the NDB Board of Directors has approved 12 new investment projects in the BRICS countries. And since the start of its operation in 2015, 42 investment projects worth over USD 11 billion have been approved.

The work to strengthen the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) is ongoing. Its total capital of USD 100 billion is to be a guarantor of the BRICS financial stability in case of crisis.

We appreciate the efforts of the Brazilian Chairmanship to implement five-party initiatives in economy, science, innovations and health. We take a positive note of the systematically increased density of humanitarian exchanges – cooperation in the areas of culture, education, sport and youth policy is gaining momentum and people-to-people contacts are developing.

In 2020, Russia will take the helm of BRICS. We intend to ensure continuity and harmonious transition from the Brazil Chairmanship to the Russian one. We will continue the policy of progressive and comprehensive enhancement of the strategic partnership of the BRICS countries. Certainly, we are interested in increasing financial and economic cooperation among the participating countries, effective industrial interaction and practical cooperation in developing and implementing new joint energy, telecommunications and high-tech projects. Our priorities include enhanced foreign policy coordination within leading multilateral fora, primarily in the UN, which will turn 75 next year.

I am confident that in the storming ocean of the world politics the BRICS "ship" will steer a steady course and further contribute significantly to maintaining international stability and ensuring global economic growth. The Brasilia Summit is aimed to be another important milestone in pentalateral cooperation and on its way to new prospects.

In conclusion, I would like to wish peace, health, wellbeing and all the best to the readers and to all nationals of the BRICS countries.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
First session of BRICS women's business alliance to take place in 2020 (Первая сессия женского бизнес-альянса БРИКС состоится в 2020 году) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: cooperation, chairmanship, social_issues

MOSCOW, November 13. /TASS/. An alliance of businesswomen was established within the framework of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), with its first session taking place in 2020, Head of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sergei Katyrin told TASS on Wednesday.

"During the chairmanship of Brazil, it was decided to establish the BRICS Women's Business Alliance. This alliance will facilitate development of women's business potential on the territory of the five [BRICS member states] and involvement of female entrepreneurs in international activity," he said.

Katyrin added that the first session of the alliance would take place in 2020, during Russia's BRICS chairmanship.

This year, the BRICS summit is taking place in Brazil. On January 1, 2020, the chairmanship will pass to Russia, and the next BRICS summit will take place in July in St. Petersburg.
BRICSMATH to Be Inaugurated at the BRICS Summit in Brazil (BRICSMATH будет открыт на саммите БРИКС в Бразилии) / India, November, 2019
Keywords: social_issues, summit

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.
Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, November 14, 2019 - Guaido supporters' provocation against Venezuelan Embassy in Brazil during BRICS summit (Брифинг официального представителя МИД России М.В.Захаровой, Москва, 14 ноября 2019 года - О провокации сторонников Х.Гуайдо в отношении Посольства Венесуэлы в Бразилии во время проведения там саммита БРИКС) / Russia, November, 2019
Keywords: mofa, quotation

Question: What can you say about the provocation staged by the supporters of Juan Guaido against the Embassy of Venezuela in Brazil during the BRICS summit?

Maria Zakharova: We perceive an attempt by the supporters of the self-proclaimed leader Juan Guaido [whose status remains unclear] to stage a provocation and to seize the Embassy of Venezuela in Brazil as an act that was also timed to coincide with a major international event now taking place in this country and as an attempt to take advantage of the overall regional instability for their own political purposes. Many tasks were set in this connection.

We assume that the situation is now under control, and that such provocations will be thwarted in the future in line with all the existing norms of international law that are called on to guarantee and protect diplomatic and consular property, namely, diplomatic and consular missions.

Every country receiving diplomatic missions of another state has to fulfil obligations under the relevant conventions. No one has abolished these obligations. In a modern world which is obviously experiencing a crisis when it comes to understanding and ethics, an overwhelming majority of countries, if not all of them, still recognise the norms of international law regulating relations between states, the operation of diplomatic missions and rules of conduct with regard to diplomatic and consular personnel and abide by them. All obligations that have been assumed by the states should be unfailingly honoured. I completely agree with your assessment: This is a provocation.

On the other hand, this is not the first attempt by the so-called "self-proclaimed" Venezuelan "anti-authorities" to seize such property. This is being done to legalise their own absolutely illegal existence as some self-proclaimed government agency, to appoint people as their alleged official representatives and to pursue the relevant policy through them. This is 21st century piracy.

Unfortunately, Washington has built the well-trodden path being used by the members of the Venezuelan opposition. As you recall, US authorities had seized Russian diplomatic and consular facilities, as well as the Trade Representation although they belonged to the Russian Federation, the relevant sums of money were paid and Russia unfailingly fulfilled its obligations for decades. Everything was seized and remains under the control of US secret services under absolutely illegal pretexts. I cannot provide any other description. This largely served as an example for others to follow. If some can act illegally, then others will do the same. We know about the "boomerang effect" when such actions are conducted by some parties in their own interests, and later they return to their perpetrators.
How will BRICS' tech-focussed partnership benefit its members? (Каким образом техническое партнерство БРИКС пойдет на пользу его членам?) / China, November, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, cooperation, social_issues

When the leaders of BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) ended their annual summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, last year, a new agreement came into effect.

Known as the Partnership on the New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR), the initiative aims to deepen BRICS cooperation in the fields of digitalization, industrialization and innovation. PartNIR aims to address the challenges and maximize the opportunities arising from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, according an announcement on the agreement.

Why does it matter?

Unlike the first three industrial revolutions, which were driven by a specific breakthrough or discovery, the fourth is based on "combinations of technologies," Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, pointed out in an essay in 2016.

The 4th Industrial Revolution has drastically changed almost every sector by blurring industry barriers, breaking down original working patterns and disrupting the division of labor. The rise of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, blockchain and biotechnologies such as genetic engineering have posed new threats to human beings.

"In order to be more agile and adaptive to new changes in the whole ecosystem, every country in the world has to think ahead of the coming challenges, deepen foresight and critical understanding of the impact of digitalization and emerging technologies through knowledge sharing," David Sangokoya, project lead for Society and Innovation at the World Economic Forum, wrote in 2017.

How will the partnership benefit BRICS countries?

According to the Johannesburg declaration, PartNIR promises to build high-tech hubs and startup incubators where entrepreneurs can grow their business by attracting investment from venture capital firms. The intention is for inexperienced business founders to make quick progress by getting professional help. Technological cooperation will be based on each country's expertise.

A BRICS report published ahead of this year's summit points out 14 priorities in science and technology among the five member countries. These include information and communication technology, nanotechnology, clean energy, biotechnology and space technology.

"The selection criteria is based on the calculation of results like general expenditure of research and development (GERD) and the amount of peer-review papers," Huang Maoxing, one of the chief editors of the report told CGTN.

In 2014, China's GERD exceeded that of the 28 European Union countries combined, reaching 496 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. The country's investment in research and development increased 15-fold from 2000 to 2017. By contrast, Russia's spending quadrupled in the same time period while South Africa's remained almost the same.

The report also explains the status quo of each BRICS member in the 14 selected fields. China's expertise lies in material science and nanotechnology. Russia specializes in astronomy and energy exploration; India is known for its IT sector, while Brazil can take advantage of its research in agriculture and biology. South Africa's focus is slightly different from its peers, instead honing in on social and human sciences.

"Differences in the expertise of BRICS countries can be seen as possible connection points to establish stronger partnerships (and) deal with growing global challenges," the report said. "They can make the best of each other's advantages."

"Unlike previous years' BRICS summits, which highlighted the trade and economic cooperation, this year's theme of technological innovation demonstrates the Brazilian government's ambition to empower industries with technologies," said Zhou Zhiwei, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Institute of Latin American Studies.
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