Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 22.2017
2017.05.22 — 2017.05.28
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
China's Plan for New World Order: What Role Does It Leave to Russia? (План Китая по новому мировому порядку: какую роль он выделит России?) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: Russia_China, OBOR, EAEU, SCO, ASEAN

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation wrapped up in China's capital of Beijing. Alexei Maslov, one of the leading Russian scholars and expert in East Asian studies, talked to Sputnik about what the summit achieved and the true aims of China's ambitious One Belt, One Road project.

China's most ambitious project, known as One Belt, One Road, is seen by many as purely an economic and trade initiative, concerned with huge infrastructure projects, mostly around transport and energy: roads, bridges, gas pipelines, ports, railways, and power plants.

Professor Alexei Maslov, Head of the School of Asian Studies at Russia's Higher School of Economics and Director of the Centre for Chinese Strategic Studies however explained what China's real purpose is with the project.

"Apart from the purely economic, the idea initially had another side. It is usually referred to as geo-strategic, however the world 'civilizational' better fits here, even though China tries not to show it off," reads Professor Maslov's analytical article for Sputnik.

The core of the project, he further explains, is that China wants to play a key role in the global world which will follow new rules, and where countries will have new roles.

The One Belt, One Road initiative, which China proposed in 2013, is a matrix of traditional Chinese or, to put it more broadly, of Asian political perception.

Professor Maslov further notes that the project does not have a clear plan, no clear parameters, calculations of expenses, pay-off period or other operational costs. China only announced it is ready to invest into the project, providing no details on the payback period or what the national economies of the participating countries should do for it.

"The ambiguity of the initiative however guarantees its 'insubmersibility' – no one would be able to assess its success. It gives China the right to change the rules of the game depending on the situation," the expert explains.

China, he says, is now fleshing out the initiative by declaring long-existing projects to be part of it. He cites as an example the construction of the Padma Bridge in Bangladesh, which is expected to be opened in December 2018 as part of the project, and which was announced in 2010, long before the launch of the project. Or the construction of the partly operational China-Pakistan corridor which connects China's city of Kashgar with the Pakistani port city of Gwadar, which was launched in 2002.

The West is wondering what China needs these numerous unhurried annual discussions and conferences for, he says. The aim is evident: to see how the world is reacting to the idea to unite around China and its vision of a more open world, which will be accessible not only to those western countries who initially set up the rules of the modern world.

The Belt and Road Forum, Professor Maslov says, has become the first review of allies that China has gathered around itself, many of whom are holders of Beijing's grants.

China, in turn, is trying to demonstrate that it is friendly to the world, it tries to give a new impulse to the participating countries without infringing upon their interests.

China says the project is open to everyone, the trick however is that one can join in only admitting China's leadership in reshaping the world order. There is no way for joint activities here, as there is simply no mechanism for them, the expert says.

The situation appears to be black and white: either join or reject, as, for example, the US, India and a number of European countries chose to. However there is the third option – mutually supporting projects. This is what President Putin voiced at the Forum in Beijing by proposing cooperation within the One Belt, One Road by bringing such structures as the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on board.

It sounds like an excellent idea, the expert says, however it does not suit China which is not interested in equal economic cooperation between the countries and organizations. For Beijing, it is an expansive geopolitical offensive on the world and all the spheres of activity.

China however regards Russia as a key strategic partner, Professor Maslov says, And not only because it is easier and cheaper to deliver goods through its territory. But because Russia is the only large partner of Beijing who is ready to take the risks of reshaping of the world order and not be a mere bit player in China's project.
China to Send High-Level Delegation to Russia's SPIEF 2017 Forum - Ministry (Китай направит делегацию высокого уровня на российский форум ПМЭФ-2017 - Министерство) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: SPIEF, Russia_China

China will be sending a high-level delegation to the 2017 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said.

"We always support Russia in hosting this major economic forum, and as far as I know, in the recent years we have always sent the high-level delegations to it. This year too a high-level delegation from China will participate in the forum," Hua said during a regular press briefing.

She did not specify who would head or be members of the delegation.

The spokeswoman also expressed hope that the forum would become a platform for further development of effective Russian-Chinese cooperation.

SPIEF is one of Russia's major business and economic events. The 21st annual forum is scheduled to kick off its 3-day run on June 1. So far, ministers from 26 countries have confirmed their participation, while the total number of participants, comprising entrepreneurs and representatives of various organizations like the International Atomic Energy Agency, is estimated at over 5,000.
Press release on the meeting of the co-chairmen of the Russian-Chinese Dialogue on Security in Northeast Asia (О встрече сопредседателей российско-китайского Диалога по безопасности в Северо-Восточной Азии) / Russia, May, 2017
Keywords: Russia_China, Official_statement, THAAD

Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and Assistant (with the rank of Deputy) Foreign Minister of China Kong Xuanyou, the co-chairmen of the Russian-Chinese Dialogue on Security in Northeast Asia, met in Moscow on May 22.

They discussed the developments on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, and expressed mutual concern at the serious deterioration of the situation in the region following Pyongyang's continued pursuit of its missile and nuclear programmes and also the disproportionate military action of the United States and its allies, including the deployment of THAAD missile defence systems on South Korean territory.

Both sides stressed the need for measures to de-escalate the tension and settle the problems on the Korean Peninsula in a context of military and political détente and a dismantling of the confrontational architecture in Northeast Asia.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's opening remarks during talks with Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China Wang Yi, Moscow, May 26, 2017 (Вступительное слово Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова в ходе переговоров с Министром иностранных дел КНР Ван И, Москва, 26 мая 2017 года) / Russia, May, 2017
Keywords: Russia_China, Official_Visit, Ministry_of_Foreign_Affairs

Mr Minister,


We are happy to welcome you as part of the visit, which began yesterday with a meeting with President Vladimir Putin. It was confirmed once again that the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation with the PRC was the Russian Federation's key foreign policy priority.

Our relations are an example of interstate ties based on the principles of partnership, trust and mutual consideration for each other's interests. The results showed a breakthrough in the sphere of practical cooperation which was made possible due to the five meetings held between the two heads of state last year. Earlier on this month, Beijing hosted the extremely successfully Belt and Road Forum, on the sidelines of which President Vladimir Putin and PRC President Xi Jinping held talks. Since early 2017, Russia was visited by Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Zhang Dejiang, Director of the General Office of the Communist Party of China Li Zhanshu and Vice-Premiers of the PRC State Council Wang Yang and Zhang Gaoli. We hope that contacts along all lines will not be less intensive and will continue until the end of this year.

Our foreign policy cooperation, as once again was stressed by our leaders at their talks in Beijing, is an increasingly important factor when it comes to world politics and an example of a responsible approach to solving current international problems on the firm basis of the UN Charter and international law.

We cooperate effectively in various multilateral formats: UN, the Group of Twenty, SCO, BRICS, APEC, EAS, RIC and CICA. I am confident that today's talks will enable us to map out further concrete steps for the implementation of top-level agreements.

I am very glad to see you. Welcome once again.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, Wang Yi, Moscow, May 26, 2017 (Выступление и ответы на вопросы СМИ Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова в ходе совместной пресс-конференции по итогам переговоров с Министром иностранных дел КНР Ван И, Москва, 26 мая 2017 года) / Russia, May, 2017
Keywords: Russia_China, Official_Visit, Ministry_of_Foreign_Affair

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our talks took place in an atmosphere of openness, trust and mutual respect, the traditional atmosphere of bilateral dialogue with our Chinese friends.

We took this opportunity to once again congratulate China's Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and the leadership of this country on the successful organisation of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing earlier this month. We have no doubt that working together in this format will contribute to the progressive development and linkage of integration processes in the vast Eurasian space, also in line with the agreements between the leaders of Russia and China on joint development of a larger Eurasian partnership and the Belt and Road initiative.

Today Russia and China have confirmed the high level of cooperation they have achieved, an unprecedented level in the history of bilateral relations. We discussed the schedule of political contacts, which is very packed as always. The main attention was paid to preparations for Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Russia.

Our leaders will also discuss important current issues of the bilateral and international agenda on the sidelines of various multilateral forums planned before the end of this year. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's official visit to China to attend the 22nd regular heads of government meeting is also scheduled for the yearend.

We were unanimous in our view of Russian-Chinese cooperation as an important stabilising factor in international affairs. We agreed to continue to step up cooperation and coordination as part of our activities in the UN, BRICS (also during the preparations for the BRICS summit in China's Xiamen in September), the SCO (this organisation's summit will be held in a couple of weeks in Astana), the RIC and other multilateral formats.

We exchanged views on a broad range of key regional and global issues. We have identical positions on the developments in Syria, including support for the Astana agreements that provide for the formation of de-escalation zones in Syria. Implementation of this concept is bound to become a major instrument for maintaining the cessation of hostilities, facilitating humanitarian access and creating better conditions for the start of the inclusive inter-Syrian dialogue in Geneva in line with the international documents adopted by the UN Security Council.

We paid significant attention to the developments on the Korean peninsula and reaffirmed our consistent line on the strict observance of relevant UN Security Council resolutions by all parties concerned. We support the adoption of measures that would prevent the further development of North Korean nuclear missile programmes but without escalating tensions in the region and without destroying chances for a political and diplomatic settlement of the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula. Russia and China are firm advocates of the peninsula's denuclearisation. At the same time we emphasised that the attempts to use Pyongyang's actions as an excuse for building up surplus military capabilities in the region are counterproductive. This applies, in part, to the deployment there of a new positioning area of the US global missile defence system.

We are pleased with the results of the talks that again confirmed our mutual determination to continue expanding and deepening our multifaceted bilateral strategic cooperation and comprehensive interaction.

Question (addressed to Wang Yi): Your recalled that the One Belt – One Road forum took place in Beijing in mid May. How do you see Russia's participation in the new belt of the Silk Road?

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Wang Yi): As you know, Russia and its EAEU partners are promoting open, future-oriented approaches to Eurasian economic integration. The Silk Road Economic Belt project was developed by China in parallel. Since both initiatives do not involve the formation of any closed or isolated mechanisms but, on the contrary, are designed to be open, there was naturally an opportunity and a desire to harmonise them. This gave rise to the agreement to draft a document on cooperation between China and the EAEU. This led to the agreement to promote concrete approaches to linking integration within the framework of the EAEU and the initiatives that comprise One Belt – One Road. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed considering the formation of a large Eurasian partnership by expanding the EAEU's external ties given the interest of several dozen countries in establishing relations with it. Members of the EAEU, SCO and ASEAN could cooperate within the framework of the proposed partnership. This initiative was mentioned at the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi a year ago.

In parallel the Chinese concept of the Silk Road Economic Belt evolved into the increasingly comprehensive One Belt – One Road project. At the latest meeting in Beijing, President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to think together about the large Eurasian partnership and One Belt – One Road concepts. This is a multifaceted process and it is only in the development stage. Their success is guaranteed because they are based on an open approach to integration in Eurasia and are aimed at searching for constructive and mutually beneficial solutions for all.

Question: What could you say about the development of business cooperation between Russia and China? What do you expect from the forthcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping?

Sergey Lavrov: Speaking at the opening of this news conference with my Chinese colleague, we said that Russian-Chinese relations are on the upswing. They have reached an unprecedented level in the entire history of our ties and embrace all possible fields of interstate cooperation and, probably, human interaction.

We have a unique ramified mechanism for organising practical partnership at the official level. Along with annual summits, there are annual prime minister meetings on the sidelines of international events (usually from five to seven per year) and mechanisms that prepare documents for them. In addition, we have mechanisms that are headed by four deputy prime ministers on both sides. This cooperation embraces investment, energy in all its forms (electricity, hydrocarbons and nuclear industry), space and other high-tech areas as well as military-technical ties.

Russia and China are building up cooperation between their regions. It is enough to mention such major projects as Volga-Yangtze and cooperation between Russia's Eastern Siberia and Far East with China's northwestern areas.

We also have agencies for promoting routine contacts between business circles. There is a forum at which the public of both countries holds regular meetings and searches for new forms of contacts between people that are of mutual interest. There are also many other things.

As for our foreign policy cooperation, we have described it more than once at top and high level meetings as playing a major stabilising and balancing role at this very difficult stage of world development.

I am convinced that important decisions that will allow us to take additional steps will be made in all areas of cooperation during the forthcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Russia. I think the sides will pay special attention to implementing the major treaty on neighbourly relations, friendship and cooperation. The Russian and Chinese leaders regularly approve relevant plans of action. I believe they will also give their assessment of the world situation. In this context, our presidents will formulate their views on how to overcome the difficulties that continue piling up in international relations.

Question: You said you discussed the protection of de-escalation zones in Syria with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Yesterday Iran objected to US participation in this process. What is Russia's attitude to this?

Sergey Lavrov: The initiative to create de-escalation zones in Syria with the consent of its Government and support of the armed opposition involved in the Astana process came from the three guarantors – Russia, Turkey and Iran. Currently experts continue consultations with all interested parties on how to implement this initiative, including monitoring of compliance with ceasefire commitments, checkpoints for civilians, humanitarian supplies and so on. What countries will be invited to send their servicemen and police for monitoring and checkpoints will be decided at consultations that will be primarily held with the Syrian Government. There is no other way. The consent of the receiving side plays the most important role in any peacekeeping efforts.

Of course, in this context we will actively work for such groups of military observers and police to be formed as soon as possible and include nationals that will be welcomed by Syria on the one hand and ensure the efficient and balanced functioning of these de-escalation zones on the other.

Question (addressed to both ministers): What are Russia's and China's views on the way out of the crisis on the Korean Peninsula? What specific steps are required in this respect? What do both countries think about the positions and actions of the United States and North Korea's neighbours – South Korea and Japan – on settling the Korean crisis?

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Wang Yi): I can support everything that has been said now. We consider it very important to adopt urgent measures to prevent the further escalation of the confrontation on the Korean Peninsula. All UN Security Council resolutions must be observed. As a reminder, they provide for the cessation of nuclear missile tests by Pyongyang and certain measures to compel it to fulfil this demand. They also envisage the continuation of the talks aimed at finding a strictly political solution to this problem.

Scenarios based on the use of force are considered pernicious by all countries. Thus, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said recently that any military solution to the North Korea crisis would be a tragedy on an unbelievable scale. It is necessary to look for a political solution.

It seems there are voices supporting the resumption of contacts but only on certain terms. They are heard in Washington, Seoul and now even in Pyongyang. Let me repeat that each side is setting terms that imply that someone else should take the first step. Pyongyang insists on getting full security guarantees now, that is, before the resolution of the nuclear problem. The United States wants North Korea to dismantle its nuclear missile programme. But ultimatums will hardly allow us to make tangible progress without delay.

We support what China suggested after analysing this situation, notably, parallel progress so that no country feels the pressure of ultimatums and has to comply with unilateral terms. Parallel progress is a concept on which practical steps out of the current deadlock should be based. I hope very much that this progress would ultimately lead to the full denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and the formation of a system that would make it possible to ensure security, peace and mutually beneficial cooperation on the Korean Peninsula and, more broadly, in Northeast Asia. I hope all participants in this process, including Japan as you mentioned, realise that there is no alternative to this approach.
Putin Aligns with Xi in Crafting the New World (Trade) Order (Путин согласен с Си в создании нового мира (торговли)) / Brazil, May, 2017
Keywords: OBOR_Forum, EEU, Russia_China, SCO, ASEAN, NDB,
Author: Pepe Escobar

History will record the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing marked the juncture where the 21st century New Silk Roads assumed their full character of Globalization 2.0, or "inclusive globalization," as defined by President Xi Jinping in Davos earlier this year.

I have dealt with the monumental stakes here and here. Terminology, of course, remains a minor problem. What was once defined as One Belt, One Road (OBOR) is now promoted as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Much is still somewhat lost in translation in English, what matters is that Xi has managed to imprint the myriad possibilities inbuilt in the concept especially across the Global South.

An amiable host, Xi in Beijing went 'no holds barred' extolling the inclusive integration merits of OBOR/BRI. It also helps that along the way, this being China, his spin doctors came up with a lovely metaphor to illustrate how OBOR/BRI should find its force as a common, pan-Eurasian effort; "Wild Swan geese [found across Asia but not in Europe] are able to fly far and safely through winds and storms because they move in flocks and help each other as a team."

And arguably the key member of this flock of wild swan geese happens to be Russia.

Follow the geese

President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were guests of honor at the forum – alongside leaders such as Kazakhstan's Nazarbayev and Turkey's Erdogan. At a business breakfast discussion, Xi seated Putin to his right and Lavrov to his left.

At a Leaders Roundtable summit on the second day of the forum – a sort of Silk Road United Nations, with the microphones open equally to all – Putin touched on a key point; the symbiosis, formalized since 2015, between OBOR/BRI and the Russia-driven Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), currently formed by Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Armenia.

As Putin said, "some 50 European, Asian and Latin American states" are interested in cooperation with the EEU. While the EEU and China are discussing their own, wide-ranging trade/economic deal, the EEU is also consulting, among others, with Iran, India, Serbia, Singapore, and Egypt.

But it was during his speech at the inaugural session of the forum that Putin managed to distill what amounts to a concentrate of Russian foreign policy.

Here are the key topics.

  • Through "integration formats like the EEU, OBOR, the SCO, and ASEAN, we can build the foundation for a larger Eurasian partnership."
  • There is now a "unique opportunity to create a common cooperation framework from the Atlantic to the Pacific – for the first time in history." Essentially, this is what Putin himself had once proposed – then shunned by EU/NATO – even before Xi announced OBOR in 2013.
  • "Russia is not only willing to be a reliable trading partner but also seeks to invest in the creation of joint ventures and new production capacities in partnering states, to invest in industrial facilities, sales, and services."
  • Russia is investing in building "a system of modern and well-connected transport corridors," "expanding the capacity of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian Railway, investing significant resources into improvements to the Northeast Passage."
  • And then, looking at the Big Picture, "the infrastructure projects within the EEU and the One Belt, One Road initiative in conjunction with the Northeast Passage can completely reconfigure transportation on the Eurasian continent."
  • Putin expects "newly established financial institutions like the New Development Bank (BRICS Development Bank) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to offer a supporting hand to private investors."
And then, the clincher, fully aligned with Xi's vision; "Greater Eurasia is not an abstract geopolitical arrangement but, without exaggeration, a truly civilization-wide project looking toward the future."

When in doubt, call the SCO

Compared with the depth and breadth of this shared vision, nothing could be more pedestrian than the official India attitude; not only sending a low-level delegation to Beijing, but imprinting on mainstream Indian media the notion that OBOR/BRI is "little more than a colonial enterprise [that would leave] debt and broken communities in its wake".

The flock of wild swan geese flying toward Eurasia integration is now a fact of life. East Asian output, for that matter, will surpass North America's during the Trump era. The future, rather, the dissolution of unipolar hegemony will be decided in Eurasia, particularly East Asia.

India may certainly harbor its own strategic agenda. But self-marginalization of the one and only integrated development project in the 21st century hardly qualifies as savvy diplomacy.

So it looks like Putin once again will have his work cut out for him. India, a historical partner of the former USSR, still maintains good trade relations with Russia. Iran, for its part, is as much a key Indian energy partner as China's. So the road map ahead spells out Moscow, alongside Tehran, playing the go-betweens trying to sweeten India into the Eurasia integration path.

That could well take place within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which from now on will have a full plate not only trying to smooth out a feasible Afghan peace process but making sure India and Pakistan find a political entente cordiale.

It will be a bit like older brothers trying to instill some sense into younger ones – as Russia and China, as part of their strategic partnership, have already worked hard to manage the twin admission of India and Pakistan into the SCO.

Iran will also become a full member shortly. So we will soon have an active SCO from Southwest Asia all the way to South Asia, with a political-economic integration agenda expanding the initial drive to fight myriad manifestations of Salafi-jihadi terror.

This slowly but surely progressive convergence fits into the larger goals of the Russia-China strategic partnership, which once again, as demonstrated during the Beijing forum, is all about Eurasia integration.

The invisible story at the Beijing forum was that as much as Turkey is a key node of OBOR/BRI and Kazakhstan is a key node between OBOR/BRI and the EEU, it's China and Russia that will truly advance the complex roadmap of this "civilization-wide project."
President Vladimir Putin of Russia Meets with Wang Yi (Президент РФ Владимир Путин встретился с Ван И) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: Russia_China, official_visit, SCO, G20, OBOR_forum

On May 25, 2017, President Vladimir Putin of Russia met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi in the Kremlin Palace, Moscow, who was paying an official visit to Russia.

Vladimir Putin asked Wang Yi to convey his warm greetings to President Xi Jinping. Congratulating the Chinese side on the successful holding of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), Vladimir Putin expected President Xi Jinping to visit Russia at an early date. Vladimir Putin noted that China and Russia are veritable comprehensive strategic partners of coordination, and Russia-China cooperation covers various fields including politics, economy, trade, and international affairs. At present, Russia is embracing an optimistic economic situation. In this view, the government departments of both countries should intensify cooperation and consultation, consolidate the development momentum of practical cooperation, and well implement major cooperation programs, so as to create a favorable condition for the enterprises of the two countries to expand cooperation. Russia and China should closely cooperate under the multilateral frameworks including the BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the G20, reinforce cooperation in international security, and jointly cope with the current hotspot issues for the sake of global strategic stability.

Wang Yi said that no matter how the international situation changes, China and Russia always trust and support each other, which is the most significant feature of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. China is willing to, together with Russia, well prepare for the important high-level exchanges of the two countries in the next stage. Not long ago, President Vladimir Putin attended the BRF at invitation, making an important contribution to the success of the forum. Under the guidance of the two heads of state, the two countries should further promote the integration and cooperation between the "Belt and Road" construction and Eurasia Economic Union for more achievements. Development strategies of the two countries are matched to one another and bilateral cooperation enjoys broad prospects. The two sides should further deepen cooperation in various fields including trade, investment, energy, aviation, and finance, expedite the implementation of cooperation on major programs, explore and develop new growth points in agriculture, innovation, and the development of Far East, and deepen the integration of interests of both countries. China and Russia should also reinforce strategic coordination in international affairs, and firmly safeguard bilateral strategic interests, so as to jointly promote the peaceful settlement of international and regional hotspot issues.
China to work with major regional players to promote peace (Китай будет работать с крупными региональными игроками в целях содействия миру) / Pakistan, May, 2017
Keywords: Xiamen_summit

XIAMEN, (China), May 22 (INP): The next summit of the BRICS association of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will be held here in September this year. That will be the most significant event, aimed at engaging regional countries to promote peace and development, it was announced here on Monday. "China will work with all countries concerned on the implementation of the consensus reached at the previous summits to expand partnership and write a new chapter in the history of cooperation within BRICS. The coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province nicknamed as Garden on the Sea is taking steady steps to prepare and embrace the 9th BRICS summit to be hosted in September this year, said Pei Jinjia, standing committee member of CPC Fujian provincial committee, party secretary of CPC Xiamen Municipal Committee. Pei Jinjia talked about the preparatory work for the ninth BRICS Summit at a huge press conference attended by a number of national and international media men. Pei described that for the preparations of BRICS summit five major guidelines have been followed consist of avoid extravagance, benefit the city and citizens, prioritize security and safety, provide quality logistics services and encourage public participation. He said that these guidelines have been very helpful while delivering best results for environmental protection and fully utilizing existing facilities in accordance to international practice and actual needs. The preparatory work has been conducted side by side with post-Meranti Typhon reconstruction and the enhancement of city environment and governance, said Pei at the press briefing. The specific security measures have been identified and implemented to ensure the safety of the delegates, he told. Details plans to facilitate accommodation, transport, meals and work for delegates and media have been formulated while several BRICS themed volunteer activities to invite citizens to help nurture a friendly and civilized society have also been launched, told Pei. While talking about the extension of the remit of BRICS to make it most successful platform regarding South-South cooperation, he said that China is exploring the modalities so that more friends may become the part of this platform. He also noted that Xiamen is playing a vital role in One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative and the speech of President Xi Jinping at the summit is a historic guideline for increasing trade, investment, technology and cooperation with other countries in various sectors. Fujian is encouraging its companies to invest in OBOR countries to fully tap the potential by which we can develop more strengthening relationship with one another. Pei also counted that deepening reforms and opening up policies will be continued for attracting more business companies to invest in the province while the trade volume by increased by fully utilizing the rail, road and sea routes as for now train corridor to Europe was an important part of enhanced trade activities. This trade route will also be enhanced towards Moscow and other destinations for facilitating trade activities. While talking about the trade volume of Fujian with other countries, he said that 77.2 billion dollars were the figures, which was significant and remarkable achievement while more efforts are underway to gain more results. Pei also explained that Xiamen is one of the four international shipping centers in China while its port ranked the 15th worldwide in terms of containers throughout last year. Meanwhile its airports operate 38 international routes to Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. INP/J/AK
Shaping The Future: Moscow And Beijing's Multipolar World Order (Формирование будущего: многополярный мировой порядок Москвы и Пекина) / USA, May, 2017
Keywords: Russia_China, OBOR, MSR, EEU, expert_opinion
Author: Federico Pieraccini

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Stratgic Culture Foundation,

Once in a while, think tanks such as the Brookings Institute are able to deal with highly strategic and current issues. Often, the conferences held by such organizations are based on false pretences and copious banality, the sole intention being to undermine and downplay the efforts of strategic opponents of the US. Recently, the Brookings Institute's International Strategy and Strategy Project held a lecture on May 9, 2017 where it invited Bobo Lo, an analyst at Lowy Institute for International Policy, to speak. The topic of the subject, extremely interesting to the author and mentioned in the past, is the strategic partnership between China and Russia.

The main assumption Bobo Lo starts with to define relations between Moscow and Beijing is that the two countries base their collaboration on convenience and a convergence of interests rather than on an alliance. He goes on to say that the major frictions in the relationship concern the fate that Putin and Xi hold for Europe, in particular for the European Union, in addition to differences of opinions surrounding the Chinese role in the Pacific. In the first case, Lo states that Russia wants to end the European project while China hopes for a strong and prosperous Europe. With regard to the situation in the Pacific, according to this report, Moscow wants a balance of power between powers without hegemonic domination being transferred from Washington to Beijing.

The only merit in Lo's analysis is his identification of the United States as the major cause of the strategic proximity between Moscow and Beijing, certainly a hypothesis that is little questioned by US policy makers. Lo believes Washington's obsession with China-Russia cooperation is counterproductive, though he also believes that the United States doesn't actually possess capabilities to sabotage or delimit the many areas of cooperation between Beijing and Moscow.

What is missing in Lo's analysis are two essential factors governing how Moscow and Beijing have structured their relationship. China and Russia have different tasks in ushering in their world order, namely, by preserving global stability through military and economic means. Their overall relationship of mutual cooperation goes beyond the region of Eurasia and focuses on the whole process of a sustainable globalization as well as on how to create an environment where everyone can prosper in a viable and sustainable way. Doing this entails a departure from the current belligerent and chaotic unipolar world order.

Moscow and Beijing: Security and Economy

Beijing has been the world's economic engine for over two decades and shows no signs of slowing down, at least not too much. Moscow, contrary to western media propaganda, has returned to play a role not only on a regional scale but as a global power. Both of these paths of military and economic growth for China and Russia have set things on a collision course with the United States, the current global superpower that tends to dominate international relations with economic, political and military bullying thanks to a complicit media and corrupt politicians.

In the case of Beijing, the process of globalization has immensely enhanced the country, allowing the Asian giant to become the world's factory, enabling Western countries to outsource to low-cost labor. In this process of economic growth, Beijing has over the years gone from being a simple paradise for low-cost outsourcing for private companies to being a global leader in investment and long-term projects. The dividends of years of wealth accumulation at the expense of Western nations has allowed Beijing to be more than just a strategic partner for other nations. China drives the process of globalization, as recently pointed out by Xi Jinping in Davos in a historic speech. China's transition from a harmless partner of the West to regional power with enormous foreign economic investments place the country on a collision course with Washington. Inevitably, Beijing will become the Asian hegemon, something US policymakers have always guaranteed will not be tolerated.

The danger Washington sees is that of China emerging as a regional superpower that will call the shots in the Pacific, the most important region of the planet. The United States has many vested interests in the region and undeniably sees its future as the leader of the world order in jeopardy. Obama's pivot to Asia was precisely for the purposes of containing China and limiting its economic power so as to attenuate Beijing's ambitions.

Unsurprisingly, Washington's concerns with Moscow relate to its resurgence in military capabilities. Russia is able to oppose certain objectives of the United States (see Ukraine or Syria) by military means. The possibility of the Kremlin limiting American influence in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Eurasia in general is cause for concern for American policy makers, who continue to fail to contain Russia and limit Moscow's spheres of influence.

In this context, the strategic division of labor between Russia and China comes into play to ensure the stability of the Eurasian region as a whole; in Asia, in the Middle East and in Europe. To succeed in this task, Moscow has mainly assumed the military burden, shared with other friendly nations belonging to the affected areas. In the Middle East, for example, Tehran's partnership with Moscow is viewed positively by Beijing, given its intention to stabilize the region and to eradicate the problem of terrorism, something about which nations like China and Russia are particularly concerned.

The influence of Islamist extremists in the Caucasian regions in Russia or in the autonomous region of Xinjiang in China are something that both Putin and Xi are aware can be exploited by opposing Western countries. In North Africa, Egypt has signed several contracts for the purchase of military vehicles from Moscow, as well as having bought the two Mistral ships from France, thereby relying on military supplies from Moscow. It is therefore not surprising that Moscow and Egypt cooperated with the situation in Libya and in North Africa in general.

In Southeast Asia, Moscow seeks to coordinate efforts to reach an agreement between Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) of New Delhi and Islamabad (Tehran will be next), with the blessing of Beijing as the protagonist of the 2017 SCO meeting, is a keystone achievement and the right prism through which to observe the evolution of the region. Moscow is essentially acting as a mediator between the parties and is also able to engage with India in spite of the dominating presence of China. The ultimate goal of Moscow and Beijing is to eradicate the terrorist phenomenon in the Asian region with a view to what is happening in North Africa and the Middle East with Iran and Egypt.

Heading to a Multipolar World Order

The turning point in relations between Moscow and Beijing concerns the ability to engage third countries in military or economic ways, depending on these countries' needs and objectives. Clearly in the military field it is Moscow that is leading, with arms sold to current and future partners and security cooperation (such as with ex-Soviet Central-Asian republics or in the Donbass) and targeted interventions if needed, as in Syria. Beijing, on the other hand, acts in a different way, focusing on the economic arena, in particular with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) at its center.

Initiatives such as the One Belt One Road (OBOR) and the Maritime Silk Road have the same strategic aim of the Russian military initiative, namely, ensuring the independence of the region from a geo-economic perspective, reaching win-win arrangements for all partners involved. Naturally, the win-win agreement does not mean that China wins and then wins again; rather, a series of bilateral concessions can come to satisfy all actors involved. An important example in this regard that explains the Sino-Russian partnership concerns the integration of the Eurasian Union with the Chinese Silk Road. The Russian concerns over the predominant status of the Chinese colossus in Central Asia have been assuaged by a number of solutions, such as the support of the OBOR infrastructure program to that of the Eurasian Union. Beijing is not interested in replacing Moscow's leading role the post-Soviet nations in Central Asia but rather with providing significant energy and economic development to particularly underdeveloped nations that are in need of important economic investment, something only Beijing is able to guarantee.

The linking of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) with the One Belt One Road initiative guarantees Moscow a primary role in the transit of goods from east to west, thereby becoming the connecting point between China and Europe while expanding the role and function of the EEU. All participants in these initiatives have a unique opportunity to expand their economic condition through this whole range of connections. Beijing guarantees the money for troubled countries, and Moscow the security. The SCO will play a major role in reducing and preventing terrorist influence in the region, a prerequisite for the success of any projects. Also, the AIIB, and to some extent the BRICS Development Bank, will also have to step in and offer alternative economic guarantees to countries potentially involved in these projects, in order to free them from the existing international financial institutions.

One Belt One Road, and all the related projects, represent a unique occasion whereby all relevant players share common goals and benefits from such transformative geo-economic relationships. This security-economy relationship between Moscow and Beijing is the heart of the evolution of the current world order, from the unipolar to the multipolar world. The US cannot oppose China on the economic front and Russia on the military front. It all comes down to how much China and Russia can continue to provide and guarantee economic and security umbrellas for the rest of the world.
More Than Just A Game: The Soft Power Politics of Sports and the 2018 Olympic Games (Больше, чем просто игра: мягкая политическая сила спорта и Олимпийские игры 2018 года) / Canada, May, 2017
Keywords: Olympic_games, politics

There has always been an inherent connection between sports and politics. In 19th century Britain, there was a movement known as "muscular Christianity" that emphasized the importance of schoolyard games and bolstering fair play to mold "future guarantors of the Empire." The cooperation and collaboration intrinsic in team sports aid in nation-building by rousing patriotism and pride. Sportsmanship and camaraderie can strengthen domestic relations or can be magnified as diplomatic relations between states. As unlikely as it may sound, sports are an instrument of soft power. According to Political Scientist Joseph S. Nye, who coined the term in 1990, soft power is the "ability to shape preferences of others through appeal and attraction." Soft power is not coercive like overt military or economic action; it is less risky but more difficult to wield. Especially in today's consumerist society, the instruments of soft power are not completely under the control of governments. Rather, there has been a diffusion of power into the hands of corporations and independent organizations such as the International Olympics Committee (IOC). While it is difficult to quantify and measure soft power considering the fact that it is composed of a multitude of factors, the role of sports as a form of soft power is more relevant than ever as we look ahead to the 2018 Olympics hosted by South Korea in PyeongChang and the role of international organizations.

The Political Past and Present of the Olympics

The Olympics have had a history of being a political stage and political device in itself. It exists as a space and an opportunity for diverse political actors to engage outside of formal political environments and institutions. International mega-sporting events can reflect the political climate and statements can be made by states through boycotts. Most notably, during the Cold War the United States boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow in response to Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. In response, the USSR did not participate in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. The IOC has also made political statements such as the banning of South Africa from participating in the Olympics from 1964 until 1992. This was done to condemn them for their domestic policy of apartheid. Thus, this decision not only supported the anti-apartheid movement, but also civil rights movement in the United States. Lastly, athletes themselves can use the games as a platform to make statements. Tommie Smith and John Carlos did in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics when they raised their fists in solidarity with the Black Panther movement, as did North Korea's Hong Un-jong and South Korea's Lee Eun-ju at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics with their selfie shared more than 18,000 times. Seeing the current tension between South and North Korea, North Korea has had the national policy of "Sports Diplomacy" since the 1980s. Promoting athletes who compete abroad with rewards such as state titles, and government awards, Sports Diplomacy aims to build image and trust. Sport exchanges such as the one struck between Kim Jong-un and former NBA player Dennis Rodman show the role private entities have in wielding soft power and enhancing cooperation.

Soft power aids countries by saving on the number of resources spent on pursuing external objectives. With the nature of the Olympics as an international spectacle, they attract a large proportion of the global audience; thus, the Olympics are an ideal stage to showcase international cultures and promote shared values. The 2012 Olympics were watched by more than 50% of the world's population. Since 2012, global user numbers have gone up by more than 80% in the past 5 years. Thus, the 2018 Olympics are expected to connect to a larger audience due to the utilization of various social media platforms such as snapchat, diversity of advertisement mediums and more corporate sponsors. The British Council research showed that on average 35% of people were more likely to visit the UK after the 2012 Olympics.

While hosting the Olympics is a practice of soft power and public diplomacy, it requires a lot of economic strength and national legitimacy. This is why prior to the 1980s, the majority of host cities were developed nations. Hosting shows signs of credibility and economic power and opportunity. The plethora of hosting benefits such as being able to increase a nation's image, bolster nationalism, demonstrate credibility, show economic stature and competitiveness has resulted in a surge of bids to host from BRICS. By doing so, they show their political willingness and economic ability in the international political arena. Hosting the Olympics has also become a way for states to strategically compensate for public diplomacy, as hosting shows connectivity to the international community and commitment to universal norms. Despite past human rights abuses, undemocratic governance, and a lack of conformity to the global capitalist economic system, China was selected for the 2008 and 2022 Olympics. Especially with China feeling less impact from the 2008 recession, the country blossomed as a global superpower post-2008 Olympics. Sheffield Hallam University compared the medal count of G7 countries and BRICS and found that in 1996, the G7 had twice the medal count of BRICS, but by 2008, the medal gap had been reduced to a difference of 10%. This is significant as playing sports professionally is classist in that many sports require a certain level of income to be able to afford equipment, training, and the time to practice. Thus, the numbers represent a narrowing in economic disparity, but they also show that investing in sports is a development strategy that bolsters growth internationally and domestically.

In addition to strengthening foreign diplomacy, hosting the Olympics can also be a way to arouse domestic pride and aid in reconciliation. An example of that is post-apartheid South Africa, the host of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, 1999 All Africa Games, and 2003 Cricket World Cup. Their success and eventual hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup signified restoration of international credibility, as well as garnering South African pride and strengthening national unity. However, the desire to strengthen international prestige can also shadow domestic issues. During the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, the national income disparity, seen through things such as poor public health and low investment on public infrastructure was at the forefront of domestic issues, yet billions of dollars were being pumped into facilities that were not universal for the population and were deserted after the games ultimately resulted in lower public trust.

The Corporatisation of the Olympics

This sheds light on issues of funding as every two years we see host countries attempting to throw bigger opening and closing ceremonies and better facilities, hence the integral role of sponsorship that has resulted in growing corporatisationof the games. This indicates that the Olympics have slowly become more of an economic instrument rather than a political one. For example, the National Hockey League (NHL) commissioner Gary Bettman announced in April that they would not have NHL players play for their national teams in the 2018 Olympics. The reasoning behind this decision was that the NHL was seeking more compensation from the IOC as they wanted the games to be "worthwhile ventures" for owners as they would need to shut down the league for three weeks, despite the fact that they have done so every four years since 1994. In response to this, International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President Rene Fasel has spoken out and continues to push for NHL participation as he sees it as an opportunity to bolster a stronger platform for the sport on an international stage. At the end of the day the corporate interests of the NHL have been prioritized but the fans, the sport, and the players lose (Sidney Crosby might never play in an Olympics again). This decision was made on a purely economic basis, yet it has political repercussions. There has been backlash on the IOC's end as they tie the NHL's participation in the 2022 Games in China to their participation in the 2018 Games and if this occurs it would affect Canadian foreign relations. The political ramifications of this decision can be seen in Canada's foreign relations. It is estimated that Canadian economic activity related hockey brings in over 11 billion dollars annually. Hockey is a source of Canadian pride and patriotism. Recently, it has also become a source of diplomacy between China and Canada and with Canadians making up the majority of the NHL but a minority of franchise owners, this decision could translate to a loss in both diplomatic opportunity and soft power for Canada.Currently, Lee Hee-beom, the president of the Pyeongchang Olympic organizing committee, is still pushing and hoping for a reversal of the decision by collaborating with Fasel, the IIHF and with IOC president Thomas Bach to sway the NHL into participating. Canadian skater Brian Orser commented in response to the NHL's decision that "it's a shame…the business is more important than the sport.". The current situation between the NHL and IOC makes it evident that corporatism undercuts the legitimacy of the Olympics and threatens the 'soft power' of sports in foreign relations.

Looking to the 2018 Olympics

Strengthening foreign relations is key to tackling current international challenges such as global warming and pandemics. With the 2018 Olympics being hosted in PyeongChang there is an opportunity for newly elected South Korean president Moon Jae-in to utilize the games to potentially ease growing tensions in the region. It is expected that his policies will facilitate stronger relations with North Korea and will be reflective of the Sunshine Policy that advocated for diplomatic conversation and negotiations with rewards in exchange for North Korean compliance with denuclearization. The Sunshine Policy was implemented by Kim Dae-jung in 1998 and President Moon was chief of staff during Roh Moo-hyun's administration between 2003-2008 where the policy was continued. During the Sunshine Policy era between 1998-2007, North Korea and South Korea marched together as one during the opening ceremonies of the 2000, 2004 and 2006 Olympics.

In addition to this, President Moon ran on the platform of reviewing Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), a US missile defense system that has generated tension between China and South Korea and has exacerbated tensions between South Korea and North Korea. In an era marked by increased information and diffusion of power, the Olympics will become an increasingly important part of effective foreign policy strategies. More than just a game, sport is an expression of soft power.
1st BRICS Think-Tank Forum on Pragmatic Cooperation (Первый Форум исследовательских центров БРИКС по конструктивному сотрудничеству) / Italy, May, 2017
Keywords: Xiamen_summit, Think_Tank_Forum

In Shanghai, May 25-26: a meeting to lay the ground for a new world economic order. Here is how the globalization might be seered in the right direction. We present here the program of the event:

Last year marks the 10th anniversary of BRICS cooperation since 2006 when the 1st meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers of Brazil, Russia, India and China was held on the margins of the opening sessions of United Nations General Assembly. Ten years on, BRICS cooperation has grown in depth and substance with solid steps as we included our first new member South Africa, and successively transitioned from a platform focusing essentially on economical issues and discussion of general ideas and principles into a new mechanism of all-round coordination with equal emphasis on political and economic governance, as well as security cooperation and cultural exchange, dealing both strategic and practical matters.

As China will host the 9th Summit of BRICS Leaders in Xiamen in September 2017 and BRICS are marching to the next decade, especially when set against the backdrop of the hampered world economy recovery, the rising surge of "protectionism" and "antiglobalization", and the world-wide occurrences of "black swan" events, we and our cooperation will embrace a new era accompanied by daunting challenges yet enormous opportunities.

BRICS countries are not just a community of converging interests, but more importantly, we take concerted actions and make progress together. Shanghai Community of BRICS Studies (consists of Fudan University, Shanghai Academy of Social Science and Shanghai Institute of International Studies) now would like to take this opportunity to host the 1st BRICS Think-Tank Forum on Pragmatic Cooperation with the theme of "Globalization in the Time of Transition: Shared Opportunities, Challenges and Responsibilities for BRICS". As a warm-up for the upcoming Xiamen Summit, this forum will bring former government officials and influential academics and think-tankers from the five BRICS countries together to discuss and exchange ideas on approaches to tackle challenges, deepen pragmatic cooperation, carry globalization forward to a new stage of benign development. We look forward that BRICS will be a new driving force and bring in a new era of globalization.
Brazilian Expert On Upcoming BRICS Summit (Бразильский эксперт о предстоящем Саммите БРИКС) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: Expert_opinion, Xiamen_Summit

The ninth annual BRICS summit will be held this year in Xiamen, China, from Sept 3 to 5.

The BRICS summit will bring together core countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, as well as other participants from across the globe.

This year's event is themed "BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future."

CNC has talked to an expert from Brazil to get her take on the upcoming summmit.

Margareth Simoes, a researcher at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, says China is an important partner for trade, and also technological development and research.

"In this sense, Brazil sent out a call through our development agency, which is the National Research Council, for the BRICs summit. We have submitted a project together with the Chinese Academy of Sciences,, as well as universities in India, South Africa and Russia."

She added the partnership with China and the BRICS group centers around techniques aimed at monitoring agriculture.

"In our case, we will promote these farming techniques as well, in relation to the ABC plan, and each country will jointly exchange satellite information, and technology for the construction of joint agricultural monitoring."

Many in China are looking forward to BRICS summit, with preparations for the event already underway.
Countdown to 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen begins (Начинается обратный отсчет до 9-го саммита БРИКС в Сямыне) / India, May, 2017
Keywords: Xiamen_summit
Author: Jubair Hasan

The 100-day countdown to the 9th BRICS Summit involving five economic powers officially started on Monday last in the Chinese eastern port city of Xiamen.

Organisers say the summit is expected to further strengthen South-South cooperation in trade, business and security.

Standing committee member of the Fujian provincial committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Pei Jinjia launched the countdown at a hotel in the city known as 'the Garden of the Sea'.

The summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will be held in September next.

But experts say increasing differences between India and China on various matters like Delhi's membership in the Nuclear Supplier Group, Dalai Lama issue and friendly relation between China and India's arch rival Pakistan might impact the outcome of the summit.

They also pointed to other major global developments, especially US President Donald Trump's protectionist agenda which is being described as yet another key challenge for the upcoming meeting of the global leaders.

During a press briefing, Mr Pei Jinjia told reporters that they have been making their best efforts to make the city ready for welcoming the global leaders to the summit.

He said Xiamen's infrastructure has been complete. The city is known for its tourism and exhibitions, so conditions of hotels and venues are relatively well.

"Safety measures have been strengthened with better city management to be maintained for the summit," he said.

According to him, the event will bring benefits to the city's economy and tourism.

Xiamen recorded economic growth at 8.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, a 0.2 per cent increase over that of 2016. Tourism is expected to surge by 70 million this year, compared to 67.6 million last year, a boost to the city's popularity and influence.

Super typhoon Meranti hit Xiamen, which is considered as one of the world's 15 largest ports in terms of container throughput last year, destroying infrastructure and killing people.

Responding to a query as to whether the city would be able to host the mega event with the damaged infrastructures, he said renovation works have been started since the typhoon struck and it's going on at a faster pace.

The volume of trade between Xiamen city and other four member-countries of the BRICS is worth around US$ 33.0 billion. BRICS members have 43 projects in the host city while Xiamen has 11 projects in four other countries of the BRICS.

When contacted, Wang Dehua, Director, Institute for South and Central Asia Studies in Shanghai, said the increasing differences between India and China on various issues is one of the main challenges of the meeting.

He said India did not take part in the just-concluded OBOR (One Belt, One Road) forum though the United States and Japan sent their delegations.

"If such relations continue or deteriorate further, it may have a negative impact on the outcome of BRICS summit," he said.

He said anti-globalisation process seems to be increasing both in the US and Europe because of Brexit and the USA's U-turn from the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) deal.

According to IMF's statistics, the BRICS countries contributed more than 50 per cent to the global economic growth over the last 10 years.
From B&R Forum to BRICS Summit, China Rises to Global Challenges with Win-win Solutions (От Форума ОПОП до Саммита БРИКС, Китай выдвигается к общемировым проблемам с взаимовыгодными решениями) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: OBOR_Forum, APEC_summit, AIIB

As the world lauded the achievements of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation earlier this month in rebalancing economic globalization, China's approach to global governance and development is becoming ever more evident via win-win cooperation.

The two-day forum of world leaders ended last week with promises and high hopes that the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, will be favorable to the building of a better world.

Speaking to media at the scenic Yanqi Lake on the outskirts of Beijing on May 15, Xi said 68 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation deals with China to carry forward the Belt and Road. Many were inked during the just concluded forum.

The progress did not just end there. According to Xi, a list of more than 270 outcomes was formulated at the forum's Leaders Roundtable, setting the way forward.

The roundtable also produced a communique which strongly denounces protectionism.

"We reaffirm our shared commitment to build open economy, ensure free and inclusive trade, oppose all forms of protectionism," it read. "We endeavor to promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system with WTO at its core."

At a time when the world's largest economy -- the United States -- retreats to focus on domestic affairs, China's efforts to rally support from all over the world to champion globalization and multilateralism have won global ovation.

In fact, it has become increasingly clear that the past few years marked China's transition from a player in global affairs to a leader of the global agenda.

From APEC Beijing summit in 2014 to G20 Hangzhou summit in 2016 and this year's Belt and Road forum, China has used the international stage to champion a holistic approach to development, which acknowledges that domestic well-being relies on a nation's regional neighbors and the international community at large.

By setting up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and by pledging increased Chinese commitments such as an additional 100 billion yuan (14.5 billion U.S. dollars) to the Silk Road Fund, China is showing the world that its approach to development is more than political rhetoric, but down-to-earth action.

China's vision to bring down walls and barriers and to embrace win-win cooperation between nations fits well with the building of a community of shared future for mankind, a notion Xi put forward in late 2012.

Cooperation among emerging markets is one important pillar in that notion.

While attending a BRICS leaders' meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit last year, Xi said that BRICS members should enhance coordination to make emerging-market economies and developing countries play a bigger role in international affairs.

BRICS nations are leaders among emerging-market economies and developing countries, and also important members of the G20, Xi said, noting that they should reinforce coordination to build, maintain and develop the BRICS and G20 platforms.

BRICS groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. According to the International Monetary Fund, BRICS and other developing countries contributed 80 percent of global growth in 2016.

"Deficit in peace, development and governance poses a daunting challenge to mankind," Xi said in a keynote speech at the opening of the Belt and Road forum.

In this sense, emerging economies such as the BRICS countries constitute the most important engine for world economic growth, a robust anchor for stability, as well as a dedicated contributor to global governance.

With that in mind, the BRICS summit, with the theme "BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future," is expected to strengthen solidarity and collaboration among BRICS members, improve global governance, and deepen pragmatic cooperation to achieve mutual benefits.

It will also serve to increase people-to-people exchanges, enhance public support, strengthen institutional mechanisms and improve cooperation platforms.

China's hosting of both the Belt and Road forum and the BRICS summit this year shows its dedication to win-win cooperation as a sound solution to world challenges and a solid path toward a community of shared future.

That shall be China's contribution to global governance.
BRICS set for another glittering decade (БРИКС настраивается на еще одно блестящее десятилетие) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: Expert_opinion, NDB, BRICS+

BEIJING, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The BRICS Summit to be held in China in about 100 days will start another golden decade for the five nations as well as the global economy.

After ten years of development, BRICS has helped unite five single countries to become a shining representative for emerging economies, leading growth in developing countries and contributing to global economic governance.

The past decade was not without challenges for the five nations. Economic slowdown, rising trade protectionism and a volatile international security situation were common problems facing the whole world, but the BRICS countries have shown remarkable resilience with its abundant resources, vast markets, huge growth potential and enhanced cooperation.

Growth is the touchstone of BRICS. The five countries' share in global GDP increased from about 12 percent to 23 percent in the past decade while contributing to more than half of global growth.

Cooperation in economic and political fields has been a major theme of BRICS development. The BRICS Development Bank is another pioneering innovation that further boosts economic integration among Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The main theme of the next decade will be a stronger partnership featuring more concrete cooperation in a string of fields.

In line with progress on the Belt and Road Initiative, BRICS countries have much potential for cooperation in infrastructure, trade and investment, and financial markets.

People-to-people exchanges will be a highlight of the agenda at this year's summit, with many cultural activities such as art weeks and film festivals to encourage mutual understanding.

Meanwhile, more industrial and commercial conferences will be held during the summit, inviting business leaders not just from the five nations, but many other countries.

Building on the success of the past ten years, the BRICS now eyes starting a new decade with a more expansive partnership to seek inclusive growth.

China's attempt to explore expansion with "BRICS Plus" and build a wider partnership by holding dialogues with other major developing countries and organizations will help turn BRICS into the most-influential platform for South-South cooperation in the world.

The idea of "BRICS Plus" is for the BRICS countries to stand firm against the rising wave of protectionism.

With growing global uncertainties, the next decade might not be a smooth journey but the BRICS countries will sail through and even enlighten the rest of the world as long as they can stick to a strong and expansive partnership.
BRICS countries to strengthen health cooperation (Страны БРИКС укрепят сотрудничество в области здравоохранения) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: Healthcare, official_meeting, NHFPC

Health ministers from China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa attended a luncheon meeting during the 70th World Health Assembly which began on May 22 in Geneva, Switzerland. The BRICS health ministers exchanged ideas on furthering cooperation in the health sector.

Li Bin, minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) noted that China will hold a BRICS health ministers' meeting on July 6 and 7 in Tianjin, and will release a Tianjin communiqué and joint declaration on strengthening of traditional medical cooperation among BRICS countries. China will also hold a BRICS high-ranking health officials' meeting on July 5 to push forward the establishment of a cooperation network.

BRICS health ministers discussed increasing the availability and affordability of pharmaceutical products, advancing global prevention of tuberculosis and strengthening the containment of antimicrobial resistance. They stressed that BRICS's population accounts for 40 percent of the world's. BRICS's health policies are significant for international disease prevention and control.

The first BRICS health ministers' meeting was held in Beijing in July 2011, from which a long-term dialogue mechanism between the ministers has emerged. Since 2011 meetings have been held six times by turns in the BRICS countries. China holds the rotating presidency of the BRICS mechanism this year.

China aims to strengthen South-South cooperation at BRICS Summit (Китай стремится укрепить сотрудничество Юг-Юг на саммите БРИКС) / Brazil, May, 2017
Keywords: Xiamen_summit, South-South_cooperation

The 9th BRICS Summit to be held in Xiamen, China, aims to deepen pragmatic cooperation among member countries and strengthen governance to address global challenges, according to the Chinese government. The BRICS bloc is composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

With 100 days to go until the summit, Pei Jinjia, Secretary of the Xiamen Municipal Committe of the Communist Party of China (the highest municipal authority), said one of the priorities of the Chinese government is to strengthen South-South cooperation. He pointed out the meeting should provide an important platform for achieving this goal.

"Expanding South-South cooperation will help advance economic globalization and strengthen economic partnerships," he told a news conference in Xiamen.

The summit, which will bring together the heads of state and government of the five BRICS member countries, will take place on September 3-5, under the theme "BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future."


Located in the province of Fujian on China's Southeast coast, Xiamen was one of the first regions in China to attain special economic zone status in 1980. The main characteristics of China's special economic zones are openness to foreign investment, tax incentives, and industrial diversity aimed mainly at exports.

Xiamen is a major port city, and its main industries include fishing, shipbuilding, machinery and equipment manufacturing, telecommunications, and financial services. Another local highlight is a technology park focused on the software industry.

Pei Jinjia said the city is ready to host international delegations. "This city is an important economic and tourist hub, a pioneer of [economic] openness and reform," he said.
Brics to level the playing field (БРИКС выравнивает игровое поле) / South Africa, May, 2017
Keywords: Xiamen_summit
South Africa
Author: Will Koulouris

Cape Town - A leading global expert has said the Brics nations will create a level playing field for developing economies and emerging markets. The expert made the comments nearly 100 days before the ninth annual Brics summit to be held in Xiamen, China, from September 3-5.

The Brics summit brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which make up its moniker, along with participants from across the globe.

This year's event is themed "Brics: Stronger Partnerships for a Brighter Future." David Thomas, chief executive of Think Global Consulting, said the Brics nations have been making tremendous strides in their engagement with global governance.

"Brics is going in their own direction and they have got the power to do it, Brics nations comprise just under half the world's population, and they are now trying to do their own thing," Thomas said.

Major role

Earlier in the year, the coiner of the term "Brics," Jim O'Neill, said that the Brics countries are already playing a major role in terms of governance despite the geopolitical partnership being still in its infancy, and wield the same influence as other similar global groupings.

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

"One of the most notable aspects of the successful Brics partnership has been the level of co-operation that the countries have been able to achieve," said Thomas.

"If you think about it, it was only Jim O'Neill's idea of Brics that brought them all together. I know Jim quite well and he was as surprised as anybody when they started meeting as a group, because they don't have natural advantages or cultural and historical reasons to be a group.

"This is their 9th leadership meeting in Xiamen this year, and I think it is interesting because there is no real reason for them to collaborate, and yet they are."

The cultural exchanges and connections that have been developed between the countries are crucial to the ongoing success of the partnership. The Brics partnership is allowing more engagement between the nations, Thomas pointed out.
Comment by the Information and Press Department on PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Russia (Комментарий Департамента информации и печати МИД России в связи с визитом в Российскую Федерацию Министра иностранных дел КНР Ван И) / Russia, May, 2017
Keywords: Russia_China, Official_visit, Ministry_of_Foreign_Affairs, UN, SCO, RIC, G20, APEC, EAS, EAEU, OBOR

On May 25-26, Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China Wang Yi will pay an official visit to Russia at the invitation of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

During their meeting on May 26, the ministers will focus on bilateral cooperation in international affairs, which is a crucial component of the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership. Moscow and Beijing are committed to a fair and democratic world order based on collective approaches, equality, and generally recognised norms and principles of international law.

Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi will also exchange views on a broad range of current global and regional issues, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan. Both countries are taking similar or identical approaches to the majority of international problems and intend to continue close coordination of their foreign policy steps.

The two ministers will discuss a schedule of meetings of the heads of state and contacts at a high political level.

Russia and China attach much importance to intensifying interaction in different multilateral formats, primarily at the UN, but also at the SCO, BRICS, RIC, G20, APEC and EAS. In this context, we proceed from the need to enhance the effectiveness of joint efforts to address global and regional challenges, including the fight against terrorism and facilitation of sustainable development of the world economy.

Russia is proactive in assisting the Chinese BRICS presidency. Both countries are working to ensure connectivity of the EAEU and OBOR (One Belt, One Road) projects.

Over the last few years Russian-Chinese relations concerning comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation have reached an unprecedented level. The ramified mechanism of interstate dialogue that covers practically all areas of collaboration is functioning smoothly. Intensive contacts at top and high level are providing powerful impetuses for the further development of relations.

In June 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin paid an official visit to the People's Republic of China. Last year the heads of state also conducted bilateral meetings during the summits of the SCO in Tashkent on June 23, the G20 on September 4 in Hangzhou, BRICS on October 15 in Goa, and APEC on November 19 in Lima. In November 2016, Premier of the Chinese State Council Li Keqiang made an official visit to Russia, during which the 21st regular meeting of the two prime ministers took place. During their talks at the ASEM summit in Ulaanbaatar on July 15, 2016 and on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Vientiane on September 8, 2016, Dmitry Medvedev and Li Keqiang compared notes on the key issues of trade and economic cooperation, coordination of the Silk Road Economic Belt project with the Eurasian Economic Union, and cooperation on major multilateral regional platforms in Asia.

The schedule of contacts for this year looks no less intense. Between May 14-15, President Putin took part as the chief guest at the One Belt, One Road high level international forum in Beijing, where he urged all participants to establish a large Eurasian economic space. He conducted separate meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier of the Chinese State Council Li Keqiang on the sidelines of this event.

On March 29 of this year, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin met the Vice Premier of the Chinese State Council Wang Yang at the The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue international forum. On April 12, the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Commission on Investment Cooperation was co-chaired in Moscow by Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and First Vice Premier of the Chinese State Council Zhang Gaoli. On April 18-20, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress Zhang Dejiang visited Moscow. A third session of the joint bilateral interparliamentary commission was held during his visit. He also met with Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko and State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin. On April 25-26, Head of the General Office of the Central Committee of China's Communist Party Li Zhanshu visited Russia. He conducted talks with Chief of Staff of the Russian Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino and was received by President Putin.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is expected to pay an official visit to China in the latter half of the year to take part in the 22nd regular meeting of the prime ministers of the two countries. It will be preceded by meetings of four large intergovernmental commissions at deputy prime minister level on cooperation in energy, investment and humanitarian sectors, as well as several dozen relevant subcommissions and working groups on preparing regular prime minister meetings. The two countries are planning to hold a regular round of bilateral consultations on strategic security, as well as cooperation in security, law and order, and justice.
Investment and finance in BRICS
India, Russia at Internal Approval Stage of Kundankulam Nuclear Plant (Индия, Россия на этапе внутреннего согласования на АЭС «Куданкулам») / India, May, 2017
Keywords: Russia_India, Russia_China_India, NSG, KNPP

Work on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russia for reactor units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) is at the stage of internal approval, a senior official said.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay, refuted claims that India was holding back the MoU to make Russia use its influence over China in order to enable India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). He also called the report "completely baseless, incorrect and mischievous".

At the NSG plenary in Seoul in June last year, China had blocked India's membership bid on the ground that for a country to be a member of the 48-nation bloc it has to be a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Given Baglay's statement, it is likely that the MoU for the reactor units 5 and 6 of KNPP, India's largest nuclear power plant, will be signed during the India-Russia bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on June 1.

All six units of the plant are scheduled to be built in collaboration between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Russian state company Atomstroyexport.

While reactor units 1 and 2 are already connected to the southern power grid, the ground-breaking ceremony for construction of units 3 and 4 was done in February last year.
Credit Downgrades May Prompt Stock Market Capital Shift (Снижение кредитного рейтинга может спровоцировать смещение капитала фондового рынка) / UK, May, 2017
Keywords: Trade, Moody's, SIII, HSI, Custom_BRICS_ Index

Recent news regarding Moody's credit downgrades in China will likely continue to roil the global markets and present multiple unique opportunities for strategic investors. As debt concerns grow throughout some areas of Asia and new US policy efforts shake up some common perceptions, a shift in capital is likely to occur over the next few months.

Today, I read about massive layoffs in India's technology sector as a reaction to decreasing engagement of foreign IT services/support is a result of President Trump's policies. When we take this news in combination with Moody's credit downgrades for China and the fact that almost all of South East Asia is interconnected in terms of economy and trade, we begin to see a picture that is fairly clear in terms of transitional economic shifts.

If India and a portion of South East Asia suffer a technology driven economic contraction as a result of US policy shifts, how can we evaluate the approximately $900+ billion economic shift that may be unfolding. As this unfolds, unemployment, consumer spending and growth rates will differ vastly from projected levels. A minor 2~3% decrease in business activity for the Asian technology sector may have massive results if it persists over a longer term period of time (say 3~7+ years). This is exactly why we, as investors, need to be aware of these economic shifts and be able to profit from these moves.

SIII (Indian Index)

The SIII has already rotated nearly 2% over the past two months from a near perfect Double-Top. The potential for a 10~20% market correction is rather strong knowing that massive layoffs in India will put further pressure on economic growth, consumer spending and economic outlook.

HSI (HangSeng Index)

The HSI is not showing signs of any market corrections yet. This is likely due to the fact that China is currently experiencing a technology/stock market bubble effect as a result of recent wealth creation. I would expect that any extended contraction in the bulk of South East Asia will also be seen and felt in China.

Custom BRICs Index

A custom BRICs Index shows a more defined price rotation and a clear series of lower high and lower low price trends. This would indicate that that the BRICs economies may have quite a large range of price volatility going forward with a potential for a 20~30% decline over the next few months.

US/EU Custom Index

As this potential economic shift plays out, I suspect the US and European market will see a dramatic influx of capital investment and renewed economic activity. This chart of a custom index of US and EU indexes clearly shows the strength of these markets in relation to the economic shift that has been transacting. It is clear to see that shortly after the US Presidential elections (Nov 8th, 2017), this index has shot up 15%+ and has begun to retest 2015 highs. Could this be a massive double top to form later this year? It's very possible.

Watch for this economic shift to continue to play out over the next 6~12+ months and watch for unique opportunities that will be presented by these moves. We alert our clients to these types of opportunities every day at and attempt to keep our members aware of strong trading signals using our proprietary Momentum Reversal Method trading system.


ERY 4.75%, in 2 Days

SLV 3.2%, in 6 Days

MOBL 15%, in 7 Days

FOLD 9.5% in 40 Days
BRICS helps accelerate global economic growth, Indian expert says (Индийский эксперт говорит, что БРИКС помогает ускорить мировой экономический рост) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: Expert_comment

The BRICS is a bond between the developing and developed countries which helps enhance connectivity and accelerate global economic growth, an Indian expert said here in a recent interview with Xinhua.

The BRICS is an important manifestation of multiplicity and multilateralism in the age of global interdependence, said B.R. Deepak, a professor at the Center for Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The expert made the comments nearly 100 days before the ninth annual BRICS summit to be held in Xiamen, China, from Sept. 3 to Sept. 5.

The BRICS summit brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that comprise its moniker, along with participants from across the globe. This year's event is themed "BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future."

The BRICS and its New Development Bank represent the aspirations of the largest developing economies to have their role in the international systems of governance, Deepak said.

The BRICS bank was set up with an initial authorized capital of 100 billion U.S. dollars after leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa signed the treaty for its establishment during the sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, in 2014. It officially opened in Shanghai in 2015.

According to the International Monetary Fund, BRICS and other developing countries contributed 80 percent of global growth in 2016.

The newly established institutions will increasingly become a bridge between the developing and developed countries, becoming instrumental in pushing global economic growth, and more importantly furthering South-South cooperation at various levels, the professor said.

Since these are necessarily important and positive outcomes of the BRICS, it has become important for China and India to strengthen and deepen the scope of such institutions, he added.

"In the long run, we would be able to think of a better regional connectivity, intra-regional connectivity which will pave a way for regional or trans-regional economic integration," he said.
Cultural exchanges are the pillar of bilateral and multilateral relations.

"It is the cultural capital of a country that has attraction and lays foundations of understanding between the people," Deepak said.
Despite various exchanges in the form of cultural festivals, media and film, as well as BRICS scholarship programs, there is huge potential to strengthen and broaden the scope of people-to-people exchanges between the BRICS nations, he said.

"More importantly, there is a need to institutionalize these mechanisms and establish even more mechanisms at various levels," he added.
Source: Xinhua

Commentary: Can China give new shine to BRICS of gold? (Комментарий: Может ли Китай дать новый блеск золоту БРИКС?) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: Xiamen_summit, NDB, OBOR_forum

BEIJING, May 26 (Xinhua) -- With just 100 days until the Ninth BRICS Summit in Xiamen in September, the world is keen to know if the summit can put a new shine on emerging markets and developing countries amid a sluggish global economic recovery and setbacks in globalization.

Under the theme "BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future," the summit will gather leaders from countries representing 40 percent of the world population and 25 percent of global GDP.

Coined by former Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill in 2001, the term "BRIC" refers to Brazil, Russia, India and China, four emerging markets with fast growth and great potential.

In 2006, foreign ministers from those countries met in New York, formally starting the BRIC grouping. South Africa joined the group in 2010, the acronym changing to BRICS.

It is fair to say that China has always pinned high hopes on BRICS for emerging markets with which it finds natural common ground.

While the English acronym is catchy, the Chinese translation -- four characters that bear the literal meaning "gold bricks countries" -- conveys confidence in the future.

That sense of confidence is backed by concrete growth.

Originating at the height of the global financial crisis, the group has managed to exceed even the bullish expectations of O'Neill.

Together, the five countries have contributed to more than half of global growth in the past ten years, and the inclusion of South Africa gave the group more political weight when speaking up for the emerging world on the international stage.

It has truly been a "golden decade."

But BRICS countries are not without problems, particularly as the world struggles to close a widening development gap while protectionism rears its ugly head.

While China and India are expected to see their economies expand by around 6.5 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively, this year, Russia, Brazil and South Africa, which depend heavily on resources, are still struggling to escape the mire of economic recession.

To help finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, China co-founded the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) in 2014 with its headquarters in Shanghai.

Fully operational in 2016, that year the bank approved loans involving financial assistance of over 1.5 billion U.S. dollars for projects in green and renewable energy, and transport.

Meanwhile, China does not only aim for development within BRICS, but for all nations, with its Belt and Road Initiative.

Named after the historic Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 to better connect countries along and beyond the ancient Silk Road and chart new territories for international cooperation.

Most countries along the Belt and Road are developing nations eager for better economic performance and regional economic integration.

By linking countries and regions that account for about 60 percent of the world's population and 30 percent its GDP, the initiative is a perfect example of China sharing its wisdom and solutions for global growth and governance.

As the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation concluded earlier this month, Xi promised the equivalent of 380 billion yuan in loans for infrastructure and development projects from Chinese policy banks, and 60 billion yuan in aid to developing countries and international organizations.

So far, the Belt and Road Initiative has received a warm welcome from BRICS countries.

With such inclusive platforms as the Belt and Road and NDB, China will no doubt help add glitter to the BRICS of gold, building a new platform for south-south cooperation.
BRICS: new approaches to economic integration (БРИКС: новые подходы к экономической интеграции) / Russia, May, 2017
Keywords: rating_agency, NDB, investments, Summit, Russia_China, BRICS+

Now that the integration processes in the West have stalled (Brexit, the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership), BRICS can come to the forefront in defining the global economic agenda and coordinating the international efforts to that end.

The process of global economic integration is clearly facing multiple challenges, including those related to non-economic factors. The world powers are struggling to give the global economy a new start, while regional players are looking for ways to effectively become part of these processes.

  • International tensions, the drop and subsequent volatility in energy prices, and structural economic imbalances in the developing countries have all led to an obvious slowdown in the intensity of economic interactions. Over the past 20 years, international trade has been growing at an average rate of over 7% per year. Yet, last year, the growth rate stood at a measly 1.3%, according to the WTO.
Against that backdrop, BRICS has the potential to relaunch the global economy by intensifying cooperation within the bloc.

  • Currently, the key to further development of BRICS lies in the building and fine-tuning of shared institutions, including a rating agency, an energy agency, and the New Development Bank (NDB). After a long period of approvals and alignments, the NDB started working last year and has since become an important alternative to the Western development institutions, such as the IMF. In 2016, the NDB approved financing for seven projects for a total of USD 1.5 billion, while for this year it has planned investments at USD 2.5 billion, with the NDB projects being implemented across all BRICS countries. The NDB's current investment focus is renewable energy. For example, in Russia the bank has provided USD 100 million worth of financing for construction of small 50 MW hydropower plants in Karelia, whereas in China it has released USD 81 million to finance a solar power project in Shanghai.
  • At the 2016 BRICS summit in Goa the member-states reaffirmed their commitment to expedite customs procedures within the bloc, while continuing collaboration at the level of dedicated ministries and agencies. Overall, there are over 30 formats of cooperation on economic and other matters.
  • Russia also seeks to increase the volume of mutual investments within the BRICS group. The oil and gas industry is one of the most obvious choices here, which is of particular significance to Russia given the Western sanctions directed against it. Last year, the Chinese and Indian companies joined several Russian oil and gas development projects. Rosneft and its partners, in their turn, purchased India's refiner Essar Oil. A resolution adopted by the Russian Government last year to issue federal loan bonds (OFZ) in the currencies of BRICS comes as a sign of particular importance Russia attaches to the BRICS association. This decision gives Russia an opportunity to tap into an alternative source of funding to circumvent the financial limitations imposed by the Western sanctions.
Russia and China are now playing the key role in further strengthening and development of the BRICS club.

  • Early in 2017, China suggested bringing other countries into the discussion of relevant matters within BRICS. Beijing proposes to set up new groupings (BRICS+ and BRICS++) inviting the countries from the economic integration associations that the BRICS member states are part of (e.g. the EAEU or Mercosur).
  • Russia stays the course on bolstering up BRICS, which became especially evident during its presidency of the club in 2015–2016. In 2015, Russia was the driving force behind the development and approval of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership. On top of that, Russia drafted the BRICS Roadmap for Trade, Economic and Investment Cooperation until 2020. These two documents were used as a platform to launch five new workstreams, including e-commerce, development of a one-stop shop framework, intellectual property cooperation, promotion of trade, and SME.
UNIDO event supports e-commerce business-to-business cooperation in BRICS (Мероприятие ЮНИДО поддерживает сотрудничество в области электронной торговли между деловыми кругами в странах BRICS) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: UNIDO, China_Russia, e-commerce, CCPIT

MOSCOW, 22 May 2017 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and its partners today held a BRICS business-to-business (B2B) workshop to foster the development of e-commerce in Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).

The matchmaking workshop for Chinese and Russian cross-border e-commerce enterprises brought together 60 entrepreneurs and experts from China and more than 200 from the Russian Federation. The delegates had an exchange about the challenges faced by e-commerce companies and their success stories. The workshop also included a B2B e-commerce practical matchmaking exercise on developing partnerships.

CHEN Zhou, the Vice Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), spoke about the cooperation between Chinese and Russian cross-border e-commerce companies. He put forward three suggestions: to establish a China and Russia cross-border e-commerce platform for trade and services, to set up a full-service system for cross-border e-commerce, and to actively promote inter-governmental policy coordination.

Vladimir Padalko, the Vice President of the Chamber of the Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, expressed his support for the B2B e-commerce matchmaking exercise in Moscow. He indicated that it will improve the e-commerce cooperation between Russian and China.

Viktor Evtukhov, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, expressed his thanks to all the organizers, and also mentioned that e-commerce exports from Russia to China are mostly agricultural products.

Petr Fradkov, the CEO of the Russian Export Centre, stated that there is a lot of potential for Russian e-commerce market, and noted that a large number of companies have registered in Alibaba's T-mall.

Furthermore, Zhigang WANG, the chief expert from Sinopec, introduced its EPEC e-commerce platform for industrial products from China. He mentioned that the EPEC was established in April 2015. Rapid development over the last two years has seen 35,000 companies registering with more than 1.8 million products, and the online trading volume has reached US$15bn.

This workshop is part of UNIDO's interregional project titled, "Promoting the development and cooperation of SMEs between China and other BRICS countries through e-commerce development". This initiative aims to develop a mechanism to strengthen cooperation between SMEs in BRICS.

The event was held under the umbrella of the 16th World Business Leaders' Roundtable special session. UNIDO organized it jointly with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation and the Russian Export Center (REC).

The workshop helped to finalize a report about a joint study on the e-commerce development in BRICS countries. Participants reiterated their support for the establishment of BRICS E-commerce Alliance.

On the margins of the event, WANG Genxiang, Director of the UN Project Office at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), signed a cooperation agreement with the UNIDO Industrial Cooperation Centre in the Russian Federation, and with the Congress of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (ICIE) to expand their existing partnership for global innovation.

UNIDO and the BRICS countries have been successfully cooperating on a number of initiatives, including 12 ongoing projects. These include initiatives to build national capacity in developing environment programmes in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), promote the development of industrial statistics in the CIS, strengthen automotive clusters and establish an agro-industrial park in Belarus, as well as to implement a technological and enterprise upgrading programme for the agro-chemical and agriculture machinery production sector in Cuba.
Why no lift-off for Africa's branch of the BRICS bank? (Почему не запускают филиал банка БРИКС в Африке?) / South Africa, May, 2017
Keywords: NDB, ARC, India_China, investments
South Africa

Nearly two years down the line, it remains uncertain whether the bank can fulfil its ambitious goals.

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) would open its Africa Regional Centre (ARC) in Johannesburg in March 2016, South Africa's then finance minister Pravin Gordhan confidently announced in February that year. 'This initiative gives impetus to our role as a financial centre for Africa, and will facilitate access to global finance by African investors and institutions,' he said in his national budget speech.

But a lot has flowed under the bridge since then, not least Gordhan himself. President Jacob Zuma flushed him out of the cabinet in March this year because – many South Africans believe – Gordhan was preventing Zuma's business cronies from getting their paws on the Treasury. Now they have.

Meanwhile another BRICS member, Brazil, has also plunged further into political and economic turmoil, with President Dilma Rousseff impeached for manipulating the national budget, and pressure growing on her successor Michel Temer to resign for corruption.

And old tensions have flared between two other BRICS members, China and India, in part because of an ambitious joint venture between Beijing and India's arch-enemy Pakistan to build a transport and developmental corridor through Kashmir, which India and Pakistan are hotly contesting.

Economically the BRICS members are not doing as well as they were when the NDB was launched in July 2015. And 14 months after Gordhan said it would be up and running, the African branch of the NDB has not yet been established.

Whether this has anything to do with the overall tensions and economic woes in BRICS and Gordhan's abrupt departure from the Treasury is hard to say. The ARC had already been caught in the crossfire of Zuma's vicious fight with the Treasury – the gatekeepers to the fiscus.

In December 2015 Zuma fired previous finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, apparently also because he was blocking Zuma's efforts to allow his business cronies, the Gupta family, to get hold of state funds. And he was refusing to sign off on Zuma's R1 trillion pet project to build 9 600 MW of nuclear power production.

Zuma announced then that Nene had not been fired, but merely transferred to head the ARC. This looked like a smokescreen as Nene showed no signs of interest in the ARC job, and instead went off into the private sector.

Some BRICS-watchers suggest that the delay in setting up the ARC may be connected to NDB president Kundapur Vaman Kamath's imminent departure from his position. Bank officials insist though that the delay is just the result of normal teething problems. They say the Shanghai-based NDB itself was only set up in July 2015 and that its priority has been to get up and running before turning attention to the ARC.

They say offices for the ARC have already been chosen in Sandton – the plush commercial hub just north of the Johannesburg city centre – and interviews are being held with applicants for the CEO job. No suitable candidate emerged from the first round of applications and so a second round was opened.

But when the ARC is eventually established, what will it do?

Pretoria has touted its membership of BRICS to its fellow Africans – rather envious of its flirting with the big boys' club – as a sort of conduit for the vast financial resources of the other BRICS members (notably China) to flow into the continent. That was evident when South Africa hosted the annual BRICS summit in 2013 and invited several African leaders along to meet the other BRICS leaders and to present their investment needs, mainly in infrastructure.

And Gordhan suggested the same in his 2016 budget speech, quoted above. The idea was for the ARC to finance big regional projects like the elusive Grand Inga hydroelectric power plant on the Congo River, intended eventually to produce some 40 000 MW of power.

But BRICS officials have made it clear that for now the NDB will only be investing in its five member countries, who have each committed $10 billion to capitalise it. So far it has announced financing for seven projects, totalling almost $1.6 billion – two each in China and India, and one each in South Africa, Brazil and Russia. Six of them are for renewable energy and the seventh for roads in India.

At some point in the future, the NDB plans to invite membership – and capital input – from other countries. If African countries want to join, they will become eligible for loans too. South African officials say Pretoria is still discussing with the NDB how the rules might be adapted to finance multinational projects like Inga.

In the meantime the ARC – the first of what are eventually supposed to be regional offices in all five member countries – will merely service South Africa, not the whole continent.

The African branch of the BRICS bank will service SA for now, not the whole continent

Many suspect that the other BRICS members only agreed to establish the ARC as a sop to South Africa, which had aspired to host the headquarters of the NDB itself. The first NDB loan to South Africa was $180 million to the national power utility Eskom to finance transmission lines to connect private renewable energy plants to the national grid.

The NDB's preoccupation with renewable energy, and in particular this loan to Eskom, are a shade ironic, coming at a time when Eskom boss Brian Molefe had stifled the burgeoning renewable energy industry by announcing he would buy no more power from it.

Energy experts in South Africa believe the NDB is not happy with Eskom because it has earmarked a large chunk of the $180 million loan for projects not related to renewable energy.

The highly controversial Molefe's indifference to renewable energy suggested to many that he had already signed up to Zuma's dubious nuclear project. This has aroused great suspicion in South Africa that Zuma has already promised the construction contract to Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though it is officially still open to tenders from China, South Korea, the US and France.

Whether the NDB – including the ARC – will eventually fulfil the ambitious goals Gordhan articulated in his budget speech is uncertain.

Member states present BRICS as an alternative to what they regard as the West-dominated international finance architecture. The NDB is their answer to the World Bank and they are also setting up a currency-swop agency to bypass the International Monetary Fund – and the US dollar – and their own credit rating agency.

But some analysts fear that they have bitten off more than they can chew.

The damage to BRICS's reputation caused by the current, converging 'corruption scandals, political turmoils and economic irresponsibility' of many of its member countries made it unlikely that its institutions – including the NDB – would ever gain investors' trust. This ended up 'rendering them redundant', Misheck Mutize and Sean Gossel of UCT's Graduate School of Business wrote in Johannesburg's Business Day this week.

That seems like an overly gloomy forecast. But it is true that just four – though admittedly large – economies plus tiny South Africa don't have quite the same collective resilience to economic shocks as the existing global financial institutions with their much larger membership.

Perhaps the BRICS members should open up the NDB to other shareholders sooner rather than later.
Social policy, trade unions, actions
9th BRICS Academic Forum will be Held in Fuzhou (В Фучжоу пройдет 9-й академический форум БРИКС) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: Ninth_BRICS_Academic_Forum, BTTC_meeting

Ninth BRICS Academic Forum and BTTC meeting will be held during June 10-13 in Fuzhou, capital city of Fujian Province.

The theme of the forum is "Pooling Wisdom and New Ideas for Cooperation".

The subtheme would cover BRICS cooperation in the area of Finance, Trade, Global Governance, People to People Exchanges, Sustainable Development, Innovation, BRICS Mechanism Building and Deepening Partnership.
Xiamen prepares for BRICS Summit (Сямэнь готовится к саммиту БРИКС) / China, May, 2017
Keywords: Xiamen_summit
Author: Qin Jize, Fujian, Xu Wei

Xiamen, Fujian province, is ready to host the ninth BRICS Summit in September, the Party's top official in the city announced on Monday.

China holds the rotating chair of the emerging market bloc this year.

Pei Jinjia, Party chief of Xiamen, said the city will be able to provide a safe and comfortable venue for the summit of BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The summit will be held in the coastal city from Sept 3 to Sept 5. It is the second BRICS summit to be held in China. The previous one was held in Sanya, Hainan province, in 2011.

In letters to the leaders of other BRICS countries on Jan 1, President Xi Jinping said China looks forward to working with other member countries to develop a consensus and chart a blueprint for cooperation with a theme of "deepening the BRICS partnership and opening up a brighter future".

"There are more than 100 days until the summit. We will continue to push forward the preparatory work comprehensively and in an orderly manner," Pei, who is also deputy secretary-general of a preparatory committee, told a media briefing.

As a popular tourist destination, Xiamen has a developed infrastructure, especially in terms of hotels and exhibition halls, he said.

The city government will beef up the training of volunteers and strengthen security over the next three months, he added.

The city will also provide services to reporters covering the summit, and has already set up a 15,000-square-meter press center.

Hosting the event will be in line with the official frugality campaign, as it will utilize existing exhibition halls and hotels, Pei said.

The hosts will use materials that are environmentally friendly and recyclable to decorate the exhibition halls, he added.

Authorities will try to avoid disturbing residents' lives during the three-day summit, he said. The city will not shut down factories or offer holidays to residents.

"There will be no traffic restrictions or road closures, except for important sections and key time periods," he said.

Xiamen, a tourist resort on the southeast coast of China, is known for its mild climate and beautiful scenery. It is one of the four international shipping centers in China.
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