Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum

Monitoring of the economic, social and labor situation in the BRICS countries
Issue 16.2022
2022.04.18 — 2022.04.24
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Western plan to severely isolate Russia fail (План Запада жестко изолировать Россию провалился) / Russia, April, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues, economic_challenges

Lucas Leiroz, researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.

The Western world has tried to "isolate" and "cancel" Russia, but apparently this plan has failed and Moscow remains absolutely integrated with its major trading and strategic partners. China and India remain willing to cooperate with Russia widely, increasing current levels of bilateral trade. This demonstrates how the current situation in Eastern Europe cannot be resolved by coercive means.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs pledged April 19 that it will strengthen cooperation with Russia, no matter what happens in the international scenario. The message comes in an official statement from the foreign ministry following a meeting held the day before between Chinese deputy MOFA Le Yucheng and Russian ambassador to Beijing Andrey Denisov. The document says:

"No matter how the international situation changes, China will, as always, strengthen strategic coordination with Russia to achieve win-win cooperation, jointly safeguard the common interests of both sides, and promote the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind (...) In the first quarter of this year, the bilateral trade volume between China and Russia reached 38.2 billion US dollars, an increase of nearly 30%, [which] fully demonstrates the great resilience… of cooperation between the two countries".

Later, commenting on the statement, Ambassador Denisov stated: "Russia always regards developing relations with China as its diplomatic priority and is ready to further deepen bilateral comprehensive strategic coordination and all-round practical cooperation in the direction set by the two heads of state (…) [Further efforts to strengthen Russia-China ties] will continuously benefit the two peoples."

Although it is a well-known fact that bilateral relations between Moscow and Beijing have improved substantially in recent years, forming an important axis of economic and diplomatic cooperation, the current message is of enormous importance, as it works as a response to recent US pressure against China. Last month, US President Joe Biden called his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and during an hour-long conversation "warned" about the possible "consequences" that would be suffered by Beijing if there was not an immediate end to its economic support for Russia.

Naturally, Xi ignored Biden's threats and the Chinese foreign ministry maintained its stance of absolute neutrality on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Not mixing political and economic issues is a key point of the Chinese foreign policy tradition and this is exactly what is being applied now. Beijing refuses to maintain positions on any political event outside its strategic environment, which is why it keeps the Russian military operation off the agenda in Beijing-Moscow bilateral relations, continuing to have projects to improve cooperation, independently of such extra-economic issues.

However, it is not only the Chinese who show interest in cooperating with the Russians, ignoring the Western attempts of "cancellation". Apparently, India is about to announce its highest ever level of trade cooperation with Russia in oil. According to reliable sources quoted by the Economic Times on April 19, state-owned companies in New Delhi are planning to buy as much Russian oil as possible in the short term, considering the expected availability and low prices of the commodity.

The Indian attitude sounds absolutely pragmatic and not ideological: faced with the conflict scenario, Indians seek to benefit from the availability of Russian oil, which arises as a consequence of the sanctions applied by the West to prevent the oil from entering the European market. With large quantities available and prices dropping, it is in India's interest to acquire as many Russian barrels as possible and this is what is about to be done.

Obviously, this was not what the West expected from the Indians. The US has always tried to make its military partnership with India - focused on creating an "anti-China axis" - a kind of hierarchical relationship, in which Indians would automatically obey and align themselves with every decision taken by the Americans. However, despite the pressure in this direction and the constant US threats to cut ties with New Delhi, India remains convinced of defending its interests above all, making it clear that it will continue to cooperate with Russia in terms of both military trade and energy partnership.

It is impossible to look at such news and continue to believe the Western media narrative that "Russia is isolated". Moscow has lost a part of world trade and even then, not completely, as Western countries have not yet managed to fully break off relations with Russia. On the other hand, it has not only preserved most of the global consumer market in emerging nations but has also boosted its ties with China and India, which indicates great economic support and, even more, the emergence of new intra-BRICS cooperation opportunities.

What all this means is simple to understand: the special military operation in Ukraine will not end through economic pressures, coercive measures and attempts at "cancellation", but through the Ukrainian willingness to accept the peace terms, which are (as Russia insists) political and military neutrality and recognition of the sovereign republics of Donbass and Russian Crimea. As long as the Ukrainian government is unwilling to do so, Russia seems to continue the operation and have sufficient economic strength to maintain it.

Syria participates in a joint symposium for BRICS group in Moscow (Сирия участвует в совместном симпозиуме группы БРИКС в Москве) / Syria, April, 2022
Keywords: top_level_meeting

Moscow, SANA- With participation of Syria, representatives of the BRICS group which includes (Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa) and the Commonwealth of Independent States held a joint scientific symposium, entitled "State sovereignty and cooperation as a measure in a multipolar world" in Moscow on Tuesday.

Syria's Ambassador in Moscow Riad Haddad said that the United States has exploited the unipolar to attack the sovereignty of countries, steal peoples' fortunes, and destroy the countries that refused to submit to their hegemony as the best example of this is what happens in Syria when the United States and its allies decided to attack the country and destroy its infrastructure to establish domination over our region and the world.

Ambassador Haddad added that Syria is certain that what is happening today in Ukraine and what happened before it in Syria in terms of defeating Takfiri terrorism and defeating the American plan are the countdown minutes towards the end of the age of American hegemony and the polar world.

In turn, Larissa Zelentsova, President at International Alliance of BRICS Strategic Projects, said that BRICS countries and the Commonwealth of Independent States have to move to a new level of relations based on a multipolar system through focusing on science, modern technologies and innovations to be practiced on the ground as an essential tool for development and sustainable development.

Russia's Pivot to China – Geopolitics, Trade, and Development in the Wake of the Ukraine Conflict (Поворот России к Китаю: геополитика, торговля и развитие после украинского конфликта) / China, April, 2022
Keywords: political_issues

China's relations with Russia have changed in recent weeks due to the conflict in Ukraine. But much of what has occurred has also been the result of apparent planning between the two countries. There are strong trade, geopolitical and supply chain ties between Beijing and Moscow, with both tied together by energy demands and a deep mistrust of Washington. In this article, Chris Devonshire-Ellis, founder and Chairman of one of China's most successful consulting businesses, and a Visiting Professor at the St. Petersburg School of Higher Economics, gives his unique and insightful view as to the real situation between these two trade giants – and what the future is likely to bring.

This article has been extracted from the current issue of Asia Investment Research, titled 'Russia's Pivot To Asia' which contains chapters on all Asian economies and the impact of the Ukraine conflict. Copies may be obtained on a pay-what-you-want basis here.

Proceeds are being donated to Ukrainian children's charities.


China and Russia have grown increasingly close in recent years, including as trading partners, in a relationship that brings both opportunities and risks as Russia reels from tough new sanctions led by the West in response to its invasion of Ukraine. Total trade between China and Russia jumped 35.9% in 2021 last year to a record US$147.9 billion, according to Chinese customs data, with Russia serving as a major source of oil, gas, coal and agriculture commodities, and running a trade surplus with China.

Since sanctions were imposed in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea, bilateral trade has expanded by more than 50% and China has become Russia's biggest export destination The two were aiming to boost total trade to US$200 billion by 2024, but according to a new target unveiled last month during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Beijing for the Winter Olympics, the two sides want bilateral trade to grow to US$250 billion. It should be noted that the two men enjoy close personal relations, as evidenced at meetings and anecdotes the pair shared with the floor at the 2018 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, with tales of Putin serenading Xi Jinping at the piano during private gatherings at Putin's Dacha in Moscow.

The relationship goes deeper than pure business and has manifested itself in an understanding of global geopolitics and especially a growing distrust of the United States. Shared experiences of sanctions and tariff wars with Washington has resulted in collaboration and planning to offset anticipated US actions. As sanctions against Russia mount, China could offset some of its neighbor's pain by buying more but would also be wary of running foul itself of potential sanctions.

Here we highlight key areas of trade cooperation between China and Russia as follows:


Exports of Russian oil and gas to China have steadily increased. Russia is China's second-biggest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia, with volumes averaging 1.59 million barrels per day last year, or 15.5% of Chinese imports. About 40% of supplies flow via the 4,070-km (2,540-mile) East Siberia Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline that was financed by US$50 billion in Chinese loans. Russia is also Beijing's No. 3 gas supplier, exporting 16.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of the fuel to China in 2021, meeting about 5% of Chinese demand.

Supplies via the Power of Siberia pipeline, which is not connected to the network of westbound Russian gas pipelines, began in late 2019 and are due to rise to 38 bcm a year by 2025, up from 10.5 bcm in 2021, under a 30-year contract worth more than US$400 billion. Russia aims to build a second gas pipeline, Power of Siberia 2, with capacity for 50 bcm a year to run via Mongolia to China. Russia was also China's No. 2 coal supplier in 2021.

In February this year, Putin unveiled new Russian oil and gas deals with China worth an estimated US$117.5 billion. These additional figures are significant in understanding the effectiveness of Western sanctions upon Russia. Russia's bilateral trade with the European Union is 2021 was Euros 247.8 billion, with Russian exports worth Euros 158 billion. Of that, about Euros 110 billion was in oil and gas, leaving Euros 48 billion in other trade such as autos, machinery and so on. That can be swallowed up within two years assuming the China-Russian revised trade figures to US$250 billion are realized by 2024 – as is the stated intent

Russia already sends gas to China via its Power of Siberia pipeline, which began pumping supplies in 2019, and by shipping LNG. It exported 16.5 billion bcm of gas to China in 2021. The Power of Siberia network is not connected to pipelines that send gas to Europe, which has faced surging gas prices due to tight supplies, one of several points of tension with Moscow. Under plans previously drawn up, Russia aims to supply China with 38 bcm of gas by pipeline by 2025.

Separately, Rosneft, headed by longstanding Putin ally Igor Sechin, signed a deal with China's CNPC to supply 100 million tonnes of oil through Kazakhstan over 10 years, effectively extending an existing deal. Rosneft said the new deal was worth US$80 billion.

The agreements boosted the ruble and the Russian stock market, including shares in Rosneft and Gazprom. It is significant that after the Moscow Stock Exchange was suspended for three weeks after Russian military rolled into Ukraine and Western sanctions were imposed on the first day on reopening on March 21, Russian stocks rose by 11% in early trading before settling down to daily gains of 4.4%. The ruble meanwhile has rebounded in value to pre-Ukraine conflict levels – precisely the opposite of what was expected to happen in the West.

However, the new deal with Beijing does not impact on Russian gas supplies that were otherwise bound for Europe, as the Rosneft deal involves gas piped from the Pacific island of Sakhalin and is not connected to Russia's European pipeline network. Gazprom said in a statement it planned to increase gas exports to China to 48 bcm per year, including via a newly agreed pipeline that will deliver 10 bcm annually from Russia's Far East. Under previous plans, Russia aimed to supply China with 38 bcm by 2025. The announcement did not specify when it would reach the new 48 bcm target.

Gazprom already produces more than 10 million tonnes of LNG / year in Sakhalin. That raises the possibility that should the political situation later change, Russia could once again supply gas to the EU. We suspect demand for cheaper prices in Europe will eventually put this proposal back on the negotiating table despite US attempts to prevent it. It should be noted however that there may be a limit to China's patience concerning the Ukraine conflict, which is disabling part of its own supply chains and interfering with the preferred Chinese modus operandi of 'sustainable development.' To illustrate growing discontent, on March 25, Sinopec canceled a proposed US$500 million investment with Russia's Sibur, its largest petrochemical producer for a 40% stake in a facility in East Siberia. Putin will have noticed.

Other Commodities

In 2019, China allowed the import of soybeans from all regions of Russia, (it had previously been restricted to just a few) and the two countries signed a deal to deepen cooperation in soybean supply chains, which saw more Chinese firms growing the crop in Russia. Soybean exports to China stood at 543,058 tonnes last year and are expected to reach 3.7 million tonnes by 2024.In 2021, China approved beef imports from Russia, while in March this year, Beijing allowed imports of wheat from all regions of Russia, removing previous restrictions. Other food exports from Russia to China include fish, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, poultry, wheat flour and chocolate. China is also a huge buyer of timber from Russia's Far East, with imports of timber and related products worth US$4.1 billion last year. In the other direction, China sells mechanical products, machinery and transport equipment, mobile phones, cars, and consumer products to Russia. Chinese exports to Russia stood at US$67.6 billion last year, up 34% with this likely to be a growth market as Russia replaces previously EU sourced products with those from China and Asia.

There are yet to be implemented trade agreements that could be fast tracked to speed Russia-China bilateral trade faster and further. Beijing signed an as yet non-preferential (ie: no tariff cuts) Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in 2018, as and when tariff cuts can be agreed, the impact of China-Russian free trade would be enormous. Other EAEU members include Armenia, Belarus (itself under severe Western sanctions), Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Investment/Chinese Financing

Western sanctions have forced Russia to look towards China for investment opportunities in recent years, and Chinese state banks have helped Russia finance everything from infrastructure to oil and gas projects under China's Belt and Road Initiative. Russia is by far Beijing's largest recipient of state sector financing, securing 107 loans and export credits worth US$125 billion from Chinese state institutions between 2000 and 2017 (source: College of William and Mary's AidData).

China and Russia began using their own currencies to settle bilateral trade in 2010 and opened their first currency swap line in 2014, which they renewed in 2020 for 150 billion yuan over three years. RMB Yuan settlements accounted for 28% of Chinese exports to Russia in the first half of 2021, compared with just 2% in 2013, as both countries seek to ease reliance on the dollar while developing their own respective cross-border payment systems. Chinese currency accounted for 13.1% of the Russian central bank's foreign currency reserves in June 2021, compared with just 0.1% in June 2017, with Moscow's US dollar holdings dropping to 16.4% from 46.3% in the same period. Russia now carries no dollar reserves in its sovereign wealth fund – yet has the world's largest reserves of gold. Just last week at the BRICS annual ministerial meeting, calls were once again made to phase out intra-BRICS trade in US dollars and use respective currencies instead. If adopted, it would be significant – BRICS trade accounted for 15% of all global trade in 2020 and is projected to rise to 50% by 2030.

It is becoming increasingly significant that the US dollar has lost 80% of its value against gold over the past 20 years; with China and Russia looking to further de-dollarize, the greenback could come under increasing pressure over the coming years.

Hong Kong

At the end of 2020, Hong Kong was the third most popular destination in Asia for Russian investment, behind Singapore and Thailand, with a total FDI stock of US$364 million. Hong Kong and Russia signed a Double Tax Treaty in 2017, which has the effect of reducing withholding and other trade taxes and sought to establish Hong Kong as a services base for Russian businesses accessing the mainland China and other nearby ASEAN markets.

At the end of 2020, Hong Kong was the third largest Asian investor in Russia, behind Singapore and South Korea, with a total FDI stock of US$2.5 billion, helped in part by the Russia-Hong Kong Double Tax Agreement. However, the value of FDI inward stock in Russia fluctuated during this period from approximately US$471.5 billion in 2013 to US$449 billion in 2020, with the decline due to sanctions placed on the country in 2014 due to the annexation of Crimea.

Russian businesses also began to experience difficulties in establishing bank accounts in both mainland China and Hong Kong due to concerns that the United States would punish banks that did so, the emphasis being placed on a 'safety first' protocol of non-engagement. Due to the severity of 2022 sanctions, that viewpoint may have weakened with new routes to operational financing instead now being considered.

In 2020, Russia was Hong Kong's 21st largest trading partner worldwide (accounting for 0.5% of the city's total trade) and its largest in CEE. Russia was Hong Kong's 18th largest export market worldwide (with 0.7% of the city's total exports) and its largest in CEE (35%) mostly IT/tech, while Russia was Hong Kong's 27th largest import market worldwide (with 0.2% of the city's total imports) and its largest in CEE (43%) – mostly energy.

However, with Chinese and Hong Kong banks still wary of US sanctions, we see that it is Dubai that is likely to become the new Asian investment hub for facilitating Russian capital into the Gulf, Central, South and Southeast Asia.


China has been consistent in its support for Russia, if not the conflict in Ukraine. Beijing can be expected to be relieved when the situation is finally resolved. Moscow too has stated an end is in sight. Assuming this to be correct (and this still may take up much of 2022) there remains no doubt that supply chains to and from China and Europe will have dramatically changed. This means that countries such as Iran now have an increasing strategic importance as new, more southerly supply chains begin to emerge. Iran's Minister of Urban Development stated this week that numerous Asian countries, including China were in discussions to work out new routes and the required infrastructure development.

In terms of Russia, it remains unclear and in part, unconvincing the impact on the Russian economy the massive amount of sanctions imposed upon the country will have. President Putin this week announced an additional US$18 billion of financing to accelerate Northern Sea Passage and Arctic railway connectivity. Russia certainly has the funding, even if the West pushes it to a sovereign default on debt, this is an artificial construct and doesn't mean the country is bankrupt.

What has changed of course is that the West – meaning primarily the EU, as American trade volumes are small – have effectively closed off their markets to Russia. Reactions amongst Russian consumers were swift, with supermodels destroying their Chanel handbags along with other anti-European shows of consumer petulance. This means that up-market and other Asian brands have a distinct marketing opportunity. The luxury goods market in Russia was worth US$2.5 billion in 2021.

That means that China-Russia trade and development can be expected to continue, and as Foreign Ministers Wang Yi and Sergey Lavrov stated a weeks ago, 'as normal'. The inability for Russia to purchase Western commodities – some projected as 'vital' by the West – is however unlikely to be long-lasting. It will source replacement products both in terms of critical industrial supplies as well as consumer goods – from elsewhere. Some Russian analysts suggest this could occur within 2-3 years, while others are more pessimistic. It is hard to predict – but it is true that the longer time passes, the less effective todays sanctions will be. It also means that trade and project partnering will change.

That also means more joint venture partnering – with some Chinese (or China funded) strategic businesses for example in energy, picking up Russia projects abandoned by the likes of Shell, Total and other Western energy firms. China can also be expected to take out development leases on large tracts of Russian land, and especially in the Russian Far East, not least to compensate for the inconvenience caused to it by the Ukraine conflict. Russia has a lot of land and resources to offer, a point perhaps not fully appreciated by Western sanctions analysts.

Other Sino-Russia JV projects will become more common – and especially in Central Asia. Afghanistan needs rebuilding, while both China and Russia recently signed off respective 25-year and 20-year agreements with Iran to help reconstruct long-depreciated infrastructure. Both are rebuilding and developing Iran's national airport and aviation infrastructure.

It remains hard to see how Washington can prevent this, even if it wants too. The United States economy isn't great right now (partially as a result of the sanctions imposed on Russia) with US inflation at 8.5%, the highest since 1981, and the EU rate at 6%, the highest for 40 years. The United States has tried to wean itself off Chinese imports and to some extent partially succeeded in doing so with the 2018 Tariff Wars, which merely shifted some production to other markets, mainly in ASEAN. But the longer term effect has been minimal, in 2021, American imports from China were higher than before the US imposed tariffs.

Meanwhile, China and Russia both want the same thing and know there will be struggles in getting it. They want to see the United States lose its monopoly over the use of the US dollar and the SWIFT banking network as sanctions weapons. They want to see a fairer system of global trade and the regulatory systems put in place to ensure this cannot be manipulated in favor of one country. They both want a larger say in global affairs and both want a better rules-based order in position. (To see what is meant by that, this article explains the loss of due process in the West). To some extent, Russia and China – and there are plenty of countries that could fall into position behind them – are involved in a global, geopolitical battle for a better-balanced world. The Ukraine conflict is sadly, a symptom of a rather larger picture that both Beijing and Moscow seem determined to act out. Unless even more serious conflicts emerge (I do not see an invasion of Taiwan on the cards) then the China and Russia 'strategic relationship' will stay the course. The interesting part will be to see who chooses to align themselves with them.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis, founder and Chairman of one of China's most successful consulting businesses, and a Visiting Professor at the St. Petersburg School of Higher Economics.

Asia Investment Research / China Briefing

The views in the article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of InfoBRICS.

Ukraine crisis calls for peace efforts, and a new global mechanism (Украинский кризис требует мирных усилий и нового глобального механизма) / China, April, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues

As Winston Churchill was working to help establish the United Nations after the end of World War II, he famously said:"Never let a good crisis go to waste."

The same applies today, and we should not let the Ukrainian tragedy go to waste. After almost two months of conflict, and the deaths of thousands of people and destruction of many cities, it appears that there will be no winners, only losers, not just for Ukraine and Russia, but also for the international community. Major world powers, so far, have been unable, or are unwilling, to stop the conflict or mediate successfully.

The UN resolution adopted on March 2 requesting Russia to stop its offensive and immediately withdraw all troops from Ukraine saw 141 states vote in favor of the motion, five against and 35 abstentions. Most observers in the Western world considered it an overwhelming condemnation of Russia by the international community.

But one can see the glass half empty or half full. There is another way of reading the UN resolution, stressing that countries representing about 55 percent of the world population haven't supported the resolution; also that four out of the five BRICS countries either abstained or voted against the resolution, only South Africa voted in favor.

The Ukraine-Russia conflict, and the sanctions against Moscow are hitting economies around the globe, with emerging market and developing countries in the European and Central Asian region expected to bear the brunt, says the World Bank's latest Economic Update.

The region's economy is now forecast to shrink by 4.1 percent this year, in stark contrast to the pre-conflict forecast of 3 percent growth, as the economic shocks from the conflict compound the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As for Ukraine, its economy is estimated to shrink by a whopping 45.1 percent this year, although the magnitude of the contraction will depend on the duration and intensity of the conflict.

Hit by unprecedented sanctions, Russia's economy has already plunged into a deep recession with output projected to contract by 11.2 percent in 2022.

After two years of the COVID-19 crisis wreaking havoc across the world, the conflict in Ukraine will cause even more harm to the global economy. Not to mention the human tragedy it has caused. So it is in no one's interest, definitely not China's, to let the conflict go on. More than seven decades after the end of World War II, the world is at a crossroad again.

Either we let the Ukraine crisis continue and escalate with the risk of it spreading further, or all world powers-not just Western countries-decide to mediate and play an active role in stopping the conflict on reasonable terms, acceptable to both Ukraine and Russia.

In that respect, China can play a very important role. A united initiative is needed by the leaders of the other BRICS countries plus Turkey, as well as European leaders to seek an end to the conflict immediately. A sort of peer-to-peer pressure for the benefit of world peace and development.

The time has come for "a new Bretton Woods moment". The UN Monetary and Financial Conference held in July 1944 led to what came to be called the Bretton Woods system for international commercial and financial relations after the end of World War II.

By brokering such an agreement again, BRICS would demonstrate its capacity to play the role of a peacemaker on the global stage and pave the way toward the remaking of the global compact that should unite all countries in the 21st century.

Under the auspices of "G13" (G7 plus BRICS plus Turkey), this would lead to the long due conversation on the reform of the international order with the purpose of finding common ground to build a just, stable, peaceful and prosperous world, a community with a shared future.

The author is the CEO of Connecters for Peace, a Paris-based think tank.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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What Could Take BRICS Forward? (Что могло бы продвинуть БРИКС вперед?) / Russia, April, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion

The dialectics of any association's progressive evolution entails periods of growth, agenda expansion, predominance of centripetal forces, crisis passing, when it is essential to review goals and objectives and synchronize views. In the last few years, nearly a decade into its establishment and operation, BRICS is facing a crisis. On the one hand, the crisis has a specific set of causes, which include an economic downturn in three of its countries (Russia, Brazil, South Africa) as well as the worsening contradictions between China and India or between China and Brazil. The accumulated dissatisfaction with the actual results of the grouping's ten years of operation has also contributed to these trends, since many initiatives remained mere slogans, including the goal to amplify the voice of developing countries and to seek reforms when it comes to institutions of global governance.

Perhaps, most salient and illustrative was the evolution in Brazil's approach to BRICS. Former presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff had a hand in establishing the association, both sharing a clear understanding of how it should operate to achieve the country's main strategic foreign policy objective, which is to assume the position of leadership across the Global South. One can recall the words of Celso Amorim, Brazil's former Foreign Minister (2003 to 2010), at the dawn of BRICS in 2008: "The BRIC countries could serve as a bridge between industrialized and developing countries for sustainable development and a more balanced international economic policy. We should promote a more democratic world order by ensuring the fullest participation of developing countries in decision-making bodies." From these words, it is evident that the BRICS countries have repeatedly reiterated the point that the association is not an alliance against someone, it will not supplant cooperation with developed countries—rather, it aims to allow the BRICS nations to conduct such cooperation in a more equal manner. Brazil's activism within BRICS was complemented by biregional and bilateral formats with the developing world (the Africa-South America Summit or the Forum of East Asia-Latin America Cooperation), where the country could take the lead.

Brazil confronted serious political and economic crises in the mid-2010s, which could not but affect the dynamics of BRICS as a whole, a trend coupled with economic slowdowns in Russia and South Africa. Many economists have noted that the key challenge for the Brazilian economy at the time was the low productivity, which could be solved by a serious modernization, including through attracting FDI in technology. The new elites, upon coming to power in 2018 (the Bolsonaro government), saw the solution not so much in intensifying South-South technological and investment cooperation as in building alliances with developed countries (North-South). This does not mean that the new leadership did not recognize the importance of the mechanisms and instruments functioning within BRICS (the New Development Bank or platforms for technological cooperation, including BRICS STI Framework). Rather, the scale of their impact did not correspond to what was required for the real technological breakthrough of the "tropical giant."

In the year of its presidency in 2019, Brazil demonstrated the approach that the association really needed to move forward with its development. After an over-extensive sprawl of the agenda in the previous years, when BRICS included initiatives and projects from almost all spheres, it was necessary to focus on really important, compromise priorities, achieving their in-depth elaboration. This is reflected in the much narrower priorities that Brazil chose to state. However, the quality of their elaboration was at the highest level, which was duly noted by Sergei Ryabkov, Russia's Sherpa in BRICS.

However, a period of concentration should be followed by new expansion and growth. Alas, BRICS has so far failed to demonstrate real potential for this, given the association's setbacks in fighting COVID-19. The events in Ukraine of early 2022, however, have undoubtedly become the most serious shock and test for the association. Adapting BRICS to the new realities depends on whether the current crisis is a game changer or a challenge to the system rather than a threat to the previous vector of its development. The reactions in the first or second scenario should be different, although it is obviously difficult to predict them, given that the outlines of the new reality have not yet finally emerged. Not a single BRICS country has supported Western sanctions against Russia—still, this does not mean that they are ready to boldly enhance cooperation with our country, turning a blind eye to understandable threats of secondary sanctions, coming from the U.S. and the EU.

Nevertheless, if we slightly abstract from the currently acute phase of the crisis, we can outline several scenarios, envisioning how BRICS could move forward. These not appear to be exhaustive and may complement each other:

The first scenario is a rebirth of the association through achieving extensive growth and inviting new countries, which would turn BRICS into another G20, although for developing countries only. Such an initiative has been expressed since the early years of BRIC and, later, BRICS. First of all, options of involving a major Islamic country to transform the association into a conditional alliance of civilizations were discussed. Egypt is showing interest in joining BRICS, while it was not the first time in 2021 that Argentina was mentioned as a potential member of the grouping. Today, there is a lot of talk about the BRICS+ format, and the idea of "integration of integration" is returning. The latter option seems unlikely because of the growing centrifugal trends in Latin America and in the Caribbean (CELAC, Mercosur) and the EAEC. But the issue of strategic goals for BRICS to pursue, its values and ideals to preserve, and whether it could effectively contribute to the development of the participating countries will arise with renewed vigor once new countries are included. The question of positioning the association as an alternative to the West or as a bridge for more effective interaction with developed countries will be very difficult for Russia in light of its confrontation with Western nations. Obviously, the Russian leadership's previous assurances of absolute constructiveness toward all external forces should be reconsidered if the agenda of circumventing sanctions and creating financial, logistical, and other mechanisms alternative to those of the West is actively promoted.

The second scenario is the increasingly dominant role of China, the growing dependence of other countries on it, especially of Russia, and the transformation of BRICS into a mutual aid fund, where China will support its partner countries through the New Development Bank and other instruments, while pushing its own agenda and interests. This scenario is already, if partially, the case. It is no secret that access to additional resources of the NDB attracts countries indicating their desire to join BRICS. But the obvious obstacle to this scenario will be the position of India, which is not interested in strengthening the role of its strategic competitor. Especially since the Indian economy has shown higher GDP growth than Beijing in recent years (except in 2020), and this advantage is predicted by the IMF until 2026 and beyond.

The third scenario is a careful search for a balance while preserving the existing membership of the association, goals and objectives. For this to happen, China, India and Brazil need to revise their approaches to bilateral relations, smoothing out their contradictions. BRICS should work on the mistakes after the pandemic, trying to formulate joint responses to the serious challenges that are looming today, including those caused by the Ukrainian crisis, such as a new round of food crisis globally and the economic crisis predicted by the IMF and the World Bank. Certainly, the BRICS nations possess the resources to act effectively, since they are the world's leading food producers (except South Africa). There is also some groundwork in the form of relevant past association initiatives, such as those adopted as part of the Action Plan 2021-2024 for Agricultural Cooperation. Careful and subtle work in updating the agenda and responding to acute crises can only take place in the absence of claims to political unity, which is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve.

Designing a payment system (BRICS Pay) becomes acutely relevant in modern conditions. Moscow is well aware of the need to accelerate work on the project, whose launch was previously scheduled for 2025. Russia is now switching to settlements in national currencies with India and China, having launched an alternative to SWIFT payment system with the latter. Previously, Brasilia and Moscow tried to use rubles and reals for bilateral trade, but the instability of the two currencies since the mid-2010s has slowed down the progress here. At a time when Brazil cannot buy Russian fertilizers, essential for its agro-industrial complex, because of sanctions, the task of increasing the independence of bilateral financial cooperation becomes vitally important.

Undoubtedly, the new geopolitical realities recalibrate the agenda for BRICS, making certain initiatives in finance or food security urgent for all member countries. These initiatives have the potential to drive a new phase of growth for the association. Furthermore, a powerful additional attractiveness factor for third countries interested in participating in new global instruments independent of the West could emerge if the initiatives are successful and real progress is made. However, there are also a lot of risks along the way, including the obvious opposition to this policy by Western countries through escalating sanctions pressure on countries that cooperate with Russia. Internal constraints, however, can also work, especially if the states are unable to consolidate, getting rid of national egoism.
The Cooperation of the BRICS Members Within SCO in the Security Sphere of Central Asia (Взаимодействие членов БРИКС в рамках ШОС в сфере безопасности Центральной Азии) / Russia, April, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion, cooperation

Kamola Talipova, Intern of the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research – special for InfoBRICS

Many observers have stated that Central Asia's landlocked status is an obstacle to economic development. However, the region has the advantage of being surrounded by dynamic economies, with three of the BRICS as close neighbors – Russia, India and China; Japan, the Republic of Korea, and ASEAN rather more distant neighbors in Asia. The three main players of BRICS have a strong presence in this region and functioning through different kind of international organizations. One of the most relevant and active one is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) performed several tasks for its members – China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan (and also India, Iran and Pakistan as observers). Originally a regional forum to discuss the demilitarization of borders, it has broadened in tandem with the increasing relevance of some of its members, the BRICS to promote cooperation in several issue areas – non-military issues, such as energy, finance, and commerce, consolidate its relevance for regional and global patterns of power.

Defense and security remain, though, top agenda items. From Islamic extremism in Central Asia to fears of ethnic separatism in western China and crisis in Ukraine, SCO become more than a talking shop for regional security issues. The goal of this analysis to provide insights on the role of the three BRICS members in SCO – China, India and Russia. The SCO was chosen as space where China, India and Russia as BRICS members represent the agenda and goals of organization improving by this cooperation between countries and expand the influence to compete Western interests and strengthen ties between two organizations.

To begin with, it is important to give limitations of terms that will be used here. Security has a wide range of meanings and so there are numerous problems in this field. Security threats can be distinguished between 'traditional' (threats to the state sovereignty and integrity, military threat to the government, etc.) and 'non-traditional' problems; even though this division is somewhat artificial, it is still widely used in literature. 'Non-traditional' security threats usually refer to the international threats, which appeared in the developing countries, including the Central Asian region. They include energy and environment security, drugs trade, human trafficking, terrorist activity, religious extremism, etc. The specifics of the Central Asian region is that both traditional and non-traditional threats are interconnected and linked to the international situation and conditions.

Migration issue has always been a highly discussed topic. The history of it takes us to the Geneva declaration and European Union regulations to prevent high migration flows from developing countries. Existing international organizations play a role of sources of information, investigations, experiments and connections with local government units and NGO, often such great powers as European Union uses international organizations in their own interests to influence policy decisions. As it can be seen further from the paper there are various examples when functions of organizations start to go beyond their mandate, intervening into fields that are not related, by this formatting competition among IOs in various regions. Especially the case of Central Asia is highly interesting one due to the locking policies of countries and its regimes, that are an obstacle for well - functioning of IOs.

In the new post-1991 geopolitical and security realities, the international community raced into post-Soviet Central Asia with several projects designed to contribute to economic, political and developmental reforms in the region. However, according to Jackson, the majority of these projects were overshadowed by a new focus on state security issues, especially since the events of 11 September. The US and EU after the terrorist attack were highly interested in preventing any conflicts in the area. However, most attention was paid to the areas of border management and policing, that led to missing other threats. Also there is a tendency to unite all five states into one region and implement projects that were successful in other parts of the world without a clear understanding of background. For instance, international organizations were trying to promote a Philippines program in Tajikistan to regulate migration flow, but overall it did not bring good results.

What is important to mention is that flow of migrants can be a cause for high levels of clandestine transnational activities. Jackson covers the topic of the recent problems in Central Asia region: narcotic, arms and human trafficking. Drawing a clear picture of the core problem addressing two questions to the reader: what the perceptions of the international community are and why is it negative; and does an effective strategy exist in order to prevent clandestine transnational activities.

Usually when the main three problems in the region are revised, the illicit arms and narcotic trade, more attention was focused on the issue of small arms and light weapons. Here the fear is not really about it, but rather future increase of distribution of nuclear powers to terrorist groups. Speaking about narcotic trafficking, here the important thing that was said is lack of control, high level of corruption and just impossibility to control ways of transferring drugs. Another clandestine activity that is also very discussed nowadays is human trafficking. To compare with arms and narcotic trafficking this activity is not considered as a serious danger to the West. "This relative lack of direct impact on Western states and the fact that the numbers trafficked from Central Asia seem to be comparatively small, partly explains the international community's relative neglect of human trafficking (compared to other types of trafficking) in post-Soviet Central Asia".

However, the problem is that there is no official data, people, victims of human traffic do not report to organizations. International organizations that are related to this region should construct its perceptions, instead of being just negative and concentrating on one way of strategy, more concerned with the development of links between trafficking, illegal drug transportation and its impact on the life of the Central Asian population. In fact, the most focus is paid on border management and law enforcement concerns by the UN, OSCE and EU. It seems that a broad international consensus that there should be international action to combat 'clandestine transnational actors' in Central Asia, there is less agreement over how this should be done. Most of the activities are focusing on border control and keeping and returning migrants to their home states.

Moreover, there is a lack of sharing knowledge and cooperation between local governors and international organizations workers. However, it seems that BRICS members achieved pretty good results in implementing other projects together. Such as within Shanghai Cooperation Organization it has been introduced the concept of 'three evils', they are separatism, terrorism and Islamic extremism. SCO can be seen as one of the most effective organizations in the field; it created a Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure, a framework for intelligence gathering and sharing and counterterrorism; it was based first in Bishkek and then in Tashkent.

Of course, counterterrorism is not the only agenda of this institution, it is targeting all of 'three evils'. For example, it contributed greatly to the arrest of Hizb ut-Tahrir members. In 2006 RATS also led the raid on extremist mosque Kara-Su in Kyrgyzstan and assassinated its religious leader. In the 2011 CSTO also announced the creation of the common database of terrorist and extremist organisations, following the example of RATS. United Nations and OSCE participate in the anti-terrorist activity in the region as well, for example in 2004 the Vienna declaration was adopted, which listed the actions, needed for terrorism prevention in the world.

Moscow has been the dominant security partner for the countries within the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization framework and has been the largest supplier of arms. Russia remains the main security backer of Central Asia, accounting for 62 percent of the regional arms market, while its economic dominance dropped from 80 percent of the region's total trade in the 1990s ($110 billion) to just two-thirds that of Beijing ($18.6 billion). Lately there has been a trend of China becoming a security player, too. China is also increasingly engaged in military drills with Central Asia states besides economically cooperate with them.

Beijing's arms transfers through donations and sales to the regional countries, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, were modest until 2014 according to Wilson Center report and then started to increase.

Terrorism and religious extremism are one of the most relevant security problems in today's agenda, and one of the most active players in the region is China, Russia and India, which were able to create functioning cooperation to fight terrorists and extremists with a help of other organizations. SCO's and BRICS main goal is to have stable relations with Central Asian republics and to achieve it, China invests into economic development rather than military one. We clearly can see that for now Central Asia seems to be the main interest between China and Russia. Both states have much impact in the security sphere, developing projects and regulating conflicts. Moreover, there is a strong presence of Russia in media and education of Central Asian states. The same tendency connected to education and students exchange can be said about China. Nowadays it has become a popular destination for high scholarship and bilateral projects. This tendency can bring positive impact to create a dialogue between those BRICS members that do not have close borders to Central Asian region with the help of main players in the face of China, Russia and India.

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Amid Sanctions Against Russia, BRICS Can Lead the Change Towards National Currency Payments (На фоне санкций против России БРИКС может возглавить переход к платежам в национальной валюте) / India, April, 2022
Keywords: political_issues, economic_challenges

By Vaishali Basu Sharma

The current conflict in Ukraine has a decided international financial aspect.

The West has frozen the assets of Russia's central bank, to stop it from using its $630 billion foreign currency reserves.

Without any reference to sanctions or Ukraine, the NDB's statement said, "In light of unfolding uncertainties and restrictions, NDB has put new transactions in Russia on hold."

BRICS nations constitute the world's five major economies and are a significant influence on international affairs.

In 2012, BRICS took the momentous decision to establish their own financing mechanism.

At a US Congressional hearing, Nathan Sheets, the Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs, acknowledged, "As the largest shareholder and the only member with veto power over major IMF decisions, our extended delay in approving the 2010 IMF quota and governance reforms has led our partners to question our commitment to the multilateral system."

Shortcomings in the BRICS financial mechanisms

Although the impact of its creation has not been insignificant, nearly 10 years on, the shortcomings in these payment mechanisms have started to become obvious.

On a macro level, the dynamism of the BRICS has been affected by several factors: India and China's acrimonious stance has weakened the mechanism; post Crimea-2014 Russia has been affected by sanctions making it difficult to lend money to its infrastructure companies; Brazil has been weakening both economically and politically; over $30 billion looted in corruption scandals have set South Africa back and it has shown a preference to approach the IMF, despite the onerous conditionalities of its loans.

In terms of functioning, the BRICS finds itself criticised for the lack of transparency although it was founded with the mission to make it an egalitarian banking structure, with all five members having the same voting rights.

BRICS bank has an authorised capital of $100 billion. The initial subscribed capital of $ 50 billion is equally distributed amongst the founding members. But other emerging economies like Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia and Nigeria will have to be included to make it sustainable.

NDB's ability to reach its full potential

Despite these shortcomings, the BRICS financing innovations still hold great promise.

In 2020, the NDB received AA+ long-term issuer credit ratings from S&P and Fitch. In March, Fitch Ratings revised the outlook on NDB's Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to 'Negative' from 'Stable' because of "the presence and role of Russia as a large shareholder". At the same time, it also

NDB started expanding its membership in September 2021 with the admission of Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Uruguay.

The current crisis in Ukraine and the expansion of Western sanctions lend possibility to BRICS mechanisms finally breaking the hegemony of financing structures created by developed countries.

Can BRICS learn from its mistakes?

The Russia-Ukraine violence is a real test for the cohesion of the BRICS bank.

On the UN motion to demand an immediate end to the invasion of Ukraine, amongst the 35 nations that abstained are India, China and South Africa. However, Brazil voted against Russia. The current situation is an ideal time for a reckoning of the international relations of the BRICS nations, and in particular of their often problematic relations with the West.

Time and again, the five-member nations have agreed to extend credit facilities in local currency to each other. But this has not been so easy given that the US dollar is the current base currency in global trade.

For its part, India always had a Rupee-Ruble trade arrangement with Russia.

With the EU and the US blocking many Russian banks from accessing SWIFT, India must further strengthen the Rupee-Ruble trade arrangement.

There is a possibility of India linking the Central Bank of Russia's platform with a domestic financial messaging system.

But in the main, it is the conservatism of the central banks of the BRICS nations that has to undergo change.

It accepts parameters for compliance with environmental and social standards designed by borrowers, respecting its members' own policies.

In 2019, though the bank approved over US $12 billion in loans, it disbursed less than $1 billion.

The current crisis is the right time for the BRICS nations, using the NDB platform, to launch an alternative to SWIFT, give momentum to national currencies and expand trade with countries facing Western sanctions.

In the beginning, the payment mechanism will have to be pegged to a third international currency to ensure that exporters don't lose out, given the recent sharp volatility in the Ruble movement. Despite the hindrances, what cannot be ignored is the overwhelming impulse among emerging economies to change the currency situation

Vaishali Basu Sharma is an analyst on strategic and economic affairs. She has worked as a consultant with the National Security Council Secretariat for nearly a decade.

The Wire

BRICS trim their US Treasury holdings (БРИКС урезает свои казначейские активы США) / India, April, 2022
Keywords: economic_challenges

But flight to safety since the pandemic results in India's holdings surging since March 2020

BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries have been reducing their exposure to the US Treasuries over the last six months. Data available from the US Treasury Department shows that South Africa has pared its exposure the most, followed by India. The US Treasury holding of India has declined from $217 billion to $199.8 billion over the same period — down by 7.93 per cent.

Among the foreign holders of the US Treasuries, Japan is the largest holder with an exposure of $1.3 trillion. China comes next with $1.05 billion. India stands at the 14 th position as of February 2022.

India and Brazil have shifted their affinity towards gold during this period. Foreign Currency Assets (FCA) and gold form a major part of any country's forex reserves. The US Treasury is one of the components of FCA . For India, the FCA forms 90 per cent of its reserves. Within that, the US Treasury holding accounts for an average of 38 per cent.

Data till December 2021 from the World Gold Council (WGC ) shows that India and Brazil have increased their gold holding by seven7 per cent each in the second half of 2021.

Surging inflation, high prospects for an aggressive rate hike from the US Federal Reserve have made the countries trim their US Treasuries position.

However, experts believe that this is a short-term phenomenon and the demand for the US Treasuries will rebound. Gaurang Somaiya, Forex & Bullion Analyst, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said: "Countries like India have just trimmed their position and not dumped the US Treasuries. When the US Yields settle down in the 3-3.5 per cent levels, the demand for Treasuries could come back. Everyone will start buying again at higher yields."

Safe haven

For India, the US Treasuries have remained as the safe bet, especially at times of uncertainty. Thus, despite the recent trimming, India has been the largest buyer of the US Treasuries during the pandemic among the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) since March 2020. India's holding of the US Treasuries has gone up from $156.5 billion in March 2020 to $199.8 billion as of February 2022, as per data from the US Department of the Treasury. This is a strong 28 per cent surge. Over the same period, all other BRICS nations reduced their holdings.

What are the implications of this holding in today's scenario for India?

"Returns from the US Treasury holdings will get impacted on the back of the rising yields. But the topmost priority is the safety of holding the Treasuries rather than the returns obtained from it," said Rajani Sinha , Chief Economist, CareEdge Ratings (CARE Ratings).

Aditi Nayar , Chief Economist, ICRA, said, "The forex earnings of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are likely to rise given the larger holdings of the US Treasuries.

"However, at the current scenario of possible interest rate hikes, the pay-out from the RBI in the form of reverse repo and Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) might absorb a part of the higher forex earnings."
Parallel Imports — Not An Emergency Measure, But The Norm: How The Roundtable On Competition And Intellectual Property Under Sanctions Went (Параллельный импорт — не чрезвычайная мера, а норма: как прошел круглый стол «Конкуренция и интеллектуальная собственность под санкциями») / Russia, April, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion, cooperation, economic_challenges

On April 19, the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre held a roundtable on Competition and Intellectual Property under Sanctions. The event was held within the framework of the XXIII April international scientific conference on the problems of the development of the economy and society.

The experts discussed measures to stimulate the economy in the face of sanctions by weakening the protection of intellectual property rights of foreign right holders without completely abandoning the protection of intellectual property. Such measures include the full legalization of parallel imports, the intensification of compulsory licensing tools, the rejection of "antimonopoly immunities", etc.

The round table was moderated by Alexey Yuryevich Ivanov, Director of the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre and HSE — Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development.

The event was attended by:

  • Karina Maratovna Taukenova, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia;
  • Timofey Vitalyevich Nizhegorodtsev, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia;
  • Mukhamed Anatolyevich Khamukov, Deputy Head of Department for Cooperation with Government Authorities, Ozon;
  • Alexey Igorevich Dukhanin, Director for Development of Relations with Government Authorities at Wildberries;
  • Anatoly Vyacheslavovich Semenov, Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) for Intellectual Property;
  • Vladimir Alexandrovich Sivitsky, Professor of the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law, Faculty of Law, National Research University Higher School of Economics - St. Petersburg;
  • Elena Anatolyevna Voinikanis, Leading Research Fellow at the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre.
In the opening speech Alexey Ivanov stressed that Russia had adopted a regime for the protection of intellectual rights, which did not correspond to the level of the country's socio-economic development and its national interests.

"Antimonopoly immunities", a ban on parallel imports, the restrictive concept of "compulsory licensing" and other severely restrictive forms of intellectual property protection have led to a long-term stagnation of the Russian innovation economy and continue to block the technological growth of companies and reduce their competitiveness in the global market.

"Isn't it time to simply systematically abandon these institutions that hinder our development? I see the lifting of these restrictions not as an extraordinary measure aimed at fighting sanctions, but as a normal mechanism for reviving our economy. Normal, that is, in line with world practice and our international obligations." Lifting the ban on parallel imports, compulsory licensing and the abolition of "antimonopoly immunities" is not a sanction, but a normal planned economic measure, Karina Taukenova agreed. She recalled that it was possible to achieve the adoption of Federal Law No. 46 of March 8, 2022, which gives the Government the right to draw up lists and categories of goods for which parallel imports are allowed. Decree No. 506 was also introduced, according to which the Ministry of Industry and Trade approves the list of goods.

"We believe that it is wrong to choose the way of creating a list of goods, but I understand colleagues who have been trying to do at least something for the last 10 years. I do not rule out that both of these legislative acts will be amended in the near future. We want to agree that each member of the EAEU has the right to determine the principle of exhaustion of rights for itself. It is detrimental to follow the path of a list of goods, since we cannot agree within the country on what kind of goods these should be, let alone five countries, each of which is bound by its international obligations." Timofey Nizhegorodtsev drew attention to the "colonial character" of the legal system of the Russian Federation.

"Many laws were written under the influence of those markets that wanted to subdue us. Colonialism is, after all, including the intellectual control of ideas and meanings, which then form the norms of law", he pointed out.

Also, Mr. Nizhegorodtsev noted that the actions of the state in relation to the right holder are often perceived as "the actions of a bandit", while the unfair behavior of the right holder itself is ignored, as in the case of the American pharmaceutical company Gilead, which refused to supply the drug remdesivir against COVID-19 to Russia on a non-discriminatory price. As a result, the Government of the Russian Federation issued a compulsory license for the production of "Remdesivir" to the Russian company Pharmasyntez.

Vladimir Sivitsky commented on the contradiction between Federal Law No. 46 and the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, noting that the categories of choosing a priority in comparison with the Civil Code of the Russian Federation are not very applicable to this law, since it is part of an extraordinary and temporary legal regulation under sanctions.

"The current regulation is more properly regarded as extraordinary. Perhaps now we are in that very transitional period from the principle of national exhaustion of rights to the principle of international exhaustion. Of all the measures, I would now give priority to the abandonment of "antitrust immunities" and the use of compulsory licensing - this is a familiar and understandable model. And the transition to the international principle of exhaustion of rights is a matter for the future." Anatoly Semenov presented an overview of the development of Russian legislation in the field of intellectual property circulation and its inherent problems and shortcomings. In particular, instead of abolishing the norms on the protection of intellectual property rights, the Government merely abolished the norms restricting their protection. No emergency regulation can justify such a legislative marriage, Mr. Semenov is convinced.

"I am glad that our lawsuit against the Government of the Russian Federation to challenge Decree No. 506 was filed with the Supreme Court and reached the addressee. The story with the lists of the Ministry of Industry and Trade causes boundless mistrust. What goods will be included in the list, what will be pulled out of it? We understand that all this will not be free of charge. It's just that instead of customs, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will do this, ", Semenov believes.

Alexey Dukhanin noted that the fears expressed by opponents of the legalization of parallel imports are largely untenable.

"A frequent argument against is the lack of warranty service. But there are already practices that help protect the consumer. The seller of the marketplace is obliged to provide warranty service. Otherwise, the buyer will be reimbursed either by the seller or the marketplace." Mukhamed Khamukov recalled the current situation on the trading floors:

"Prices have gone up by multiples. We are running out of goods on the stock exchanges. In addition, it is worth remembering that marketplaces are hundreds of thousands of sellers, they are the same small and medium-sized businesses that would benefit greatly from parallel imports. There is an opinion that this measure does not contribute to the localization of production. But why are brands localized in Russia afraid of competition with themselves?" Summing up the meeting, Elena Voinikanis emphasized once again that the weakening of the protection of intellectual rights of foreign right holders is a measure that returns to normal. She also noted the need for a "broad palette of influences or narrative expansion" in shaping the intellectual property architecture.

"The architecture of intellectual property is changing now. It is important to understand what is happening outside of Russia in this area and what lessons we are ready to draw from this. For example, Brazil and India are actively discussing with the EU and the US the suspension of TRIPS provisions due to the pandemic. The acute phase, when the West denied any changes, has already passed, the EU and the US are already ready to sacrifice vaccine patents", she noted.

Following the results of the round table, Alexey Ivanov proposed a resolution:

"Fully legalize parallel imports, introduce the international principle of exhaustion of rights, remove "antimonopoly immunities", adjust the intellectual property protection regime so that compulsory licenses really work."

The participants agreed to assemble an initiative group for further work on the provisions of the resolution.

What Is the Rupee-Rouble Mechanism, and Why Is India Considering Reviving It? (Что такое механизм рупия-рубль и почему Индия рассматривает возможность его возрождения?) / India, April, 2022
Keywords: economic_challenges

In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has prohibited global transactions with Russian entities using euro-denominated banknotes, while the U.S. has cut off Russia's access to the U.S. Dollar. This has made India, which continues to trade with Russia, consider reviving the Rupee-Rouble mechanism, previously used in 1953.

What is the Rupee-Rouble mechanism? The Rupee-Rouble trade arrangement is an alternative payment mechanism to settle dues in rupees instead of Dollars or Euros. The idea was first conceived in 1953 under the Indo-Soviet trade agreement.

Under Article VI of the Indo-Soviet agreement:

- All payments between India and the then Soviet Republic USSR may be made in Indian Rupees.

- For this purpose the State Bank of the U.S.S.R. will maintain one or more accounts with one or more commercial banks in India authorised to deal in foreign exchange. In addition, the State Bank of the USSR will, if that Bank considers necessary, maintain another account with the Reserve Bank of India.

- All commercial transactions to be financed in Rupees will take place through the commercial bank accounts while the account with the Reserve Bank of India will be used only for replenishing the balances with the commercial banks when necessary

- Payments made to and by Indian residents and USSR residents will be done only in those specified accounts by debiting/crediting.

- The accounts will be replenished by (a) by transfer of funds from another account of the State Bank of the USSR with another commercial bank or with the Reserve Bank of India; or (b) by the sale of Sterling to the bank concerned.

The payments covered:

- Commercial transactions and covering insurance, freight, port charges, storage and forwarding expenses and bunkering

- Distribution of films

- Technical assistance

- Tours of commercial or cultural nature

- Maintenance of Embassy of India in the USSR and of the Embassy and the Trade Representation of the U.S.S.R. in India

- Other non-commercial payments agreed between Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of the USSR

Centre on reviving Rupee-Rouble mechanism

On March 24, 2022, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told Parliament that a multi-ministerial group had been convened to look into how to overcome challenges in trade with Russia, including managing payments for exporters and importers — indicating a possible revival of the 'Rupee-Rouble trade'.

In response to a question by Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral on whether the government would reactivate rupee trade with Russia, Jaishankar said "because of the emerging problems in dealing with Russia, [the] government is examining various aspects, including the payment aspect".

"There is a group within the government composed of different Ministries. It is led by the Finance Ministry to examine these matters," he added. Russian delegation may visit India in May to discuss Rupee-Rouble payment mechanism.

Why revive Rupee-Rouble trade?

Over 40 U.S. and European allies have imposed economic sanctions against Russian banks and entities amid the war in Ukraine. As per Bloomberg, Indian exporters are awaiting payments of about $500 million that have been delayed amid the sanctions.

According to the Department of Commerce, India currently has imports worth Rs. 64,623 crore (1 crore = 10.000.000. - InfoBRICS) from Russia in 2021-22, which is 59.04% growth from last year. This constituted 1.58% of the total imports of India.

Moreover, India's exports to Russia is worth Rs 23,658 crores in 2021-22, which is a 20.4% growth since last year. India's total trade with Russia amounted to Rs 88,281 crores in 2021-22, which is a 46.45% growth. In total, India-Russia trade is worth RS 68.98 lakh crores — a mere 1.28% share of India's trade figures.

India's trade deficit with Russia amounts to Rs 12.83 lakh crores, which include crude oil, defense trade.

India's imports of oil and defence equipment

India — being a net importer of Russian goods — has currently increased its import of Russian crude oil amid falling oil prices. According to Reuters, India bought at least 13 million barrels of Russian oil since the Ukraine war began on February 24, a steep rise from last year, when India bought 16 million barrels of Russian oil in all of 2021.

Moreover, India is also awaiting the timely delivery of the S-400 air defence systems under a deal signed in 2018. The deal — worth $5.43 billion — faces looming U.S. sanctions under CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

In addition, several new deals are in the pipeline including 12 Su-30MKI aircraft and 21 MiG-29 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force. However, the Defence Ministry is carrying out a review of all direct import deals in a bid to promote domestic manufacturing.

Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
PM Narendra Modi won't visit China, BRICS summit to be held virtually (Премьер-министр Нарендра Моди не посетит Китай, саммит БРИКС пройдет виртуально) / India, April, 2022
Keywords: narendra_modi, summit

The South Block is likely to be spared the dilemma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi having to travel to Beijing to attend the BRICS summit while the border dispute with China remains unresolved. The five-nation BRICS grouping has decided to hold the next summit online, it was confirmed at a recent meeting of BRICS Sherpas, said sources here.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had met his counterpart S Jaishankar here on March 25 to explore the possibility of an in-person summit around the end of June. However, India did not accept the proposal to keep aside the border dispute and develop relations in other spheres.

Wang's lack of audience with PM Modi also sent the signal that New Delhi expected a repeat of Doklam in 2017. It was after both sides withdrew their forces from an eye-ball-to-eye-ball confrontation on the Doklam Plateau on August 28 that PM Modi's confirmation for the BRICS summit from September 3 in Xiamen was announced.

Before the BRICS summit, PM Modi will travel to Tokyo to attend Quad summit on May 24. The fact the Quad summit is being held in-person and BRICS summit virtually highlights the intense western pressure on nations like India, China, Brazil and South Africa to minimise their interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the sources.
World of Work
Russian chess star Karjakin proposes opening tournaments within SCO, BRICS member states (Российская звезда шахмат Карякин предлагает открыть турниры в рамках ШОС и БРИКС) / Russia, April, 2022
Keywords: rating, social_issues

"A number of various commercial and state-supported tournaments should be organized during such uneasy times in support of chess players," Sergey Karjakin said

MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. Russian Chess Grandmaster Sergey Korjakin told TASS on Friday that he ponders an idea of organizing chess tournaments within the BRICS and SCO member states.

"A number of various commercial and state-supported tournaments should be organized during such uneasy times in support of chess players," Karjakin said. "I am pondering an organization of chess tournaments within the member states of BRICS and SCO."

"I am a chess player and I am talking about chess tournaments here," he added.

The international association of BRICS countries is made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is comprised of China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

On March 21, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) stated that its Ethics and Disciplinary Commission (EDC) decided to suspend Russian Chess Grandmaster Karjakin from all competitions for the period of six months.

On February 28, Karjakin published an open letter in which he supported Russia's special military operation in Ukraine. The next day, FIDE condemned the Russian grandmaster for public announcement of his political stance, launching a disciplinary case against him.

Karjakin, 32, is currently 18th in the FIDE Rankings List. In 2016, the Russian chess player won the Candidates Tournament and then lost the World Chess Championship's title encounter to Norwegian Magnus Carlsen.

Karjakin is the winner of the Chess World Cup 2015. He is also the world champion in Rapid Chess (2012) and Blitz (2016).

On February 28, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments referring to a special military operation in Ukraine.

Following the IOC recommendations in late February, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.

The 2022 BRICS Network University Annual Conference to Be Held in April (Ежегодная конференция Сетевого университета БРИКС-2022 пройдет в апреле) / Russia, April, 2022
Keywords: cooperation

This year Beijing Normal University and North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power will host BRICS Network University Annual Conference, and six Chinese member universities will host relevant forums respectively.

The theme of the annual conference is "Building Partnerships Among Top Universies for Sustainable Development in BRICS".

The conference is scheduled to be held from April 20th to April 21th, 2022 (GMT+8),

Considering the fact that the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread, the Annual Conference and six sub-fora will be held in online-to-offline model, where all participants attend in their based countries via video conference system, as reported on the official site of the 2022 BRICS NU Conference.

Russian IT corporations are interested in forming joint ventures in India (Российские ИТ-корпорации заинтересованы в создании совместных предприятий в Индии) / USA, April, 2022
Keywords: digital, economic_challenges, social_issues

As a result of the West's barrage of sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine, a number of Russian software companies are looking for joint ventures in India and other BRICS countries, according to the leader of an association of over 250 IT companies in Russia. Valentin Makarov, president of Russoft in St. Petersburg, said a group of five to six Russian companies recently attended the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) in Kolkata and met with many Indian enterprises.

"We believe the sanctions on Russia pose both challenges and opportunities. The US and western Europe make for more than half of Russia's IT exports, and the restrictions impacted this trade. There is also a lot of focus now on import substitution". "So, Russian software companies are keen to expand their footprint and forge JVs in the BRICS nations, and India appears to be the best potential partners for Russia to create and achieve technological goals," Makarov told.

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China Launches Satellite Data Center In Hainan Province - Local Authorities (Китай запускает центр спутниковой обработки данных в провинции Хайнань – местные власти) / Pakistan, April, 2022
Keywords: space, cooperation

BEIJING (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 24th April, 2022) The Chinese National Space Administrations has set up a satellite data center in the county-level city of Wenchang on the Hainan Island to enhance international space cooperation, the Wenchang authorities said on Sunday.

The satellite data center in Hainan will serve as "an important hub for international exchange and cooperation in the area of satellite data and its application," the Wenchang authorities said on social media.

On August 18, 2021, space agency heads from five BRICS countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, signed an agreement on cooperation in sharing remote sensing satellite data.

As the Russian state space agency Roscosmos stressed earlier, this agreement would foster collaboration within BRICS in creating a virtual constellation of remote sensing satellites and data sharing, which would contribute to addressing climate change, ensuring environmental protection and dealing with the effects of natural and man-made disasters.
Cooperation Between Japan and BRICS States: Main Challenges and Perspectives (Сотрудничество Японии и стран БРИКС: основные вызовы и перспективы) / Russia, April, 2022
Keywords: cooperation, expert_opinion

Kamola Talipova, Intern of the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research – special for InfoBRICS

Japanese and Russian relations were often discussed on the base of Northern territories and peace treaty that both states still did not conclude. In the context of East Asia power politics, Japan had to balance against China.

Territorial issue between Tokyo and Beijing about the Senkaku islands becomes more serious nowadays, besides North Korea with its nuclear weapons: Chinese activation in the sea makes cooperation between both states challenging. To strengthen the position between two great powers, Japan organized the "Go East" strategy during the 2nd president term of V. Putin and in 2013 it initiated 2+2 dialogue by Japan, where they also discussed the role of China. It is important to remember, that in the economic sphere both states Russia and China signed a gas export deal, according to which Russia is going to export $400bn with China for 30 years, also in 2015 Russia signed a contract according to which it will supply China with Su-35 and S-400.

On the other hand, for Japan one of the most important questions was sustaining stable Japan-Russia Relations for Energy Security. Because Japan is situated far apart from central oil and gas resources and Indonesia and China became a net oil importer, Japan began to be independent from the Middle East, but there were risks, such as Arab Spring. From this point Russia is considered as the most profitable and safe way to get oil. Especially situation changed after the nuclear accident in Fukushima on March 11, 2011 Japan had to import LNG from Qatar and Russia started own LNG projects with perspective to Far East markets.

Issue about Northern territories is the main topic that stays between Japan and Russia and still nowadays prevent both countries from signing a peace treaty. Northern territories are four islands in the East of Hokkaido, that the Soviet Union joined to itself after World War II in 1945. Japanese politics, especially the main party Liberal Democratic Party are very serious about solving this problem without worsen Japan - Russia relations and to sign treaty. After Crimean crisis it was organized a census by the MOFA, where the question was about expectations from Japan-Russia relations, two main points that we can identify from answers were resolving the territorial dispute (55.0%, the Most Likely Answer) and stable import of Natural Resources Like LNG and Petroleum (49.7%, the Second Most). From this point it is clearly seen that for Japanese citizens the territorial issue was the primary one.

The second reason can be that Japan does not want to make negatively effect on general trading, which developed LNG plants in Russia and car companies, such as Nissan, Mitsubishi and Toyota, which built their factories in Russia in 2010.

Japan could have a positive impact on development of Russian Far East by export its technology resources and open more companies, which Russia needs. Moreover, because of having long border with Asia, for Russia it is important to pay attention to this area, because of rising intention between China and Japan and Korean peninsula. From the Japan side, which foreign policy especially after the World War II had really significant changes, nowadays it is especially important to stay in the middle, between the USA and Russia. The Article 9 of Constitutions and Yoshida Doctrine has its serious effect on Japanese foreign policy, due to the fact that according to the Article Japan could not have military arm, it look for ally in North Asia area against its aim threat – China, at the same time relying on the USA army becomes not unreliable, so Premier Minister Abe wants to revise Article 9 in order to end with pots – World War II history and get back Northern territories.

Another vital part of BRICS with who Japan has two-sided relations is Brazil. Brazil's reciprocal relations to Japan have customarily been ruled by three key viewpoints: Financial ties, G4 enrollment and the crave to change the UN Security Committee, and the expansive Japanese diaspora in Brazil, generally concentrated in São Paulo. However, one issue Brazil-watchers in Japan are progressively fascinated by is Brazil's developing nearness in Africa, together with that of the other BRICS nations. Japan's crave to reengage Africa gives an opportunity for Brazil to reinforce ties with the world's third biggest economy. Similar to approach creators in China, India and Brazil, Japan is increasingly mindful of Africa's financial and strategic significance. Over the past decade, be that as it may, Japan battled to reply to the BRICS' capacity to create advances into the African advertise. Investigators acquiesce that Japan was incapable to coordinate China's tremendous speculations nor Brazil's bewildering discretionary hostile.

Among Japanese analysts, there is a palpable sense that efforts over the past 20 years to establish strong ties with Africa have failed - for example, while there are direct flights from Africa to China, Korea, India and Brazil, there is no direct connection to Tokyo.

As for the Africa region, the leaders of both sides signed the Yokohama Declaration and adopted an action plan to meet the declaration's goals. The plan includes a target of 6-percent growth for Africa's agricultural sector, it doubled rice production also the Japanese government contributed $550 USD million into humanitarian aid in Africa and promised to invest even more resources in the coming years.

Japan has a strong motivation to establish its position in Africa due to economic factor: Africa's economy (excluding South Africa) grew at 5,8% annually over the past decade, compared with 3,8% growth in the world economy. In nowadays competition over natural resources, unclear crisis and Chinese competition we suppose that Japanese infrastructure and energy firm will try best to establish there. To reduce dependence on China, Japan will try to import minerals, resources from African one. Another interest of Japan in Africa is political, this region has a big number of votes in the UN, in a long-term project it is important to have good relations with it. Also as a country without troops and pacifistic agenda, Japan invests into humanitarian operations and projects a lot of resources.

The project ProSavanna between Brazil and Japan is already underway in Mozambique, which seeks to increase its agricultural productivity. It involves joint research and design exercises, triangular cooperation Mozambique – Brazil –JICA in the Nakala corridor with private sector participation. Brazil is involved in a growing number of trilateral projects, with Japan being one of its main partner in terms of numbers of joint projects. ABC currently manages 88 such initiatives across 27 countries, particularly Haiti, Paraguay and Mozambique. Trilateral cooperation projects already represent one fifth of Brazil's technical cooperation projects and the portfolio is likely to grow.

Nowadays most of scholars, international organizations and international community have an opinion that economic power is shifting and in nearly future it can be seen changes in rankings of the world economies. Over the last period BRICS have increased not only their financial, but also in economic cooperation, social sphere, international cooperation that can be seen on the example of Japan willing to work and contribute to some of BRICS countries more. These five states represents almost 4 billion people and GDP of 10 trillion dollars. The BRICS have accounted for more than half of global growth since the start of the financial crisis in 2007. In 2020, the four original BRICS countries were ranked as four of the top seven economies. We can say that this group is almost achieved a success and have positive predictions in future. Despite the fact BRICS still need to develop relations in education, economic sphere, fight with inequality, it can be said it is a good example of diverse culture that is very crucial to Japan, that has to balance between China, USA and Russia while establishing own interests especially in natural resources and energy sphere.

BRICS Seminar on Targeted Financial Sanctions Related to Terrorism and Terrorist Financing Successfully Held (Успешно проведен семинар БРИКС по адресным финансовым санкциям в связи с терроризмом и финансированием терроризма) / China, April, 2022
Keywords: top_level_meeting, national_security

On 19 April 2022, the BRICS Seminar on Targeted Financial Sanctions Related to Terrorism and Terrorist Financing was held via video link. It was chaired by Minister Counsellor Yao Shaojun from the Department of External Security Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, and attended by government officials and experts from BRICS countries responsible for international financial cooperation and countering terrorist financing.

China holds BRICS chairmanship this year. The seminar, initiated by the Chinese side, was jointly organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and the People's Bank of China. It was a thematic event under the framework of the 7th Meeting of BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group.

In light of their respective national conditions, BRICS partners had an in-depth exchange of views on the legal framework, policy measures, institutional setup and operation procedures of targeted financial sanctions against designated terrorist organizations and individuals based on relevant FATF recommendation, with the aim of implementing relevant UN Security Council counter-terrorism resolutions. Practical suggestions for future cooperation were also presented at the seminar.
The First Meeting of Committee of BRICS Senior Energy Officials Successfully held (Успешно проведено первое заседание Комитета старших должностных лиц БРИКС по энергетике) / China, April, 2022
Keywords: top_level_meeting

On March 28th , Ms. Wei Xiaowei, Deputy Director General of the International Department, National Energy Administration, hosted the 1st the meeting of Committee of BRICS Senior Energy Officials, attended by representatives from BRICS energy departments of Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa as well as representatives from universities and research institute.

Ms.Wei Xiaowei introduced the activity plan and proposed deliverables of this year. Representatives of all BRICS countries unanimously applauded China's considerations, stating that they will wholeheartedly support China as the chair in hosting the 7th BRICS Energy Ministerial Meeting.

The Chinese Side Chaired the 7th Meeting of BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group (Китайская сторона председательствовала на 7-м заседании Рабочей группы БРИКС по борьбе с терроризмом) / China, April, 2022
Keywords: top_level_meeting, national_security

On 21 April 2022, Mr. Bai Tian, Rotating Chair of BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group (CTWG) and Director General of the Department of External Security Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, chaired the 7th meeting of BRICS CTWG via video link. Representatives from competent ministries of China were present. The meeting was also attended by heads of delegations of other BRICS countries, including Mr. Vladimir Tarabrin, Special Representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia for International Anti-Terrorist Cooperation and Director of the Department on the Issues of New Challenges and Threats of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Mr. Mahaveer Singhvi, Joint Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs of India, Mr. James Letuma, General Manager of Counter Terrorism of State Security Agency of South Africa, and Mr. Ragniell Bertolini, General Coordinator for Combating Transnational Illicit Acts of Ministry of External Relations of Brazil.

H. E. Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, issued written remarks at the opening ceremony of the meeting. He elaborated on China's proposals and suggestions for BRICS counter-terrorism endeavor and its future development. BRICS countries are expected to uphold the spirit of the Global Security Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping, constantly explore cooperation potential, and adopt new ways of cooperation, so as to make even greater contribution to tackling terrorist threats and safeguarding international peace and security. The remarks were warmly received among BRICS representatives.

During the meeting, representatives of BRICS countries had an in-depth exchange of views on global, regional and domestic counter-terrorism situation, and on strengthening BRICS counter-terrorism cooperation. They were of the view that in the context of COVID-19 and profound changes in the world, many countries are facing economic challenges and rising social tensions. Terrorist organizations are abusing the Internet, social media and emerging technologies. Some country is also politicizing counter-terrorism or using it as a tool. Global counter-terrorism cooperation is thus facing severe challenges. BRICS countries, as major emerging countries with global influence, need to uphold the central, coordinating role of the United Nations in the global counter-terrorism endeavor and fully implement the BRICS counter-terrorism strategy and action plan. They need to play an even bigger role in the global counter-terrorism struggle by adopting integrated measures and promoting unity and coordination.

Representatives of BRICS countries commended the effective work of the Chinese side, as rotating chair of BRICS, for hosting the 7th meeting of BRICS CTWG, which was extensive and fruitful. They will continue to fully support China's chairmanship and work for continued progress in BRICS counter-terrorism cooperation.
Virtual Meeting of BRICS CTWG Subgroup on De-Radicalization Successfully Held (Успешно проведена виртуальная встреча подгруппы CTWG БРИКС по дерадикализации) / China, April, 2022
Keywords: top_level_meeting, national_security

On 19 April 2022, the Chinese side, as Chair of the Subgroup on De-Radicalization of BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group, organized a virtual meeting of the Subgroup.

Mr. Yao Shaojun, Minister Counsellor of the Department of External Security Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, chaired the meeting and made a keynote speech on behalf of China. The meeting was also attended by senior officials responsible for diplomatic and counter-terrorism affairs from South Africa, Brazil, Russia and India. Mr. Aniwar Syit, Director General of the Department of Justice of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, gave a briefing on the experience and fruitful outcomes of de-radicalization in Xinjiang.

Yao said that the Chinese government attaches great importance to de-radicalization. Based on international experience and domestic conditions, and in light of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, China has adopted integrated steps to address both the symptoms and root causes of extremism, which has produced notable results. China has thus made important contribution to the global de-radicalization endeavor. Yao also elaborated on China's relevant experience and put forward suggestions for international cooperation.

Participants agreed that in advancing counter-terrorism and de-radicalization, it is important to fully respect countries' sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and unity, without interference in domestic affairs. Double Standards must be rejected. Terrorism and extremism should not be linked with any specific area, ethnicity or religion. With extremism being a global challenge, BRICS countries have both the responsibility and capability to play a positive and constructive role in de-radicalization, and to vigorously promote international cooperation on de-radicalization.

On 19-20 April, the Chinese side also attended meetings of subgroups on countering terrorist financing, capacity building, countering foreign terrorist fighters, and misuse of Internet for terrorist purpose, chaired by South Africa, Brazil, Russia and India respectively.
The First Senior Officials' Meeting for the Seventh Meeting for BRICS Ministers of Culture Held (Состоялось первое совещание старших должностных лиц седьмой встречи министров культуры стран БРИКС) / China, April, 2022
Keywords: top_level_meeting

On April 20th, the First Senior Officials' Meeting for the Seventh Meeting for BRICS Ministers of Culture was held in Beijing in the form of VTC.

The meeting reviewed the the progress of cultural exchanges and cooperation among BRICS countries under the framework of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Agreement between the Governments of the BRICS States on Cooperation in the Field of Culture 2017-2021, discussed the agenda and arrangements for the 7th Meeting for BRICS Ministers of Culture, and focused on consultations on the draft outcome document of the ministers' meeting.
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