Brics News

China reports rising exports of cultural products

China's exports of cultural products rose 4.9 percent in 2018 from the previous year to 92.53 billion U.S. dollars, the Ministry of Commerce said. Exports of Chinese arts and crafts gained 9.9 percent from one year earlier, while publication exports added 5.9 percent. Exports to countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative rose to a record high of 16.29 billion U.S. dollars, while exports to BRICS nations and Latin America surged 18.1 percent and 14.5 percent, respectively. BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Private enterprises played a bigger role last year, with exports accounting for 55.4 percent of the total, up 2.2 percentage points year on year. Imports of cultural products jumped 10.3 percent to 9.85 billion U.S. dollars last year. The surplus stood at 82.68 billion U.S. dollars, up 4.3 percent year on year. China's trading partners of cultural products became more diverse, with the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Japan as the major markets for cultural products exports from China.

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India to not cut any deal with China or others to blacklist JeM chief at UNSC

While China has opposed the move to blacklist JeM chief Masood Azhar at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), India has been mulling at other options to build its case against Azhar.JeM, which is allegedly based in Pakistan, has been responsible for many attacks in Indian-controlled Kashmir, including the one in February, which led to tensions between India and Pakistan. Earlier this week, China again vetoed the move at United Nations to blacklist the JeM chief, urging India to have ‘more’ discussions on the issue. The move evoked widespread anger and outrage in India, with people calling for boycott of Chinese goods and products on social media. There has been speculation that India might announce strong measures as retaliation against China, the new all-weather ally of Pakistan and India’s traditional rival.

However, according to reports, Indian government has chosen to act patiently and not cut any deal with China or any other country to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council. New Delhi has instead decided to work on further strengthening its case against Azhar and his sponsors, according to reports in sections of Indian media. A report in Economic Times, quoting a source, said “enough evidence” was available on Azhar and his terror outfit in Pakistan which can be “independently verifiable”. “The government is ready for a long haul and will continue with its endeavours through UN and other international bodies to act against the Pakistan based terrorist,” the report said, quoting sources. The government, as part of this process, will step up engagement with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) ahead of its next meeting in mid-2019 to put Pakistan to task for failing to control terror funding, it added. FATF, which has put Pakistan on its grey list, has accused Islamabad of not doing enough to curb the finances of terror groups like the JeM and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

India has also decided to step up pressure on Pakistan through the BRICS bloc where China is a member, according to reports. BRICS has included counter-terrorism a part of its broad agenda. The proposal at the UN against Azhar was brought in the wake of 14 February terror attack in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, which killed at least 44 members of India’s paramilitary forces. It was the deadliest attack on Indian forces stationed in Kashmir in three decades of insurgency, and briefly brought the two nuclear powers to the brink of full-fledged war. While 14 members of the UN Security Council expressed support for the proposal banning Azhar, China vetoed it, making headway difficult. China is one of the permanent members of the UNSC. This is not the first instance of China blocking the move to designate Azhar a terrorist at the UN, a move that will curtail his travel, freeze his assets and choke his finances. A statement issued by the Indian government expressed “disappointment" over China’s veto. When China had blocked a similar proposal brought by India in 2016, an Indian statement had then said that India had raised the matter with the Chinese at the “highest levels.”

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Brazil’s Progression towards Greater Integration with the World Economy

Following the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in mid-2016 and the inauguration of President Michel Temer, who had been Vice President, the new team responsible for Brazil’s international economic agenda worked diligently for greater integration of our country into the world economy. That has happened in many areas, including relations with international organizations, the domestic framework for officially supported export credits and trade policy. With regard to relations with international organizations, the team has contributed to deepen Brazil´s participation in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the mandate of which focuses on the discussion and international consolidation of best practices in public policies.

Brazil’s Finance Ministry paved the way for the submission of the Brazilian Government´s request for OECD membership in May 2017; the beginning of a process that has resulted, so far, in a significant expansion of Brazilian adherence to the OECD legal instruments. The country has already adhered to 56 instruments and requested adherence to another 79, which qualifies Brazil as the non-member country with the highest degree of compliance to OECD standards. The process of Brazil’s adherence to the Codes of Liberalization of Capital Movements and Current Invisible Operations, a key instrument in the OECD normative framework, started in 2017 and is expected to be concluded in 2019. The government-wide effort required for this adherence to happen also counted on leadership from Brazil’s central bank, the Ministry of Foreign Relations and former President Temer’s own cabinet. The Ministry has also supported the strengthening of financial cooperation within the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) movement, aimed at forging stronger partnerships geared to national development.

Of particular note are initiatives for the effective launching of operations of the New Development Bank (NDB), composed of the five BRICS members. The Ministry’s efforts contributed to results in two areas: (i) approval of four projects funded by the NDB in Brazil since 2017, corresponding to a portfolio equivalent of US$621 million; and (ii) the signing in July 2018 of a Headquarters Agreement for the establishment of the Regional Office of the Americas, which will operate in São Paulo and will have a representative office in Brasília.The opening of the Regional Office in 2019 will contribute to the identification of projects and the expansion of the NDB portfolio within the public and private sectors in Brazil.

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