Brazil

Helio V. Ramos

Full country name: Federative Republic of Brazil

Area: 8,547,403 sq km

Population: 195 million (UN, 2010)

Capital City: Brasilia

Language: Portuguese

Religion: Roman Catholic (73.6%), Pentecostal (15.4%), Other (11%)

Currency: Real

Brazil Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Major political parties: Following elections in October 2010, the Worker’s Party (PT) became the largest party in Congress. It formed a coalition with some 10 other parties, giving it loose control of an overall majority in both chambers. However, in the 2006 elections the PT fell short of a majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The PT is a broad left party with close links to the trade union movement. The main opposition parties are the centre-left Social Democratic Party (PSDB), and the centre-right Democrats Party (DEM), formerly known as the Liberal Front Party (PFL).

Government: Brazil is a Federal Republic consisting of 26 States and the Federal District.  States have considerable autonomy, being responsible for such issues as security and education.  The President is both Head of State and Leader of the Government.  Elections for President and Congress take place every 4 years.

Legislature: The 1988 Constitution provides for an elective bicameral Congress consisting of a Federal Senate (81 seats) and a Chamber of Deputies (513 seats).
Head of State: President Dilma Vana Rousseff
Foreign Minister: Ambassador Antonio Patriota
Membership of international groupings/organisations: United Nations, Organisation of American States, Mercosul, World Trade Organisation, G77, ALADI (Latin American Integration Association), Rio Group, ECLAC (UN Economic Commission for Latin America & the Caribbean), Union of South American Nations.

Russia

Mr. Evgeni Primakov

Land Area: 6,592,812 sq mi (17,075,400 sq km); total area:6,592,735 sq mi (17,075,200 sq km)

Population (2014 est.):142,470,272 (growth rate: –0.03%); birth rate: 11.87/1000; infant mortality rate: 7.08/1000; life expectancy: 70.16; density per sq mi: 21.5

Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Moscow, 11.621 million

Other large cities: St. Petersburg, 4.866 million; Novosibirsk, 1.478 million; Yekaterinburg, 1.355 million; Nizhny Novgorod, 1.245 million; Samara, 1.166 million

Monetary unit: Russian ruble (RUR)

National name: Rossiyskaya Federatsiya

Languages: Russian (official) 96.3%, Dolgang 5.3%, German 1.5%, Chechen 1%, Tatar 3%, other 10.3% (2010 est.)

Ethnicity/race: Russian 77.7%, Tatar 3.7%, Ukrainian 1.4%, Bashkir 1.1%, Chuvash 1%, Chechen 1%, other 10.2%, unspecified 3.9% (2010)

Religions:  Russian Orthodox 15%–20%, other Christian 2%, Islam 10%–15% (2006 est.; includes practicing worshippers only)

Literacy rate: 99.7% (2010 est.)

Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Headed by President Mr. Evgeni Primakov, the RF CCI (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation) is both a non-profit and nongovernmental organization focused on meeting the goals and objectives laid out in the Russian Federation Law on Chambers of Commerce and Industry whilst helping to increase the growth of Russia’s economy into the worldwide economic system. The RF CCI represents companies of various sizes and is in involved in all business sectors such as agriculture, domestic and foreign trade, the finance system, manufacturing and also the service sector.

Some of the many tasks of the RF CCI include helping to create and maintain connections with foreign partner organizations and worldwide business organizations, providing adequate support in the development of new innovations and modern technology, developing and increasing the level of business service infrastructure in order to broaden the amount of service offered to businesses and active involvement in drafting regulatory acts and laws affecting Russian entrepreneurs.

Today the RF CCI has helped to unite over 20,000 companies and public institutions and includes 156 regional chambers of commerce and industry and 16 foreign representative offices. As a western-based producer you can utilize the services offered by the chamber through consultations from the Chamber’s experts in regards to various sectors of trade activity

India

Dr Jyotsna Suri

Area: 3,287,623m sq km (1,269,219 sq miles)

Population: 1.21 billion (provisional Government of India Census data, 2015)

Capital City: New Delhi

Languages: The official language of India is Hindi, written in the Devanagari script and spoken by some 30% of the population as a first language. Since 1965 English has been recognised as an ‘associated language’. In addition there are 18 main and regional languages recognised for adoption as official state languages.

Religions: India is a secular state and freedom of religion is protected under the Constitution. The main religious groups are Hindus (80.5%), Muslims (13.4%), Christians (2.3%) and Sikhs (1.9%).

Currency: Rupee

Government: United Progressive Alliance, a Congress-led coalition.

Head of State: President Pranab Mukherjee

Prime Minister: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Foreign Minister: Salman Kurshid

Nominal GDP: $1,826.8 (IMF, 2015)

GDP Growth: 6.8% (2014)

India Chamber of Commerce and Industry

India is a federal country. The Indian Constitution provides a system of parliamentary and cabinet government both at the centre and in the states. The Indian Parliament consists of the President, elected for a five-year term as the constitutional head of the executive and two Houses: The Lower House – Lok Sabha (‘House of the People’) – directly elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage; and the Upper House – Rajya Sabha (‘Council of States’) – indirectly elected by the members of state legislative assemblies.

Whilst neither can command a clear Parliamentary majority, following their good performance in the May 2009 general election, the Congress is now in a dominant position and heads the ruling coalition at the Centre, called the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).  The BJP leads the Opposition alliance known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

China

Jianlong YU

Area: 9,956,960 sq km (3.7m sq miles)

Population: 1.3 bn

Capital City: Beijing

People: Han Chinese make up around 92% of the population. The remaining 8% is comprised of five minority ethnic groups.

Official Language: Mandarin (Putonghua) with many local dialects.

Religion(s): China is officially atheistic, but there are five State-Registered religions: Daoism, Buddhism, Islam, Catholic and Protestant Christianity.

Currency: Yuan or Renminbi (RMB)

Major political parties: Chinese Communist Party

GDP: US $6.9trn (est.) (2011)

GDP per capita: Int’l $8,394 per capita (2011 – source: IMF)

Annual Growth: 9.2% (est.) (2011)

Consumer prices: 4.8% (est.) (2011)

Government: There are major hierarchies in China: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the National People’s Congress (China’s legislature), the government and the military. The supreme decision-making body in China is the CCP Politburo and its 9-member Standing Committee, which acts as a kind of ‘inner cabinet’, and is headed by the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. The National People’s Congress (NPC) is China’s legislative body. It has a 5-year membership and meets once a year in plenary session. However, in practice it is the CCP who takes all key decisions.

Head of State and General Secretary of the CCP: President Hu Jintao

Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC: Wu Bangguo

Premier of the State Council: Wen Jiabao

State Councillor (Foreign Affairs): Dai Bingguo

Foreign Minister: Yang Jiechi

China Chamber of Commerce and Industry

China has been one of the world’s economic success stories since reforms began in 1978. China is the world’s second biggest economy. Official figures show that GDP has grown on average by 10% a year over the past 30 years with an estimate of 9.2% recorded for 2011.

The current growth model, and policy underlying it, remains heavily skewed towards exports and investment, with little emphasis on private consumption. China has started to adjust its economic policies to better promote sustainable growth.

Undertake more banking reform (and encourage banks to provide finance to rural areas and smaller firms)
Develop the capital markets (so firms can more easily raise finance)
Further reform of the insurance sector to expand the options available to consumers and
Provide a sounder regulatory structure aimed at promoting financial integration.

A growing share of China’s economic growth has been generated in the private sector as the government has opened up industries to domestic and foreign competition, though the role of the state in ownership and planning remains extensive. China’s entry into the World Trade Organisation in December 2001 is further integrating China into the global economy.

South Africa

Alan Mukoki

Area: 1,228,376 sq km

Population: 50.6 million (IMF: 2011 estimate)

Capital city: Pretoria/Tshwane (1.78 million)

People: African/Black, White, Coloured, Indian/Asian

Languages: South Africa has eleven officially recognised languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Sepedi, Sesotho, siSwati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.

Religion(s): All principal religions are represented in South Africa, but the majority is Christian 79.8% at the 2001 census).

Currency: (ZAR) Rand

Major political parties: African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA), The Congress of the People (COPE), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), United Democratic Movement (UDM), Independent Democrats (ID), South African Communist Party (SACP)

Government: ANC Alliance – ANC/South African Communist Party (SACP)/Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)

Head of State: President Mr Jacob Zuma

Foreign Minister: Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
Membership of international groupings/organisations: United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), Commonwealth, Non Aligned Movement (NAM), Southern African Development Community (SADC), G20. BASIC, BRICS and IBSA.

GDP: US$408 billion (IMF 2011 estimate)

Annual growth: 3.1% (2011)

Inflation: 5.0% annually (2011 average)
Major industries: Finance, real estate and business services; General government, Wholesale, retail & motor trade, catering and accommodation, Manufacturing-automobile assembly, machinery, textile, iron & steel, chemicals, fertiliser, foodstuffs;; Mining (platinum, gold, chromium),  other
Major trading partners: China, USA,  Germany, Japan, UK

South Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry

South Africa has a sophisticated and diversified economy where finance, real estate and business services contribute 20.7% to GDP, manufacturing contributes 13.4% and mining plays a critical role in job creation.  For these sectors macro-economic indicators like interest rates and the strength of the Rand are critical. But it also has an economy consisting of the very poor who eke out a living through near-subsistence agriculture or the informal sector, for whom economic statistics mean little. Relatively small improvements in living standards can make a huge difference to their lives.

Prudent macroeconomic policies and tight banking regulation limited the impact of the global downturn on South Africa during the global financial crisis. And years of fiscal responsibility provided the space for the government to respond effectively when the country briefly dipped into recession in 2009. The National Treasury continues to implement a counter cyclical fiscal policy and forecasts a deficit of 4.8% of GDP for 2011/12 declining to 3% by 2014/15.

The National Treasury warned in February 2012 that the global outlook had once again deteriorated and that much of Europe, South Africa’s major trading partner, risked slipping into recession. This could harm domestic growth prospects. The National Treasury downgraded its growth forecast for 2012 from 3.4% to 2.7%. It is then expected to recover, reaching 4.2% by 2014. The forecasted growth rate falls short of the 6% rate analysts believe the country needs to tackle its stubbornly high unemployment levels. The official unemployment figure is 25.2% but the real figure is probably nearer 40%. Two thirds of all unemployed are below the age of 35.

The South African Government has embarked on an ambitious multi-year capital expenditure programme worth approximately £70 billion, to tackle infrastructure bottlenecks in energy, transport and water. It is hoped that the infrastructure programme will create short term employment and also provide the infrastructure necessary for the economy to grow at a faster pace in the longer term.

South Africa’s trade rhetoric is firmly focused on the BRICS (which it officially joined in February 2011) and it strives to be seen as the ‘gateway to Africa.’ But it still has strong links to the Western economies. Its trade with the EU, at £30bn, is still over double that of its single largest trading partner, China, at £13bn.