28 July 2018

Africa: 'Reject Unilateralism,' Xi Urges Brics Trade Bloc

Photo: GCIS
Brics Summit leaders - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, China President Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Michel Temer

Africa stands to benefit the most from a rejuvenated BRICS spurred on by trade and diplomatic wars between the US on one hand and Russia and China on the other.

At the recent BRICS summit in South Africa, China's President Xi Jinping urged countries not to accept unilateralism following recent proposals by President Donald Trump to impose heavy tariffs on China and other countries he claims have been cheating the US.

"We should pursue win-win co-operation to build an open economy," said President Xi, adding that "a trade war should be rejected, because there will be no winner".

"Economic hegemony is even more objectionable, as it will undermine the collective interests of the international community; those who pursue this course will only end up hurting themselves," he said.

The Chinese president said the BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- should firmly promote an open world economy; be resolute in rejecting unilateralism and protectionism; promote trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation; and jointly steer the global economy toward greater openness, inclusiveness, balanced growth and win-win outcomes for all.

Prior to heading to South Africa, President Xi and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited different African countries, including Rwanda and Uganda, to bolster diplomatic ties.

African countries could be the biggest beneficiaries as China, US and other trade partners seek to establish new ties following President Trump's decision to impose heavy tariffs, including a $500 billion tax on Chinese goods entering America.

Russia President Vladimir Putin and Brazil President Michel Temer were also in attendance.

Collaboration

Speaking at the BRICS Outreach session on Friday, Rwanda's President Paul Kagame also the African Union chair called for close collaboration between BRICS and African countries to push key sectors like industrialisation, infrastructure and trade.

"First, we have a common interest, in an open and fair international system. Second, strengthening co-operation with BRICS, contributes to medium and long-term human security and wider benefits, especially employment, for Africa's young population," said President Kagame.

President Kagame said that continued investments in new technologies provide unlimited opportunities that will help realise the continent's common aspirations.

"The newly launched African Continental Free Trade Area is set to change, in positive and far-reaching ways, how Africa does business with itself, and the rest of the world," he added.

"There is clearly a convergence of interests between Africa and BRICS members. By working together, we will continue to be a principal source of economic dynamism, in the years to come."

The BRICS summit brought together 27 countries, mainly from the continent.

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