Xi urges fellow BRICS countries to reject go-it-alone trade

Chinese President Xi Jinping was speaking at the Brics summit on Wednesday

Chinese President Xi Jinping said there would be no victor in a global trade war, urging fellow developing powers on Wednesday to reject unilateralism in the wake of tariff threats by US President Donald Trump.

"A trade war should be rejected because there will be no victor", Xi said at the opening of a BRICS summit of emerging economies in Johannesburg.

"Unilateralism and protectionism are mounting, dealing a severe blow to multilateralism", he said.

Trump's warnings have given Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa fresh impetus to enhance trade cooperation, and their leaders found a collective voice championing global trade as they began a three-day BRICS summit in Johannesburg.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa shake hands after a press conference following their meeting at the Union Building in Pretoria, on July 24, 2018.

"We also recognized that, although trade figures have grown steadily over the past few years, bilateral trade has not reached its potential".

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The two countries should enhance high-level strategic coordination and continue to support each other in worldwide affairs, so as to jointly build a new type of global relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, Xi said.

Hours earlier, Trump accused China of "vicious" tactics on trade, tweeting that China was specifically targeting U.S. farmers with retaliatory tariffs because "they know I love & respect" them.

"As we enter the second decade of Brics cooperation, we are determined to expand the bank's role in socioeconomic development". While they have combined foreign-exchange reserves of $4-trillion, the group's currencies, stocks and bonds took a hit from the trade war and the US Federal Reserve's policy tightening. "The urgency this time is greater", he said.

After the opening ceremony President Ramaphosa announced that China had promised investments worth $14.7bn into South Africa. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived on Monday on the way to a summit in South Africa and agreed $200 million in loans.

The meeting opens on Wednesday afternoon with a business forum, before the heads of state hold talks on Thursday.

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