Xi urges BRICS leaders to work together to boost globalisation as summit ends in China

Chinese leader ends meeting of emerging nations with appeal to step up efforts to achieve a more open and fairer economic order

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 September, 2017, 6:49pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 September, 2017, 9:38pm

China called for more support for free trade and a more open global economy as it wrapped up a summit of the world’s leading emerging market economies on Tuesday.

Addressing a summit for the BRICS nations – which also include Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa – on Tuesday in Xiamen, President Xi Jinping said emerging markets and developing countries would be the major engine for driving global growth but were confronted with more complicated and severe external situations.

He pledged US$500 million to help developing countries deal with challenges such as famine, refugees, climate change and public health.

“The economic downward risks and uncertainties are on the rise, multinational trade talks are facing setbacks, the implementation of the Paris Agreement is facing difficulties,” he said.

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US President Donald Trump recently withdrew America from the Paris Agreement to combat global warming.

Xi did not name any countries, but said some nations were less willing to take part in global cooperation, adding that their increasing focus on their own internal affairs had a knock-on effect on other countries.

He told leaders from BRICS members and five countries invited as guests – Mexico, Egypt, Thailand, Guinea and Tajikistan – that they should build an open economy and oppose protectionism and rebalance globalisation to make it more sustainable.

“We should make efforts to increase the presence and voice of emerging markets and developing countries in global economic governance, and promote a fairer and more reasonable global economic orders,” said Xi.

Germany’s ambassador to China Michael Clauss said it was timely for the BRICS nations to push for economic openness.

“It’s clear that tangible reforms, for example in China, would contribute a lot to supporting global free trade and open markets,” he said.

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The BRICS Summit in Xiamen was the latest key diplomatic event held in China ahead of the Party’s Congress which falls in October this year to mark top leadership reshuffle.

Despite the strong commitment for free trade and open economy, China has seen rising confrontation with its major trade partners who have criticised its reluctance to further ease market access to foreign investors.

Observers said Beijing’s wariness regarding economic cooperation with Russia and potential competition between China and India may not always bode well for the future of the BRICS.

Hu Xingdou, a professor with Beijing Institute of Technology, said the bloc shared common interests in free trade and fighting terrorism, but the question of how to address distrust between them, especially China and India, which were recently involved in a border dispute, was key to the future of BRICS.

“It will still take time for the BRICS to increase their influence in making global economic rules and political issues, and to become a counterweight to the G7,” said Hu.

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Xi also urged the emerging markets and developing countries to step up cooperation on infrastructure, industrialisation and urbanisation.

He also said climate change was a shared challenge for the world and developed countries should give more assistance in this fight.

Xi did not answer any questions at the briefing.

South Africa, which joined the group in 2010, will take the presidency of BRICS and host the tenth summit in Johannesburg next year.