China’s Xi urges global institutions to fight trade protectionism


JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a concerted effort by global institutions such as the United Nations, the G7 and the World Trade Organization to fight unilateralism and protectionism in a speech on Thursday at a BRICS summit in South Africa.

China’s President Xi Jinping takes his seat at the first closed session of the leaders of the BRICS summit meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Xi also called for dialogue to settle disputes on global trade, underlining remarks he made at the opening of the summit the previous day urging a rejection of unilateralism in the wake of tariff threats by U.S. President Donald Trump.

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 at the three-day summit.

“We must work together … to safeguard the rule-based multilateral trading regime; promote trade and investment, globalization and facilitation; and reject protectionism outright,” Xi said.

On Wednesday, Xi said there would be no winner in a global trade war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for more trade within the BRICS bloc.

He said the BRICS grouping represented a significant portion of global gross domestic product and welcomed closer cooperation between businesses from the countries within the bloc.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the bloc’s members to harness technology to develop their economies.

The meeting of BRICS leaders is the first since Trump’s administration launched a push to rebalance trade multilateralism that Trump has deemed unfair — relationships that the United States once championed.

Reporting by James Macharia, Alexander Winning and Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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