China's Xi says BRICS must promote open world economy

(EBC; September 4, 2017) - The BRICS group of emerging economies must promote trade liberalization and an open world economy, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at a business meeting on Sunday at the start of a three-day summit being held in southeastern China.

The heads of state from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will gather in the city of Xiamen through Tuesday, giving China as host its latest chance to position itself as a bulwark of globalization in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" agenda.

BRICS leaders will be joined by observer countries: Thailand, Mexico, Egypt, Guinea and Tajikistan, and officials will discuss a "BRICS Plus" plan to possibly expand the bloc to new members.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto is set to be in China to discuss trade and investment, as Trump has renewed threats to scrap the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that he has labeled a killer of U.S. jobs.

"We should push for an open world economy, promote trade liberalization and facilitation, jointly create a new global value chain, and realize a global economic rebalancing," Xi told BRICS business leaders and senior officials.

Xi said he still had "full confidence" in BRICS countries' development despite claims that the bloc's relevance had faded due to slower growth.

"The development of emerging market and developing countries won't touch anyone's cheese, but instead will diligently grow the world economic pie," he said.

Earlier, Chinese vice trade minister, Wang Shouwen, said the BRICS meeting was expected to "reach consensus for actions" to oppose trade protectionism. He added that China was interested in possibly establishing a free trade agreement with Mexico.

Source: Reuters