Xi stresses an open world economy
The BRICS group of emerging economies must promote trade liberalization and an open world economy, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at a business meeting yesterday at the start of a summit in southeast China.
Lamenting that “protectionism and an inward-looking mentality are on the rise,” Xi said that “only openness delivers progress and only inclusiveness sustains such progress.”
Xi was speaking to business representatives of the BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — a day before he opens a summit with the leaders of these major emerging markets in Xiamen.
This will be the ninth summit of the BRICS grouping, which came together about a decade ago to push for an alternative world order that wasn’t dominated by Western nations.
Xi said the BRICS nations had led the way in increasing the say of emerging economies and developing countries.
“The law of the jungle where the strong prey on the weak and the zero-sum game are rejected,” he told his audience, which included Brazilian President Michel Temer and South African President Jacob Zuma.
“We should not ignore problems arising from economic globalization or just complain about them,” he said. Rather, BRICS nations should work together with other members of the international community to find solutions, he said.
The heads of state from the BRICS nations are in Xiamen through tomorrow, giving China, as host, its latest chance to position itself as a bulwark of globalization in the face of US President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda.
The 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 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 US 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 the meeting of 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.
In July, Xi called on members of the G20 nations to champion an open world economy, and at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January offered a vigorous defense of globalization.
In Xiamen, Xi closed his speech by saying that China encouraged Chinese companies to continue going abroad, and “warmly welcomed” other countries’ firms to invest in the world’s second-largest economy.
“The Chinese government will continue to encourage Chinese companies to operate and take root in other countries and likewise we also warmly welcome foreign companies to invest and operate in China,” he said.