Chinese President Xi Jinping said Wednesday that the world faces "a choice between cooperation and confrontation" in remarks critical of escalating USA tariffs on goods from China and other major trading partners.
"As we enter the second decade of Brics cooperation, we are determined to expand the bank's role in economic and social development", he said, adding "Intra-Brics cooperation has been gaining momentum in areas such as finance; agriculture; trade; combating transnational crime; science and technology; health; education; security; and academic dialogue".
"We are very privileged as South Africa to be hosting the 10th BRICS summit for the second time, many of you would remember that we hosted the BRICS summit in Durban, the Ethekwini summit in 2013 and this is an opportune time to host, as we are also celebrating Madiba's centenary", South African ambassador to BRICS Anil Sooklal told the media last Thursday at a BRICS roundtable.
The Chinese leader told the summit that "we are facing a choice between cooperation and confrontation, between opening up and a closed-door policy".
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China this week sharply rejected accusations by Donald Trump that it was manipulating the yuan to give its exporters an edge, saying Washington appeared determined to provoke a trade war.
Mr Trump has said he is ready to impose tariffs on all $500 billion of Chinese imports, complaining that China's trade surplus with the USA is due to unfair currency manipulation.
In the face of growing protectionism globally, South Africa needs to focus on being more competitive rather than fixating on external factors, Fuzile said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Michel Temer are attending the summit, along with several African leaders invited as guests.
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Analysts say USA trade policy could give the group renewed unity.
Sreeram Chaulia, of the Jindal School of International Affairs outside Delhi, told AFP that BRICS leaders "concur that the USA has unleashed punitive trade wars that are hurting all the BRICS members".
"They come with the national interests of their countries". South Africa being part of crafting a new direction can only be positive if it is handled correctly by the government.
Chinese President Xi Jinping raised his concerns as the three-day summit began in South Africa.
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Heads of states from Brazil, Russia, India and China and African states such as Zambia, Egypt and Rwanda are expected to attend the summit held between July 25 and 27. He cited the country's ranking at 21 on the World Bank's Doing Business 2018 report and Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index 2016, on which the UAE is ranked as the 24th least corrupt out of 176 assessed economies, as potential reasons.