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BRICS calls for global trade growth, stronger multilateralism

BRICS calls for global trade growth, stronger multilateralism
July 27
09:32 2018

Johannesburg, July 27 (IANS) Member states of the BRICS economic bloc on Thursday called for sustainable growth of global trade and expressed determination to work together to strengthen multilateralism.

“BRICS economies continue to support global economic expansion and outlook,” said the Johannesburg Declaration issued following the 10th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit here.

“We advocate continued use of fiscal, monetary and structural policies in concert, to forge strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth,” it stated.

In what can be seen as a stinging indictment of US President Donald Trump’s protectionism measures by getting into tariff wars with other countries, the BRICS nations expressed concern over some macro-economic policies “adopted by some advanced countries”.

“We express concern at the spill-over effects of macro-economic policy measures in some major advanced economies that may cause economic and financial volatility in emerging economies and impact their growth prospects adversely.

“We call on major advanced and emerging market economies to continue policy dialogue and coordination in the context of the G20, FSB (Financial Stability Board) and other fora to address these potential risks,” said the statement.

While China is locked in a trade war with the US, which accuses Beijing of dodgy business practices, New Delhi last month decided to hike tariffs on 30 US products in retaliation to Trump’s decision to slap more taxes on Indian steel and aluminum.

The BRICS nations stressed “the importance of a favourable external environment for sustained growth of global trade”.

According to the 23-page Johannesburg Declaration, the five member-states reinforced their commitment to upholding multilateralism and to working together on the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals “as we foster a more representative, democratic, equitable, fair and just international political and economic order”.

“We reiterate our determination to work together to strengthen multilateralism and the rule of law in international relations, and to promote a fair, just, equitable, democratic and representative international order,” it said.

“We recommit our support for multilateralism and the central role of the United Nations in international affairs and uphold fair, just and equitable international order based on the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, respect for international law, promoting democracy and the rule of law in international relations, and to address common traditional and non-traditional security challenges,” it stated.

In his interventions during the day’s proceedings, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the challenges faced by multilaterilism and rules-based international order.

“The Prime Minister emphasised that the objective of preserving multilateralism and the multilateral world order is not to maintain the status quo.

“He reminded the leaders that BRICS came together 10 years ago for change and for reform of the world order,” said T.S. Tirumurti, Secretary, Economic Relations, in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, at a media briefing.

“Therefore, he said, what we need today is reformed multilateralism, not going back to the status quo of multilateralism.”

As in past summits, the BRICS also condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations “wherever committed and whosoever”, called for concerted efforts to counter it under the UN auspices on a firm international legal basis and expressed conviction that a comprehensive approach is necessary to ensure an effective fight against it.

“We recall the responsibility of all States to prevent financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories,” said the Declaration.

he BRICS nations also called for expeditious finalisation and adoption of the India-initiated Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) by the UN General Assembly.

According to Tirumurti, Modi also recalled the BRICS common understanding reached on countering terrorism adopted during the various past summits and referred to terrorism and extremism as the biggest threats.

Keeping with the event’s theme of “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”, the Declaration said that the Summit commended the establishment of the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR).

In his address at the plenary session earlier in the day, Modi said that India wants to work with other BRICS nations to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The PartNIR aims at deepening BRICS cooperation in digitalisation, industrialisation, innovation, inclusiveness and investment, to maximise the opportunities and address the challenges arising from the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the Declaration said.

The Summit also acknowledged the importance of infrastructure development and connectivity in Africa and recognised “the strides made by the African Union to identify and address the continent’s infrastructure challenges” to support “industrial development, job creation, skills development, food and nutrition security and poverty eradication and sustainable development”.

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