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China's Xi says nations need to oppose protectionism

Xi told leaders from the BRICS states and other developing countries meeting in the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen that countries needed to oppose protectionism and rebalance globalisation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries on the sidelines of the 2017 BRICS Summit in Xiamen, southeastern China's Fujian Province on 5 September 2017. Picture: AFP

XIAMEN - Countries need to work closely to build an open world economy and not to lose sight of growing risks and downward pressure on the economy, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday.

Xi told leaders from the BRICS states and other developing countries meeting in the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen that countries needed to oppose protectionism and rebalance globalisation to make it more sustainable.

China will give $80 million in funding for BRICS cooperation plans, Xi Jinping said on Monday.

Xi offered $76.4 million for a BRICS economic and technology cooperation plan, and another $4 million for projects at the group’s New Development Bank (NDB) during a three-day leaders summit in the southeastern city of Xiamen.

China’s new contributions to BRICS pale in comparison to its $124 billion pledge earlier in May for Xi’s own Belt and Road initiative, which aims to expand links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond as a new way to boost global development.

The announcement came amid questions over the relevance of BRICS and China’s commitment to the NDB in light of the Belt and Road initiative and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, both key efforts by Beijing to bolster its global influence.

Xi said during a plenary session at the BRICS leaders’ summit that the five emerging economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - should increase cooperation in sectors such as trade and investment, monetary policy and finance, and sustainable development.

“We should redouble our efforts to comprehensively deepen BRICS partnerships and open BRICS cooperation,” he said.

Set up in 2015 as an alternative to the World Bank, the Shanghai-headquartered NDB was seen as the first major BRICS achievement after the group came together in 2009 to press for a bigger say in the post-World War Two financial order created by Western powers.

The BRICS leaders will gather in Xiamen through Tuesday, giving host China its latest chance to position itself as a bulwark of globalization in the face of US President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda.

A draft “Xiamen Declaration” seen by Reuters, a formal version of which is expected to be issued later, said BRICS countries will continue to firmly oppose protectionism as they are committed to an “open and inclusive” multilateral trading system.

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