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Brics members slam US trade tariffs

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang YI said Brics must form a common position and respond vigorously to protectionisms.

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu at the meeting of the Brics ministers of foreign affairs and international relations in Pretoria. Picture: Dirco Facebook page.

PRETORIA - Foreign ministers of the world's strongest emerging economies have slammed President Donald Trump’s imposition of protectionist tariffs on goods.

At their meeting in Pretoria preparing for the summit of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) in July, they carefully avoided naming the US president in their criticism.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu tried to hand off a question about US trade tariffs by saying she and her counterparts had not discussed individual countries.

Her Brics counterparts were having none of it.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang YI said Brics must form a common position and respond vigorously to protectionisms.

His Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj says Brics promoted the concept of a global family.

Protectionism is expected to become a hot-button issue at the full Brics summit in Sandton in July.

'UNJUSTIFIED'

British Prime Minister Theresa May told Trump on Monday that US tariffs imposed on EU steel and aluminium imports were “unjustified and deeply disappointing” during a phone call, her spokesman said.

“The prime minister raised the US decision to apply tariffs to EU steel and aluminium imports which she said was unjustified and deeply disappointing,” he told reporters.

“She said the US and UK and EU are close national security allies and we recognise the importance of the values of open and fair trade across the world. The prime minister also underlined the need to safeguard jobs.”