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September 5, 2017

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Xi announces US$80m funding for BRICS plans

CHINA will give US$80 million in funding for BRICS cooperation plans, President Xi Jinping said yesterday, while the bloc of five emerging economies pledged to oppose protectionism.

Xi offered 500 million yuan (US$76.6 million) for a BRICS economic and technology cooperation plan, and another US$4 million for projects at the group’s New Development Bank during the three-day leaders summit in the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen.

Xi said 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 II financial order created by Western powers.

Brazilian President Michel Temer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South African President Jacob Zuma were welcomed by Xi before the opening of the summit, themed “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future.”

The summit is widely expected to set the future course for the group, which accounts for about 43 percent of the world’s population and has contributed more than half of global economic growth over the past decade.

Xi raised his vision to “comprehensively deepen” BRICS partnership, including seeking practical results in economic cooperation, strengthening complementarity of development strategies and making the international order more just and equitable.

He noted the different national conditions of the five countries, but stressed differences can be transcended and win-win results achieved.

He called on BRICS members to bring their comparative strengths in resources, markets and labor force to release growth potential and the creativity of 3 billion people.

While uncertainties and downside risks persist with inward-looking policies weighing on global growth prospects, Xi stressed the promotion of results-oriented economic cooperation, “the foundation of BRICS cooperation.”

The potential for BRICS cooperation has yet to be fully unleashed, Xi said, citing the five countries’ foreign investment of US$197 billion in 2016, just 5.7 percent of which took place among BRICS members.

He said BRICS should work for a new type of international relations and push for economic globalization that is “open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.”

A Xiamen Declaration adopted by the leaders said BRICS countries will continue to oppose protectionism as they are committed to an “open and inclusive” multilateral trading system.

The communique emphasized the need to be vigilant in guarding against “inward-looking policies” that could hurt global market confidence, and called on all countries to fully implement the Paris climate agreement.

During the summit, China is holding a Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries, in which the leaders of Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand will join BRICS leaders to discuss global development cooperation.


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