South African Trade Minister Rob Davies condemns US trade war actions

“These actions are accompanied by growing disdain for multilateralism and global trade rules.”

Davies says US unilateral policies will disrupt global trade [Photo courtesy: DTI]

The South African Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, told the BRICS Business Council meeting in Durban South Africa that the US was creating global economic turbulence by ignoring long standing world trade rules and imposing unilateral actions.

Davies was speaking during the investments opportunities session on the first day of the sixth annual meeting of the BRICS Business Council in Durban.

“It is important to emphasise that we need to identify many more practical business-to-business projects for implementation as a way of driving forward our economic cooperation and intra-BRICS business cooperation. BRICS as a block is of strategic importance in the current global environment that we find ourselves in today. We have entered a period of turbulence in the global trading system,” said Davies.

He attributed the turbulence to the US, which he said was raising tariffs in violation of a whole lot of trade agreements or arrangements they may have with different countries, and doing it on a discriminatory basis in violation of the World Trade Organisation principles.

The US has imposed tariffs on aluminium and steel since March and is involved in an escalating trade war with China that could potential affect all of China’s exports to the US.

“These actions are accompanied by growing disdain for multilateralism and global trade rules. I think at the end of the day this is all about setting a call for a rebalancing of the global trade environment to the perceived advantage of the individual country and without any sense whatsoever of being in the interest of the global economy, inclusive development or anything of that sort,” Davies said.

He added that the global economic environment was also characterised by the Fourth Industrial Revolution which will have far-reaching implications and impact.

“The presence of these new technologies that are already here is going to be felt exponentially and disruptively across the world. The artificial intelligence and all of the new technologies are happening in the context of the world where there is huge inequality and the winner-takes-all markets. We need to work together and support each other to ensure that these technologies achieve their positive potential to increase global productivity and create a better life for many citizens of the world,” Davies added.

The theme of the Tenth BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from July 25 to 27 is “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”

He emphasised that BRICS had become an incredibly important and strategic institution as a third of the world’s population resides in the BRICS countries and the group of five countries contributes more than a fifth of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.

Helmo Preuss in Pretoria, South Africa for The BRICS Post

BRICS Summit in Johannesburg to cement solidarity

The theme is “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Organisers of the Tenth BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg are gearing up to welcome the more than 5,000 delegates from July 25 to 27.

More than 1,100 media have already been accredited and the media accreditation centre has been issuing media access badges since July 17.

The majority of the media are from China, South Africa, Russia, India, Russia and Brazil. Media from non-BRICS states also feature prominently on the list. The media houses sending the largest contingents of journalists are SABC, CCTV, CGTV, China Daily, Bloomberg, Reuters, Xhinua, RT and Independent News.

The South African government will be working to tackle the trade imbalance and also address complementary trade between it and its BRICS partners, South African government officials said on Thursday.

Lerato Mataboge, deputy director-general at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), said that South Africa’s largest export destination was China followed by India, Brazil and Russia, and the trend was the same with imports, with China as the largest source of imports into South Africa.

“One of the concerns for South Africa in this summit is to find a balance of the export basket as the country still exports a lot of primary goods to BRICS countries while importing value-added products from them,” Mataboge said.

“We hope the Summit will bring more collaboration between the member states and focus on inclusive development and peace,” Ambassador Professor Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s advisor in the BRICS Summit, said.

The Presidency has already confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa will host President Xi Jinping of China on Tuesday, the day before the BRICS Summit.

“Whilst the US has always ignored Africa, China recognised the economic role of Africa a long time ago and has a strong presence on the continent. This further strengthens the position of BRICS in the world order and can further strengthen trade and bi-lateral agreements between African nations,” Fatima Vawda, Managing Director of 27four Investment Managers told The BRICS Post.

Dawie Roodt, the chief economist at Efficient Group said the focus of the Summit would be on the trade wars.

“The Russians and the Chinese are more interested in the trade war and other international and local issues. I am currently in Siberia and I can see how their economy is struggling. Also, South Africa’s own economic woes mean that we are less attractive. One probable outcome of the BRICS Summit is probably some announcement of a loan to South Africa,” he told The BRICS Post.

Helmo Preuss in Pretoria, South Africa for The BRICS Post

BRICS NDB bank loans to reach $2.5 bln in 2017 – official

Special Report on 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China

Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei (C), Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong (R) and President of the New Development Bank (NDB) of BRICS K.V. Kamath attend the launching ceremony of the bank in Shanghai, east China, July 21, 2015 [Xinhua]

The BRICS New Development Bank is hoping to increase the size of its loans in 2017, a Chinese Ministry of Finance official said on Thursday.

The statements by Zhou Qiangwu reiterate remarks made last year by the NDB Vice-President Zhu Xian.

While the bank gave the go-ahead for loans to seven projects reaching $1.5 billion in 2016, the amount of approved loans is expected to reach $2.5 in 2017.

“We want to fund projects that are creative and bring benefits to the local people and environment,” Zhu said earlier.

BRICS officials are also expecting that the three-day ninth BRICS summit to kick off in Xiamen, China on September 3 will significantly boost the bank’s reach and scope of funded projects.

Two weeks ago, the African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) was launched by South African President Jacob Zuma in Johannesburg.

The African Regional Center will allow countries in the continent to have access to the $100 billion NDB.

The BRICS Bank has 23 projects at various stages of preparation for 2017 to 2018, with a total lending amount of $6 billion, NDB President K.V. Kamath said at a press conference last month in Shanghai.

Some of the bank’s biggest loans in 2016 targeted green and sustainable development such asr an offshore wind power energy generation project in China’s Fujian Province, and a transportation and roads project in the Madhya Pradesh state in central India.

The Madhya Pradesh project focuses on weather-proofing and improved road maintenance and asset management.

Financing sustainable development and infrastructure projects and local currency financing remain the focus of the New Development Bank launched by the BRICS countries, according to a new policy document for the next five years.

The new lender has said it plans to expand membership gradually.

“NDB signifies developing countries’ coming of age and reflects their aspirations to stand on their own feet,” according to the 2017-2021 strategy document.

BRICS members, China, India and Russia are also the three largest shareholders in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Both the BRICS Bank and the AIIB will extend China’s financial reach and compete not only with the World Bank, but also with the Asian Development Bank, which is heavily dominated by Japan.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies