Member states of the Brics group, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, should strengthen their ties to mitigate the impact of turmoil in the global trading system, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Wednesday.
A global trading war is brewing between the United States and countries such as China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union over tariffs that could have dire implications for the global economy.
“We are living at a time of enormous turbulence in the global trading system and indeed a moment of crisis for the global multilateral trading system,” Davies told the Brics business forum in Johannesburg, marking the start of the group’s 10th summit.
“I think what is clear to all of us is that this is a moment when we need to strengthen and deepen the partnership between our countries.”
He said South Africa, like other developing countries, had become “collateral damage” in the US-led trading war, with Washington imposing tariffs on local steel producers, despite their accounting for less than one percent in sales of the alloy.
“We are not party to the trading wars, but many of us have been affected by the measures,” Davies told journalists on Wednesday on the sidelines of the forum.
“We are very much noncombatants in this. Noncombatant collateral damage is where we find ourselves.”
Davies noted that Brics had recently been a “disproportional source of global economic growth” and that the International Monetary Fund was predicting that the five-member union would over the next five years be responsible for more global economic growth than the G7 group of developed states.
“This is a significant grouping of countries in the world,” Davies told the forum.
South Africa, the newest Brics member, is hosting the July 25 – 27 summit with a focus on “collaboration for inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the fourth industrial revolution”.