Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on fellow BRICS countries to remain united in opposition to protectionism and “unilateralism” in the wake of threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to impose global trade tariffs.
Xi on July 25 said the world must decide "between cooperation and confrontation" as there “will be no winner” should a global trade war erupt.
"Unilateralism and protectionism are mounting, dealing a severe blow to multilateralism and the multilateral trading regime," Xi told the opening of the 10th summit of BRICS countries in Johannesburg, South Africa.
"We are facing a choice between cooperation and confrontation," said Xi, who added that his country would pursue economic development with its “doors wide open.”
The BRICS group unites the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Before the opening, South African Trade Minister Rob Davies said the international trade system was experiencing a period of "enormous turbulence," citing concerns over new U.S. tariffs and retaliatory actions from other countries.
Trump has accused China, along with the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and other allies, of conducting unfair trade policies and has threatened to impose harsh tariffs unless the countries agree to new trade deals with the United States. Some of the sanctions have already been put in place.
The official agenda for the BRICS summit also includes topic such as peacekeeping, new technologies, and vaccine research.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the heads of several African countries have also been invited to attend the summit.
The BRICS group represents more than 40 percent of the world's population.