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Open global economy vital despite slowdown: BRICS diplomats

By An Baijie in Nanjing | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-02-23 20:04

China's proposal for boosting openness of global economies is during a time when the engine for global growth is losing power, said two senior diplomats from BRICS countries.

Anil Sooklal, Director-General for Asia and the Middle East of South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation, said China has chosen a very appropriate theme - strengthening BRICS partnership for a brighter future - for this year's meeting.

Sooklal made the remarks on Thursday while talking with reporters during a tea break of the ongoing the first BRICS Sherpa meeting for 2017, which is being held in Nanjing from Thursday to Friday.

"As President Xi said at the World Economic Forum, it's important that we have inclusive economic growth," said Sooklal, who is South Africa's Sherpa for the meeting.

This year is one of the most difficult years the world is experiencing as a global community, he said, mentioning the uncertainties brought forward by America's new administration and problems in the European Union.

"This provides a major vacuum on the global stage, and BRICS is the only coherent forum. The five countries are a powerful force for good in the world," he said, adding that BRICS is well placed to show leadership in terms of global economies.

Sergey A. Ryabkov, deputy minister of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Russia supports free trade and global trade as China has proposed.

"We are great supporters of WTO system. It took long for Russia to become a member of WTO, so we cannot now sacrifice what we've done there," he said.

"It's perfectly fine that China tries to present BRICS as an association with global reach," he said, adding Russia supports such moves.

"BRICS is not against anyone. We have an open mind. Countries from different continents will be invited, I understand, to the next summit in the beauty of Xiamen," he said.

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