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BRICS leaders commit to open and free international trade in G20 Summit 2019

BRICS leaders on Friday stressed the importance of a favourable global economic environment for sustained growth of international trade, saying the world economic growth appears to be stabilising and is projected to pick up moderately later this year.

“However, the strengthening of growth remains highly uncertain, with rising trade and geopolitical tensions, commodity price volatility, inequality, and insufficiently inclusive growth, and tighter financial conditions adding to the risk,” said a joint statement issued after the informal meeting of BRICS nations on the sidelines of G-20 Summit.

“Global imbalances remain large and persistent and require thorough monitoring and timely policy responses. We further stress the importance of a favourable global economic environment for sustained growth of international trade.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa attended the meeting to exchange ideas.

They called for open markets, stronger economic resilience and financial stability besides well-designed and coordinated macroeconomic policies. The BRICS leaders also called for structural reforms, adequate investment in a human capital reduction in poverty levels and inequality.

The joint statement said the leaders called for effective competition to promote investment and innovation; open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environments; cooperation in public-private partnerships (PPP); and infrastructure financing and development.

“International and domestic measures in these areas and others will contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic growth. We call for greater participation of developing countries in the global value chains. We recognise the importance of the interface between trade and the digital economy. We also affirm the role of data for development.”

The leaders said the World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism is an indispensable pillar of the multilateral trading system and the appellate body is essential for the proper and effective functioning of the organisation.

The BRICS leaders said corruption, including illicit money and financial flows, and ill-gotten wealth stashed in foreign jurisdictions, is a global challenge which may impact negatively on economic growth and sustainable development.

“We will strive to coordinate our approach and encourage a stronger global commitment in this regard. We also recognise the need to strengthen cooperation, subject to domestic legal systems, in anti-corruption law enforcement, extradition of fugitives, economic and corruption offenders, and in recovering stolen assets.”

They added: “We reaffirm our commitment to support international cooperation in combating illicit financial flows, including cooperation within the Financial Actions Task Force (FATF), the World Customs Organisation and other relevant multilateral mechanisms.”

The five-member nation met for an informal meeting ahead of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, scheduled later in the day.

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