Pretoria - BRICS nations today said they oppose the "new wave of protectionism" and the systematic impact of unilateral measures that are incompatible with WTO rules, apparently referring to US President Donald Trump's tough trade policies.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is on a five-day trip to South Africa, attended the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Foreign Ministers' meeting.
After the meeting, the foreign affairs ministers of BRICS nations reiterated BRICS commitment to multilateralism and a rules-based international order and in this regard reaffirmed the centrality of the UN, the WTO and international law.
The ministers pledged their support to efforts towards making global governance more representative with greater participation of emerging markets and developing countries in global decision making.
The ministers emphasized the importance of an open and inclusive world economy enabling all countries and peoples to share the benefits of globalisation, a statement released after the meeting said.
They underlined their firm commitment to free trade, and the centrality of a rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, multilateral trading system as embodied in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the statement said.
They opposed the new wave of protectionism and the systematic impact of unilateral measures that are incompatible with WTO rules, and undermines global trade, and economic growth.
"They reiterated that the WTO Dispute Settlement System is a cornerstone of the multilateral trading system (MTS) as it is designed to enhance security and predictability in international trade," the statement said.
The statement came as Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from top US trading partners, including Canada, Mexico and the European Union. He has threatened tariffs on up to USD 200 billion in Chinese imports, raising the potential of a trade war.
The BRICS ministers reaffirmed their resolve to foster a global economic governance architecture that is more effective and reflective of current global economic landscape, increasing the voice and representation of emerging markets and developing economies, it said.
They reaffirmed their commitment to conclude the International Monetary Fund's 15th General Review of Quotas, including a new quota formula, by the 2019 Spring Meetings.
The emerging counties, like India, China, Brazil and Russia, has been asking for increased voting rights in IMF, which would reflect their growing share in world economy.
They also deplored the continued terrorist attacks, including in some BRICS countries. They condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever.
"They urged concerted efforts to counter terrorism under the UN auspices on a firm international legal basis, and expressed their conviction that a comprehensive approach was necessary to ensure effective fight against terrorism," the statement said.
"They recalled the responsibility of all States to prevent financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories," it said.
They expressed concern over the ongoing conflict and heightened tensions in the Middle-East region, especially with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian situation.