Sputnik discussed the statement with Daniel Bradlow, SARChI Professor of International Development Law and African Economic Relations at the University of Pretoria.
Sputnik: President Xi has called for rejection of a trade war. How likely is it to be avoided and what could BRICS nations do in this regard?
Daniel Bradlow: What the BRICS nations can do is by helping each other trade more they can diversify a bit away from the United States and make it easier for all five of them to remain engaged with trade without the US if necessary, or at least to reduce their dependence on the US.
Sputnik: There is obviously increased opportunity not least with increased trading with the US, the potential of maybe even getting a trade deal with the United Kingdom. That was, until recently, the fifth largest trading nation on Earth, so there’s obviously opportunities there as well. I suppose it’s interesting times for the BRICS nations, they should be, by its actual nature, increasing in trade and prosperity, would you go along with that?
Daniel Bradlow: It should, they’re all important economies both within their own region and within the world, so it helps not only each other but their own regions, if they can trade more with each other and help each other develop. For example, for South Africa we are mainly a commodity exporter and if we can develop more, stronger supply chain links and develop, diversify our exports to other countries that would be a big gain for us, and it looks like there's some movement in that direction. You might’ve seen President Xi and President Cyril Ramaphosa opened up a new Chinese car manufacturer in South Africa, so there is some real potential.
Sputnik: Just give us an insight into potential that South Africa has got, because really you want to grasp this opportunity. What are the areas that you would hope, as a professor there of international development in South Africa, where they could really try and move ahead and push forward, and embrace the opportunities that the current global situation gives?
Daniel Bradlow: Well one obvious area is tourism, we have lots of important tourism and lots of attractions for tourists. The BRICS countries have been working to reduce visa barriers, for example, between each other. One of the areas that they’re exploring at this meeting is greater collaboration around tourism, so that's one area. Another one, as you say, with Russia we have a gate way to quite a big market in Southern Africa and potentially to the rest of the continent. So other countries could see coming to South Africa as a way to get into the rest of the continent and to develop links. As you may know, South Africa recently signed a continental free trade agreement that ultimately will turn the whole continent into a free trade area, and that, I would’ve assume, should be of great interest to all the other BRICS countries.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.