US President Donald Trump's hardening stance has compounded fears of an all-out trade war after he slapped levies on goods from China worth tens of billions of dollars and imposed tariffs on other global imports.

In the face of growing protectionism globally, South Africa needs to focus on being more competitive rather than fixating on external factors, Fuzile said.

China's president Xi Jinping and his delegation signed about $14 billion [about R187 billion] worth of investment commitments with South Africa - and the two enterprises were at the centre of the bilateral agreements.

The BRICS countries comprise more than 40% of the global population but have never worked as a co-ordinated economic bloc.

Analysts say USA trade policy could give the group renewed goal.


"They have a collective interest in promoting intra-BRICS trade".

Sreeram Chaulia, of the Jindal School of International Affairs outside Delhi, told AFP that BRICS leaders "concur that the U.S. has unleashed punitive trade wars that are hurting all the BRICS members".

Mr Xi arrived in South Africa after visiting Senegal and Rwanda as part of a whistlestop tour to cement relations with African allies. The summit runs through Friday with various heads of BRICS attending.

BRICS takes up 26 per cent of the world's land mass.


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