Putin Says Russia Seeks More Cooperation With BRICS Nations

(Bloomberg) -- Russia is pushing for better business ties between counterparts in the informal BRICS club of nations, President Vladimir Putin said.

“Strengthening trade and investment ties with BRICS partners is one of the priorities,” Putin said at the annual summit of the five-nation group in Johannesburg Thursday. The country’s trade turnover with Russia, India, China and South Africa exceeded $102 billion last year and “we intend to do everything possible for further trade growth within BRICS,” he said.

Putin’s comments come against the backdrop of the trade war between the U.S. and China after President Donald Trump imposed billions of dollars of tariffs on goods from the Asian nation to retaliate for what he says are unfair practices that have resulted in a huge trade imbalance.

Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier called on the BRICS nations to reject protectionism and said there are no winners in a trade war. The combined gross domestic product of the five countries is more than 90 percent the size of U.S. output.

Russia supports the creation of regional branches for the BRICS New Development Bank, Putin said.

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