BRICS nations should strengthen cooperation on cross-border payment: China By Reuters

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© Reuters. China’s President Xi Jinping claps at the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa August 23, 2023. REUTERS/Alet Pretorius/Pool

BEIJING,/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – BRICS nations should strengthen cooperation on cross-border payment, a Chinese foreign ministry official said on Thursday, the final day of a three-day BRICS summit in South Africa.

They should also study local currency cooperation payment tools and platforms, and promote local currency settlement, said Li Kexin, Director-General of the Department of International Economic Affairs of the Foreign Ministry of China.

The leaders of BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – agreed at the summit in Johannesburg to encourage more local currency usage in trade and financial transactions, as they seek to shift away from dependence on the U.S. dollar.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, attending the summit in place of President Vladimir Putin, said earlier on Thursday that the BRICS bloc planned to set up an alternative international payments system to SWIFT.

“This is necessary … because we do have a large volume and increasing volume of trade between the five (current BRICS members),” Li told a press briefing on the sidelines of the summit.

“So it’s important to have a more sophisticated payment system… This is not only the Russians’ idea.”

Many of Russia’s top banks were cut off from the SWIFT messaging system last year under sweeping Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia subsequently created its own alternative.

A spokesperson for SWIFT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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