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'Protectionism akin to shooting one's feet' – Commerce Minister
Mar '09
Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming pointed out at a press conference held on the morning of March 10 that trade protectionism is a term that is despised by all, the world over. The Premier of the country has also reiterated his stand that China will never adopt trade protectionism as a tool to bar imports from other countries.

Heads of State jointly issued a solemn statement to oppose trade protectionism at the G20 meeting in Washington. But in real life, as the financial crisis intensifies, trade protectionism is rising. China has suggested that the Doha round of talks should be resumed and culminated in an atmosphere favourable to everyone.

Chen Deming pointed out that the concept of trade protectionism should be clarified. In a situation, where most of the countries are observing free trade policies under the aegis of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which also has developed a multi-lateral trading system to oppose trade protectionism since 1944.

He continued by saying that, gaining from the experiences of the serious economic crisis during the depression of 1930, most of the countries are aware of the consequences of engaging in protection, which is akin to shooting at one's own leg and which will only extend the crisis and finally deny the benefits to anyone.

The changed world trading order, since than has a lot of systems in place and under the WTO rules permits a number of protection measures, mainly against dumping of goods at rates lower than those prevalent in domestic markets, but he warned by saying that trade protection should be separated from trade protectionism.

Chen Deming said when a country faces an out of the ordinary financial and economic crisis and its industrial and agricultural products are subject to an impact; it is permitted to conduct appropriate trade protection in such a situation. But this has very limited means and should not create artificial trade barriers under those means.

But if the means were abused, it would be known as serious trade protectionism. In accordance with the G20's statement, the means should not be used or should be cautiously used. China clearly opposes trade protectionism, since only a very thin line separates the two and it should be consistent within WTO rules.

Chen Deming added by saying that WTO is making assessment and analysis on economic incentive plans of every country and will continue to produce reports on what is legal protection and what is serious trade protectionism and suggested that countries should follow guidelines set by the WTO when enforcing such policies.

He has a note of concern, when he said that, “Buy only domestic goods”, policy to ban imports from certain countries without reasons” are serious protectionist tendencies, and they will be opposed tooth and nail by the free countries of the world, including China, voraciously, which is the only way to an early economic recovery.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - China

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