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Protectionism not antidote for fragile global economy: economist

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-03-21 09:18

BEIJING - Given the sluggish world economic growth at present, any protectionist actions would be a nightmare and protectionism cannot be an antidote for the fragile global economy, a US economist said at roundtable talks held in Beijing on Monday.

Attending the roundtable talks on China-US-Canada Relations under President Donald Trump's Administration, Richard N Cooper, a US economist, policy maker and professor at Harvard University, warned against the possible consequences of protectionism.

The world economy is fragile at the present time and any serious move to protection "would kill the world economy away from growth," Cooper said.

According to Cooper, the world economy is entering a period of secular stagnation, and it would be "extremely unwise" to carry out serious protectionist actions at the current time.

Cooper was referring to the upsurging protectionism in the West, which has seen some European politicians preaching protectionism and isolationism to solicit votes.

For the Trump administration, trade protectionism will certainly fail to provide jobs for local Americans, said Cooper, adding that he believes Trump cannot be labeled as an anti-globalizer.

"He is certainly for free trade, because this is for US profit," he said.

For Chinese authorities, the economist said they have been doing well in managing China's economy in the last three decades.

Despite a slight slowdown, China's economy nevertheless had an actual growth of 6.7 percent year on year in 2016, outpacing most other economies and accounted for more than 30 percent of global growth, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

For 2017, China has set its gross domestic product growth target at around 6.5 percent, taking the lead in rebuilding confidence in the global economy.

"China's share of the world economy will still be growing," Cooper said, expressing confidence in the Chinese government to manage the country's economy well for the next 20 years.

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