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Expert: Protectionism under new name short-lived
By Du Wenjuan (
Updated: 2009-07-05 15:04

As what can be called "border terror" threatens fair trade worldwide amid the climate of the global financial crisis, protectionism under a fresh name is never a solution to problems, experts concluded on Friday at the Global Think Tank Summit in Beijing.

In an interview with, Bernice Lee, research director of Energy, Environment and Resource Governance at Chatham House, United Kingdom, warned of the danger of discussing punishment before a deal was made.

"The most important point is that we get an effective global deal in what encourages actions for different countries and it's important we don’t let the mindset of scoring some cheap political points prevail, which leads to ignorance of the real objectives like how do we find a solution to global climate problems," Lee said.

As the debate heated up over the urgency of containing global warming, Lee also pointed out that developed countries should take a lead in fulfilling emissions cutting responsibilities, thus allowing for "more incentives together with financial and other technological types of cooperation" for developing economies.

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2009 Global Think Tank Summit
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Lee was also a panelist during discussions on international capital flows and cross-border investment during the two-day international think tank summit. Her views were echoed by other experts like Professor Graham Meadows, the former Director-General of DG Regio at the European Commission.

"To drift back to some kind of increasing protectionism is something which will cause everyone to lose," Meadows said.

Prof. Meadows also commented on rising negotiation failures in trade between China and other advanced economies, urging all governments to continue to trade openly and maintain open economies, saying “the interruption of globalization which benefited China and other countries in the past 10 years or so will be short-lived."

On Friday, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce condemned proposals to pose a "carbon tariff" on imports by some developed countries, saying the move is a new kind of "trade protectionism" that “will not help any country's endeavors in climate change negotiations".

Chinese analysts say climate talks and international trade shouldn’t be mixed up and making emissions cutting targets an excuse in trade disputes is apparently improper.

China called on all countries not to take protectionist measures against WTO rules and push forward the Doha round negotiation as it wrapped up the nation's first-ever global think tank summit Saturday.