The decline in China's imports has nothing to do with trade protectionism, but is a result of the country's falling exports due to shrinking overseas orders amid the global economic slowdown, a senior economist told the 2009 Global Think Tank Forum on Saturday.
"In the process of falling trade, the key player is the economic recession caused by the financial crisis," said Hai Wen, vice president of the prestigious Peking University.
"As many products are imported by export-oriented processing enterprises, the decline in imports is not due to protectionism, but rather has been caused by falling exports," he explained.
China's foreign trade volume shrank for the seventh month in a row in May, according to latest Customs statistics. Imports were down 25.2 percent year-on-year to $75.37 billion while exports fell 26.4 percent to $88.758 billion.
Chen Jian, a vice-commerce minister, Thursday told a news conference that China's exports fell again in June, but the decline was less severe than in May. The June figures are due to be released in the coming week.
Hai said it would take time to revive global trade and countries should work on the issue patiently while firmly opposing protectionism.