President calls for worldwide free trade
Updated: 2013-09-07 03:12
By Fu Jing and Wu Jiao (China Daily)
President Xi Jinping urged G20 leaders on Friday to shoulder their responsibilities and boost free trade amid a recent global uptick in protectionism.
Xi made the request at the concluding session of the two-day G20 Leaders' summit in St. Petersburg.
President Xi Jinping met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Russian city of St. Petersburg on Friday while both leaders attended the G20 Summit. The meeting is the first between the two since Xi assumed the presidency in March.Photo by Huang Jingwen / Xinhua
"At present, there has been an obvious rise in global trade protectionism. The multilateral trade system faces tremendous challenges that are not beneficial to the global economic recovery and are not in the interests of each (G20) country," Xi said.
"The G20 countries should push forward a new round of expansion in global trade."
Xi's speech on Friday reiterated his position on Thursday that China is committed to an even, open, interdependent and mutually beneficial global economy. He said China is pushing for reforms in the international governance of the global economy while continuing its structural reforms at home.
Xi urged G20 countries to advance free global trade and oppose any form of trade protectionism and the use of defensive trade measures.
"We need to solve trade disputes through consultation and dialogue because any punitive measures will bring harm to others," Xi said.
Xi asked G20 leaders to help create a multilateral trade system and resolve the Doha Development Round of trade negotiations. Xi also said each country should recognize its role in the global supply chain and work to coordinate their trade policies to facilitate global trade.
Xi said China has the tentative support of the World Trade Organization after he met with Roberto Azevedo, WTO's new director-general, ahead of the G20 summit on Thursday.
Xi said a multilateral trade system, with the WTO at its core, can lay the foundation for free and open trade and would have greater advantages over regional trade systems.
"An open, fair and transparent multilateral trade mechanism conforms to the common interests of all countries," Xi said.
He stressed that regional trade arrangements should also abide by the principles of transparency and inclusiveness and that they should serve to supplement and boost multilateral trade rules.
China hopes Azevedo will influence the WTO to actively push to resolve the Doha Round of global trade talks and to also oppose trade protectionism measures, Xi said.
China is a staunch supporter of a multilateral trade mechanism and will continue to be a responsible member of the WTO, he added.
Azevedo extended his appreciation for China's support, saying the WTO hopes to strengthen cooperation with China to resolve the Doha Round of talks, fight against trade protectionism and safeguard the multilateral trade.
Sergei Sutyrin, head of the department of world economy at St. Petersburg State University, said China is a victim of trade protectionism measures from developed countries.
"Economic crises traditionally generate additional demand for this type of protectionism," he said.
As the two-day summit wrapped up, G20 leaders agreed not to use any protectionism measures until 2016 as they commit to removing barriers and impediments to global trade and investment.