ding qingfen & wei tian
While the global economy is undergoing transformation and consolidation, every nation including China should work to advance trade and investment liberalisation to promote global growth, rather than resort to protectionism, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during the week.
"Any nation that conducts trade protectionism is doing harm to its neighbors and will bring all parties concerned to a dead end," said Li during his official meeting with Klaus Martin Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.
Li’s remarks came amid escalating trade friction between China and the European Union.
The EU recently said it will impose an interim anti-dumping duty of 11.8 per cent on imports of Chinese solar panels, the largest such action by the bloc. The rate may be increased more than five-fold in August if the EU and China fail to reach a consensus on the issue.
China has strongly opposed the duties and called for solving the problem through dialogue and consultation. The nation later announced it would initiate an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into wine from the EU.
On Thursday, the EU further requested consultations with China on the latter’s anti-dumping duties on certain high-performance stainless steel seamless tubes from the EU, which started in November and are scheduled to last for five years.
During a Friday meeting of the State Council, Li called for efforts to boost domestic demand in the solar panel market, so as to support Chinese manufacturers that are under pressure in foreign markets.
Experts said the China-EU friction in the PV sector would set a bad example, leading to trade remedy measures in other fields and hindering the global economic recovery.
Li’s remarks also come as the global economy is still struggling for recovery.
The latest Global Economic Prospects report by the World Bank Group said that the global economy is transitioning into what is likely to be a smoother and less volatile period.
"The world economy is in a period of deep consolidation and lacks growth momentum, and it is also challenged by various risks," said Li.
"The top concern worldwide would be how to sustain stable economic growth," he said.
"Nations should enhance cooperation," he said, and more than that, nations should "address each other’s concerns while they are committed to seeking their own development and benefits."
The euro area is now estimated to contract by 0.6 per cent in 2013, even weaker than the previous forecast of 0.1 per cent contraction, while China’s growth estimate was cut to 7.7 per cent from the previous 8.4 per cent, according to the World Bank report.
"We expect the World Economic Forum would play a significant role in advancing the liberalization and convenience of trade and investment worldwide," Li told Schwab.