Trade Protectionism Threatens the World Economy: China’s State-owned Media


An opinion piece run by the state-owned Xinhua News Agency points to the rising tide of trade protectionism as a major threat to the global economy, while also touting China’s commitment to further reform and opening.

The opinion piece published on 14 April entitled “Opposing Trade Protectionism, China’s New Reform and Opening Measures Benefit the Entire World” (反对贸易保护主义 中国改革开放新举措利好全球) cites a recent report from the World Trade Organization that highlights rising protectionism as a source of uncertainty that could undermine trade growth.

The WTO report released on 12 April see growth in global trade of 4.4% this year, yet also states that trade frictions could derail this forecast.

The Xinhua opinion piece arrives amidst a sharp escalation in trade tensions between China and the US, with Beijing filing dispute proceedings with the WTO after the Trump administration mooted a tariff of 25% on up to USD$150 billion in Chinese imports.

The piece touts China’s commitment to free trade and the benefits of its reform program for the global economy.

“China’s economic structural reforms benefit global trade…the WTO forecasts that China’s economy is shifting from reliance upon investment to reliance on consumption, and in the long-term this will be of benefit to even stronger, sustainable economic growth, as well as support trade growth.

“As the world’s second largest economy, the stable growth of the Chinese economy will play a pivotal role in reducing the risk of fluctuations in the global economy.

“Forecasts from the National Bureau of Statistics clearly indicate that from 2013 – 2016, without the influence of the Chinese economy, average annual growth in the world economy would have eased by 0.6 percentage points, while fluctuation intensity would rise by 5.2%.”

Xinhua highlighted the raft of new reform and opening policies unveiled by Beijing at the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia, including an easing on the thresholds for entry into the finance sector, the removal of caps on foreign ownership of key financial institutions, strengthening of intellectual property rights, and measures to expand imports.

“Many international figures believe that China’s new measures will provide new opportunities for the growth of all countries to ride the express train of China’s economic development.

“Many departments have recently indicated that they will accelerate the pace of opening…the central bank has announced 10 new measures for expanding the opening of the financial sector, while the China Securities Regulatory Commission has also announced new policies for expanding opening.

“Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said that the ministry is working with other relevant departments to produce a raft of policy measures to improve the negative list management system, expand opening, optimise the environment for foreign investment, and drive high-quality growth of the economy.

“[The ministry] is striving to complete and amend the foreign investment negative list as soon as possible.

“The General Administration of Customs has also indicated that this year there will be a considerable reduction in automobile import tariffs, as well as a reduction in the import tariffs for other products.”