The Chinese foreign minister has called for China and Europe to “jointly uphold a rules-based free trade system” in the wake of escalating trade tensions with the United States, and said that China “stands at the forefront of opposition to trade protectionism.”
At a meeting with the Austrian foreign minister held in Vienna on 5 July, Wang Yi (王毅) said that “trade protectionism is short-sighted behaviour which harms others and isn’t in one’s own interests.”
“Any unilateral conduct infringes WTO rules and harms the multilateral trading system, as well as casts a shadow upon the global economy’s recovery momentum and development prospects.
“In today’s globalised economy, all nations are highly integrated into an international division of labour, and industry and value chains are mutually linked.
“Provoking trade disputes is to drive historical progress into reverse, and not only harms the interests of both parties, but also necessarily harms the interests of all parties to the global industry chain.
“China’s resistance to trade protectionism is not only to uphold its own lawful interests, but also to uphold the common interests of all of the world’s nations, including the European Union.
“China and Europe are upholders and beneficiaries of the multilateral trading order. Under current circumstances, China and Europe should jointly uphold the multilateral, rules-based trade system.
“This is both our joint duty, as well as responsible conduct that we should adopt with respect to the world.
“China currently stands at the forefront of opposition to unilateralism and trade protectionism.”