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China to stand up for firms

CHINA opposes any type of trade protectionism and would assist companies to fight against such a trend emerging amid the global economic meltdown, said the Ministry of Commerce yesterday.

Meanwhile, China's investment in foreign countries continued to thrive despite the harsh economic climate, and the government will continue to encourage companies to "go out" and grab the opportunities.

"Many countries introduced policies to restrain trade to aid their domestic companies which were suffering from declining demand," the ministry said in a report. "It led to rising conflicts between trading nations and made China, the world's second-largest exporter, a major victim" of these protectionism moves.

There are two main channels used by nations to discourage trade. One is that countries overuse anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguarding regulations. The other way is that countries raise tariffs on imported goods or reduce quotas.

In the first four months, 13 countries and regions accused China of violating trade regulations in 38 cases, a rise of 26.7 percent compared with a year earlier.

To fight against protectionism, the government will strengthen dialogue with countries adopting such measures. It will also keep close contact with companies which face such conflicts, monitor the development of disputes and collect data as well as defend companies' interests.

Last month, China's exports fell 22.6 percent year on year, widening from the decline of 17.1 percent in March.

But China's investment in foreign countries grew steadily despite the economic crisis. In the first quarter, China's income derived from projects in overseas markets rose 32.6 percent to US$12.4 billion. The value of newly-signed contracts with other countries jumped 57.5 percent to US$33.5 billion during the period.

"China's investment in foreign countries has increased steadily, and there's also been an upgrade in technology" in such investments, said the ministry.

A delegation from Washington State in the United States yesterday held a symposium in Shanghai to attract investment from China to its technology and innovation industry.

"I've visited China many times and it is the first time we organize such a symposium to introduce investment opportunities," said Mark Calhoon, managing director of International Trade and Economic Development Division in the Washington State.


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