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China's WTO envoy: Protectionism will protect no one

China's envoy to the World Trade Organization (WTO) today called for global efforts to overcome difficulties in times of the world financial crisis, warning trade protectionism would have no winner.

"If certain countries take the lead in exercising trade protectionism, they will arouse a war of retaliation which will hurt all sides concerned at last," said Sun Zhenyu, China's ambassador to the WTO.

Sun urged all countries in the world to learn the lessons of the Great Depression in the 1930s, saying the policy of one country to seek its benefits at the expense of others could not help the world economy to recover earlier and would exacerbate the recession.

Sun, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, is here attending the ongoing annual session of the advisory body.

Citing the Great Depression, Sun said, the United States at that time doubled the import tariffs of more than 2,000 varieties of commodities and European countries in retaliation hiked import tariffs on American products, which led to a more than 60 percent drop in world trade volume in 1933.

"This shows that protectionism could only backfire," he said.

As a responsible member of the WTO, China opposes trade protectionism and has earnestly followed its commitments to the organization, he said.

According to Sun, China witnessed an average annual trade growth of more than 25 percent since it joined WTO in 2001, and foreign direct investment increased remarkably.

China has also lowered the level of import tariffs to 9.9 percent from 43.2 percent before its WTO entry, which resulted in a net increase of imports by more than US$100 billion per year since 2001.

"All this has contributed greatly to the world economy," Sun said.

On the exchange rate of the Chinese currency, Sun said "our policy is to maintain a stable yuan as big fluctuations of the exchange rate would bring great harm to both trade and investment."


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