As the curtain dropped on the G20 London summit, Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming on Friday reiterated China's opposition to protectionism and voiced support for cooperation.
"This summit has yielded a series of positive and pragmatic results for the international society to jointly tackle the current financial crisis," Chen said.
He said it included reaching broad consensus on stabilizing international financial markets, speeding up reform of the international financial system, actively pushing forward the Doha round talks, and opposing trade protectionism.
Chen said history and experiences have proved that protectionism will only drag the world economy into deeper recession. As the crisis is worsening, people have increasingly realized the necessity and urgency to reject protectionism, he said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao pointed out at the G20 summit that facing the impact of the international financial crisis, China will continue to stick to its opening-up and reform policy, and unswervingly adopt the mutually-beneficial and win-win strategy.
China will not turn to protectionism just because it is encountering some temporary difficulties during the process of economic development, he said.
What the world needs now, Chen said, is to adopt economic stimulus plans to jointly overcome the difficulties and to recover economies. At this critical time, people must be especially cautious about protectionism, preventing it from sabotaging all the efforts that the world has done so far, he said.
"China will act responsibly, seriously implement the agreements reached at the G20 summit, in efforts to push forward the world economy, as well promote the development of international trade," Chen said.
He proposed that the international community jointly maintain a fair and open international trade environment, protect the authority and seriousness of multilateral trade regulations, actively push forward the Doha round talks, and jointly resist protectionism.
Chen noted that despite all the anti-protectionism claims by many countries, protectionist measures are in fact making inroads since the outbreak of the financial crisis.
China supports the G20 agreement to extend the ban on protectionism until the end of 2010, however, it remains difficult to define protectionism and unreasonable trade restriction measures, Chen said.
All measures not allowed by the WTO are considered protectionist, and therefore should not be allowed to be implemented, he said.
Chen also raised concerns over the possible misuse of some measures permitted by the WTO, such as trade subsidy, and urged restraint.
The WTO members should try not to use, or use with discretion protectionist policies, so as to create a sound climate for promoting free trade, he said.
Currently, the WTO has established a monitoring mechanism, with periodical reports on its members' actions, a move conducive to curbing protectionism, Chen said.
Protectionism is on the rise since the crisis, but it still falls short of being rampant, which indicates the global multilateral trade rules remain effective to some extent, he said.
China supports the establishment of such a WTO supervision mechanism, he said.
China has firmly reiterated its opposition to protectionism, Chen said, noting that China's measures taken since the crisis are considered positive by both WTO Director General Pascal Lamy and EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton.
China's economic stimulus measures complied with the WTO rules, he said.
Chen also said the Doha round trade talks are of great significance in promoting the development of the multilateral trade system and a successful deal would strongly promote global economic growth.
History over the past century has proved that trade grows faster than economy, and it is trade that pushes forward economic growth, he said.
Chen urged flexibility by major countries to push forward the Doha negotiations.
"With joint efforts by various parties, we remain optimistic about the outcome of the Doha round talks," he said.