Protectionism will harm everyone's interests: experts
Business representatives from China and the U.S. have called for free trade flows in the global market and for trade barriers between the two countries to be further dismantled.
Harld Peters, president of UPS China, said that UPS has always been an advocator for global free trade.
"We believe that at the end of the day, globalization and free global trade have brought benefits to all countries, and undoubtedly most scientific research has shown that by opening up borders, the economies of countries that participate in free trade grow at a faster pace than those that don't," Peters told the Global Times on Tuesday at a press conference.
Peters said that UPS will continue calling for the reduction of trade barriers and for opening-up of trade, not only in China but also in the U.S.
He also said that the world needs "simplified [trade] processes and procedures" accessible to everyone.
Shi Xinyu, general manager of Yiwu Ziguang Trade Co in Yiwu, East China's Zhejiang Province, also said that trade protectionism is a negative trend and called for a more open attitude.
According to Shi, protectionism has not yet become rampant in his company's trading partners, which are mainly Southeast countries like Vietnam.
But he said that as protectionism is on the rise globally, he needs to "prepare for the worst," such as a rise in costs and higher tariffs.
"If protectionism is serious enough to hurt my business in a certain foreign country, I would choose to look for alternative markets," he told the Global Times on Wednesday.
But Shi said he still believed global trade would be the ultimate trend, and that it won't be reversed.
China's Ministry of Commerce said on Friday that China encountered 75 trade remedy probes from 21 countries and regions in 2017, involving trade worth billion. Among the cases, the U.S. launched 24 probes, involving trade worth .5 billion, according to the ministry.
In recent years, the U.S. has imposed many harsh trade remedy measures against China in industries such as steel, aluminum, ceramics, solar power and tires, said Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.
To reduce trade barriers, countries need to further lower tariffs, promote trade facilitation and cut non-tariff measures, Sang told the Global Times on Wednesday.
China has strengthened its efforts to open up and improve its business environment, Sang said.
He noted that the U.S. should recognize such progress instead of frequently resorting to trade remedy measures.
The U.S. announced on Monday that it would impose new tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines, many of them from China.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday that steel and aluminum will be the next sectors in the U.S. to get more trade protection, and that action will be taken on some aluminum products from China.
"The U.S. aims to protect its own industries, but such moves run contrary to the global multilateral trade rules," said Zuo Chuanchang, a research fellow with the Academy of Macroeconomic Research under the National Development and Reform Commission, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Zuo noted that the U.S. trade remedy measures will also harm U.S. companies that seek growth in the Chinese market.
"It is like the U.S. is lifting a rock only to drop it on its own feet," Zuo said.
China will assess the possible impact from U.S. President Donald Trump's trade policy before deciding how to respond, former IMF deputy managing director Zhu Min said Tuesday during the Davos forum, according to a Reuters report.
"Trump's trade policy against China is very unreasonable. China will continue to support globalization and free trade flows in the world market," Zhu was quoted as saying in the report. Zhu noted that a trade war with the U.S. would be "no good for anyone."