China ready to spur global trade with G-20 partners

SHANGHAI • China will work with its G-20 partners to promote global trade growth, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said yesterday, as the world's top economies meet in Shanghai.

Global trade is expected to grow at a tepid 2.8 per cent this year, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said in April.

"The economic recovery and growth are still feeble and global trade is fluctuating at a low level," Mr Gao said before ministers began talks, vowing: "China is willing to work with all parties with wisdom, courage and action."

WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo said on Friday ahead of the talks that this year would be the fifth consecutive year with trade growth below 3 per cent - its weakest sustained level in 30 years.

Mr Gao said ministers would discuss how to boost trade and coordinate global investment strategies, as well as how to strengthen investment among G-20 nations.

China, a key driver of global growth, has seen its gross domestic product growth slip to its slowest rate in a quarter of a century.

The talks bring together G-20 trade ministers and representatives from organisations including the International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and WTO. They will give a press conference today after two days of talks.

China, a key driver of global growth, has seen its gross domestic product growth slip to its slowest rate in a quarter of a century, with expansion last year weakening to 6.9 per cent.

The world's largest trader in goods also saw its total trade fall 8 per cent last year.

The World Bank identified the slump in Chinese growth and the country's economic transition as the key factor in a sharp slowdown in global trade last year, in a report released in March.

Beijing has been trying to retool its economy to encourage domestic consumption and move away from infrastructure investment and exports as the main drivers of growth, but the pace has been slow.

Mr Azevedo also appealed for cooperation in the battle to spur trade. "This is a time for governments to work together to see how trade can be used to boost growth, development and job creation," he said on Friday.

"It is a time for vigilance against measures which hamper and restrict trade and against very damaging anti-trade rhetoric."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 10, 2016, with the headline 'China ready to spur global trade with G-20 partners'. Print Edition | Subscribe