PORT MORESBY (AFP) - Protectionist actions are short-sighted and doomed to fail, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday (Nov 17) ahead of an Apec summit at which US-China trade tensions are likely to take centre stage.
"Attempts to erect barriers and cut close economic ties work against the laws of economics and the trends of history. This is a short-sighted approach and it is doomed to failure," Mr Xi told business leaders on the sidelines of the summit.
"We should say no to protectionism and unilateralism," urged Mr Xi, in a veiled swipe at the "America First" policies of the US administration.
Apec members the US and China have become embroiled in a trade war that experts warn could be catastrophic for the global economy, with the world's top two powers going head to head.
The pair have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's goods and there is little sign of an immediate easing in tensions, with both sides threatening to step up action if necessary.
Mr Xi said the world should "uphold the WTO-centred multilateral trading system, make economic globalisation more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all".
With concerns growing that rivalry between the US and China could escalate, Mr Xi warned against going down this road.
"History has shown that confrontation - whether in the form of a cold war, hot war or trade war - will produce no winners," Mr Xi said.
"We believe that there exist no issues that countries cannot resolve through consultation," said the Chinese leader, as long as negotiations take place in a spirit of "equality" and "mutual understanding".