China opposes trade protectionism, supports free trade: Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli

An employee views the Port of Shanghai from an office window.
An employee views the Port of Shanghai from an office window.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) - China opposes various forms of trade protectionism and supports free trade, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said on Sunday (March 19), reaffirming Beijing's stance amid worries over weak global demand.

"China is willing to work with other countries to oppose various forms of trade and investment protectionism," Zhang told the China Development Forum in Beijing.

"We should unwaveringly push forward economic globalisation ... we cannot stop our footsteps because of temporary difficulties."

Zhang said world policymakers should make the globalisation process more "inclusive" by putting more emphasis on equality.

"The world economy is in a deep adjustment, growth is weak and trade protectionism is rising," Zhang said.

Beijing is struggling to cope with weak global demand and faces risks from growing U.S. trade protectionism as the administration under new President Donald Trump shows an aversion to globalisation.

In January, Chinese President Xi Jinping, as a keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, offered a vigorous defence of globalisation and signalled Beijing's desire to play a bigger role on the world stage.