G20 should not roll out new protectionistic measures but help boost global trade: Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks as US President Barack Obama looks on, as they attend the opening of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou. PHOTO: REUTERS

HANGZHOU - The Group of 20 (G20) leaders' summit opened Sunday (Sept 4) afternoon in Hangzhou, with Chinese President Xi Jinping urging fellow leaders to uphold their pledge of not rolling out new protectionist policies.

World leaders should instead work to boost trade and strengthen the coordination of investment policies through practical action, said Mr Xi in his opening address.

Trade restrictive and protectionist measures among G20 countries reached a new high between October last year and May this year, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) report in June said.

In that period, G20 economies applied a total of 145 new trade restrictive measures. This works out to be an average of about 21 such measures per month, up from the 17 recorded in the previous time period.

Of the 1,583 trade restrictive measures from G20 economies that WTO recorded since 2008, only 387 of them had been removed by May this year.

Mr Xi also reiterated his earlier calls made at the Business 20 summit on Saturday (Sept 3) for macroeconomic policies that will support long-term growth and maintain financial stability.

World economies should also innovate new development models aimed at creating new drivers for growth.

He added that the global economy today faces challenges such as an ageing workforce and declining population growth.

World leaders need to work together to build a more stable and resilient international financial architecture, said Mr Xi.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is attending the two-day summit in Hangzhou, which China is hosting for the first time.

Singapore is not a G20 member but is among eight nations taking part in the discussions on China's invitation.

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