Trade protectionism bears new tendencies along with the global economic slowdown, Wang Jinzhen, Vice-Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, warned on Thursday.
Addressing the Global Chamber Platform Conference in Brussels, Wang said the global economic slowdown and recession probably means rising protectionism.
He added that developed nations and regions were more prone to protectionism than developing and emerging economies.
Wang noted protectionism tends to move from products to companies, and that sanctions are often carried out with "no reason" or flimsy reasons.
He cited the U.S. sanction against Huawei, a Chinese telecom and internet equipment supplier, for allegedly "threatening U.S. national security."
"Huawei has business in many nations. Why does only the United States pose these kinds of accusations, but not any other nation?" asked Wang.
Other delegates also called for promoting free trade and fighting against protectionism.
Christoph Leitl, Honorary President of Eurochambres and Chairman of Global Chamber Platform, called for realizing free trade and reestablishing confidence. His sentiments were echoed by Marc Vanheukelen, Head of Cabinet of EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht.
Vanheukelen cited an example of the Nokia smartphone produced in China and sold in Europe. "Only 15 percent of added value come from China, but 54 percent comes from Europe," he said.
At the conference, a survey was presented showing that about 40 percent of respondents regarded rebalancing trade budgets as the top priority for global recovery. Access to finance/investment, general macroeconomic uncertainty and a decline in domestic demand and/or exports were also major challenges for local businesses.
The survey showed 38 percent believed making more use of dispute settlement procedures at the WTO was the best option, followed by better separating trade from non-trade issues.
The Global Chamber Platform Conference brings together major national and transnational chamber organizations globally with an aim of facilitating economic cooperation and promoting free trade initiatives.