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Protectionism Would Hold Back World Economic Growth, Chinese Government Researcher Says

By Chen Qin and Dong Tongjian

(Beijing) –- Globalization shouldn't be blamed for major world problems such as the refugee crisis and the income gap, a high-ranking government economist at the research arm of China’s Cabinet said.

The pushback against globalization is related to stubbornly slow growth--the “low growth trap”--of the world economy, said Wang Yiming, deputy director of the State Council’s Development Research Center, which is hosting the three-day China Development 2017 in Beijing. The government think tank conducts research on long-term issues in China’s economic and social development.

But Wang pointed to some positive signs in economic indicators in the second half of this past year, including general improvement in the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)-- which signals the health of manufacturing—of the world’s 20 major economies, as well as an easing of deflation risk. More uncertainty would be cast over world economic growth if protectionism were widely embraced, Wang argued, because it would impede the flow of capital, goods and people.

Meanwhile, China’s role will be one of injecting new momentum into the world’s economic recovery, he said, as it reshapes itself from the world’s factory to a huge consumer of goods and services. Meanwhile, China is committed to make more investments into sectors that require innovation, Wang said.

Wang said China will create more jobs in foreign markets as it increases its investments abroad. He said China will push ahead with the “One Belt, One Road” economic initiative that started in 2013 to boost trade. The country will push for “inclusiveness” of more countries into the world's economic successes, he said, pointing to China’s leadership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which helps developing nations build infrastructure.

Contact reporter Dong Tongjian (tongjiandong@caixin.com)


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