China on Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping will discuss globalisation and the threat of rising protectionism at their informal summit at Wuhan this week and the world will hear “very positive voices”. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Sunday announced that Modi and Xi will meet in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on April 27-28 to improve bilateral relations.
At Wuhan, the two leaders will “exchange views on overarching long term strategic issues as well as the latest trends of the world so that the world will develop in a more stable way,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said here. “As to the background against which this meeting is held, I believe you are clear that the world is faced with rampant unilateralism as well as the rising protectionism in the process of globalisation,” Lu said.
All these new trends in the world have been closely followed and debated, Lu said in apparent reference to a host of measures initiated by US President Donald Trump in his ‘America First’ policy leading to a lot of protectionist measures including the current trade spate between the China and US. He was responding to question whether there will be a joint message related to trade and protectionism specially against US unilateral protectionism after the meeting between Modi and Xi. “So against such a backdrop China and India have a lot to discuss. We are all newly-emerging markets as well as developing countries with big populations,” Lu said.
“So we believe that the two countries will continue to uphold the globalisation so that it will be more inclusive. So we have lot of shared interests, concerns and propositions,” he said. To a specific question whether there would be a joint message related to trade and protectionism especially against US unilateral protectionism, he said while he cannot make any prejudgement ahead of the meeting, “it is sure that the two leaders will exchange views on these issues but I believe you will see and hear very positive voices”. At the recently-held Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) India and China displayed wider convergence on threats to globalisation and rising protectionism.
NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar had said in his address to the fifth India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) here on April 14 that the world economy is staging a synchronised recovery after a long time. But the “recovery is marred and disrupted by unseemingly protectionist noises that are coming out from the Atlantic basin from north and America and Europe,” he said in a thinly veiled attack on US and Western countries’ protectionist policies.
He also made a strong case for China to open its import market for India for soybean and sugar after Beijing imposed 25 per cent tariff on a host of products, including the two, following the trade spat with US. “I was noticing that there are some tariffs you imposed on farmers’ from Iowa and Ohio (in US). May be India can be a substitute for soybean and sugar, if we could access those exports with all the due quality considerations to our farmers. That is very useful,” he told chairman of China’s National Development Reforms Commission (NDRC) He Lifeng at the meeting.
Kumar’s pitch for soybean and sugar exports to China came amid the ongoing trade spat between the US and China following which Beijing had slapped 25 per cent tariffs on American soybean imports in a tit-for-tat retaliation to US President Donald Trump imposing tariffs on a range of Chinese products. Trump is pressuring China to reduce America’s whopping USD 375 billion trade deficit with China to USD 100 billion. China had hit back with tariffs on a wide variety of agricultural products such as soybean, corn, beef, orange juice and tobacco which are expected to hit American farmers.
Soybean is regarded as most important for US farmers as China is their largest importer.