Beijing, April 23 (PTI): China on Monday said President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will discuss the threat of rising protectionism and the unprecedented changes in the world in the past 100 years at their summit in 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 Xi and Modi will hold an informal summit in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on April 27-28 to step up bilateral relations and discuss global issues of common concern.
During the meeting, the two leaders will discuss the changes that have taken place and which are unprecedented in the past 100 years to exchange views on the strategic over- arching long term issues concerning over bilateral ties. relationship, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.
This will bring positive influence to regional and world peace, stability and development and bring more benefits to the people of both countries, Lu said.
As to the background against which this meeting will be held, Lu said, “I believe you are also clear that the world is now faced with rampant unilateralism as well as the rising protectionism in the process of globalisation. All these new trends in the world have to be closely followed and debated.”
“Against such back drop China and India have a lot to discuss. We are newly emerging markets as well as developing countries with big population. So we believe the two countries will continue to uphold the globalisation so that it is more inclusive. So we have a lot of shared interests, concerns and positions,” the spokesman said.
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,” Lu said.
“I cannot make a prejudgement ahead of the meeting on what will actually be discussed at the Wuhan meeting. What I said is a general background.
So it is sure that the two leaders will exchange views on these issues. But I believe you will see and hear very positive voices,” he 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.
Lu 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.
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.