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Premier Li advocates multilateralism in solving trade conflicts

Updated: Jun 27,2018 5:22 PM

Premier Li Keqiang emphasized during back-to-back meetings with European leaders that multilateral cooperation is the efficient solution to trade conflicts, which was also a message China and EU jointly send to the world.

During his meeting with European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, Premier Li said China is willing to strengthen its cooperation with EU toward safeguarding multilateralism and a free trade system to promote liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, in order to further contribute to the positive progress of globalization and economic recovery.

The issue was also brought up by the Premier during his meeting with French PM Edouard Philippe. He stressed that conflicts can only be solved through dialogue and cooperation, especially against the background of rising protectionism, unilateralism and instability worldwide.

“As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and major economies of the world, China and France should shoulder the common mission of promoting world economic recovery,” Premier Li added.

Wisdom key to solution of China-EU conflicts

Talking about the upcoming China-EU leaders’ meeting, Katainen said that whether conflicts should be solved through multilateral peace talks or unilateral attacks has drawn worldwide attention.

Premier Li responded by saying that China expected to deepen bilateral dialogue and cooperation with EU and together confront global challenges, and deliver a message to the world that multilateral cooperation is the best policy for trade conflicts.

Through the China-EU economic and trade history, wisdom has been the key in resolving differences and conflicts. The two sides always searched for common ground through negotiations and understanding, Premier Li said.

The Premier then concluded that China and EU should safeguard multilateralism and free trade rules through deepening bilateral pragmatic cooperation and promoting world economic recovery and peace development.  

Katainen expressed his hope that China and EU can reach more consensus and accomplish concrete achievements to show the world that cooperation is more efficient than unilateral measures.

Resolve contradictions through negotiation

After meeting with Katainen, Premier Li held talks with Philippe on the trade and investment issue.

“As China and France both adhere to multilateralism and support an open world economy, I believe your visit will send a strong and positive message to the world,” the Premier said.

“The international landscape is complex and changeable, with prominent instability and uncertainty, and rising unilateralism, protectionism and populism.”

Premier Li stressed that the history of human civilization has proved that unilateralist conflicts harm civilization, while peaceful development is the megatrend.

“We should work together to safeguard multilateralism, promote peace, development and resolve contradictions through negotiations,” the Premier added.

Philippe said some of the current unilateral measures and trade war are great threats to the common prosperity of all countries.

“France and China should join hands to safeguard the multilateral system and tackle uncertainties, which involves both the present and our common future,” he said.

WTO rules to keep up with times

“Prime Minister Philippe and I both advocate that disputes on trade and other issues should be resolved through negotiation,” Premier Li said. “I hope that all countries will uphold the rules of multilateralism and resolve bilateral disputes with mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.”

“As for the rules, if they need to be modified to suit changing situations, multilateral principles should be followed as well,” he added.

“I absolutely agree with what Premier Li said,” Philippe said.

The Premier mentioned that point again while meeting with Katainen, saying that the basic rules of WTO should be upheld, but that it is not impossible to adjust them with the development of globalization and the emergence of new situations.

“China is willing to coordinate with Europe to enable WTO to not only protect trade freedom, but also adapt to changing situations,” he said.

“The reform of WTO is significant. The European side hopes to make joint efforts with China in this regard,” Katainen said.