Minister Says China Will Not Turn To Protectionism

According to reports in local media, Vice Commerce Minister Jiang Zengwei stated at a recent press conference that there would be no "Buy China" policy and added that domestic and foreign products would be treated equally as long as they are needed.

This was in response to the U.S. Senate vote last week to soften, but not remove, a provision in its USD900 billion stimulus plan that requires all public works projects funded by stimulus dollars to use only U.S.-made iron and steel.

The provision has raised concerns from major trading partners of the United States, including Europe, Canada, and Japan. Economists have warned it could lead to trade wars.

Jiang asked why China should turn to trade protectionism under the current global financial crisis and added that in these days of globalization it's impossible to meet a country's need with only domestic products.

Exports, which account for about a third of China's total economic output, dropped for two consecutive months in November and December 2008 as foreign orders dried up.

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