Sunday, March 8, 2009

Action speaks louder than words

By Xinhua writer Li Rong

BEIJING, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- At a time of widespread trade contraction, deep job cuts and prevailing pessimism, the call for "free trade" tends to give way to barriers preventing others from taking a share of the market.

In a bid to counter the trend, a 200-strong Chinese trade mission embarked this week on a trade and investment tour in four European nations of Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Britain, and clinched a number of procurement deals worth 15 billion U.S. dollars.

Action speaks louder than words. The trade and investment tour reflects China's commitment to an open market and showed its recognition of the urgent need to call the world's attentions to the hazard of trade protectionism.

History has proved closing doors for self-protection would only make an economic crisis worse. The mood for seclusion could be dangerous as it spreads fast if not promptly controlled.

In this era of globalization, nobody is spared from the ongoing economic crisis. While countries around the world come up with their own remedies, some unfortunately resorted to trade barriers and the United States, the world's largest economy, even included a "buy American" provision in its economic stimulus package.

As many economists have noted, holding money for home products and services will further choke growth opportunities, thus causing the current crisis to linger longer or even spill over in extreme cases.

As China has owed its prosperity to opening up to the outside world, it knows better than anyone else that no country can ever thrive by isolating itself from the rest of the world.

China and Europe are highly complimentary to each other economically, as they are at different stages of economic development. The trade and investment deals between China and the four European countries during the trip would definitely stimulate growth and create jobs in Europe and benefit China's own development as well.

The win-win results of the trade and investment mission set an example for expanded trade cooperation and have drawn positive responses from China's European partners as a British business delegation has decided to visit China at the end of April.

As long as countries keep away from trade protectionism and engage in comprehensive cooperation of mutual benefit, the global economy will roll back the economic downturn sooner than later.