Premier Li Keqiang urges countries to guard against green trade barriers during the P4G summit
Published: May 30, 2021 10:58 PM
Trade Photo:VCG


During a video conference at the 2021 Summit of Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urged countries to safeguard the multilateral trade system and protect it against new green trade barriers. 

"It is crucial to protect the multilateral trade system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core, guard it against new green trade barriers and reject unilateralism and trade protectionism," Li said during his speech.

Experts view this comment as a declaration against attacks against China by any country in the name of environmental protection.

Green barriers to trade usually refer to measures that restrict or prohibit international trade activities for the purpose of safeguarding human health and environmental safety. 

"Premier Li's comments hint at a trend by some countries, like the US, to hit China with alleged environmental protection purposes," said Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing who closely follows trade issues. He added that China should be cautious about this course in the long term, though concrete policies are yet to be designed. 

The US, for example, is taking a tougher stance on carbon border tax, with the Biden administration reportedly considering to tax imports from countries that fail to curb emissions. Such use of border levies is primarily aimed at hitting China, as noted in some reports.

According to Gao, there is room for other countries to take actions. For example, China's use of thermal power could be used as an excuse to increase taxes on certain products. 

He also noted that the premier's stress on safeguarding multilateral trading system alongside the WTO could be a hint for China's stance of pushing carbon emission into the WTO framework. 

Apart from his call on multilateralism, Li also called on the international community to intensify international cooperation against the pandemic and enhance the global health governance system, saying that the world needs to step up policy coordination through "fast track", "green lane" and other flexible ways to protect the stability of global industrial chains. 

Li also stressed the need to pursue a green and low-carbon transition, adding that the world should increase support to developing countries in technology and finance. 

Global Times