Beijing: India on Tuesday said protectionism in all its forms should be rejected and reaffirmed its belief in an economic globalisation which is more open, inclusive and equitable, amid new trade barriers cropping up across the world, especially in the United States.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in her address to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers in Beijing raised the issue of protectionism. “The SCO countries have been connected historically through shared commonalities, which we are constantly rejuvenating," she said. “India is committed to working with SCO to strengthen our economic and investment ties. We believe that economic globalisation should be more open, inclusive, equitable and balanced for mutual benefits.
“Protectionism in all its forms should be rejected and efforts should be made to discipline measures that constitute barriers to trade," Swaraj asserted.
She called on the eight SCO nations to promote liberalisation and facilitation of trade and investment to inject greater impetus into the world economy. “In this respect we must continue to diversify cooperation in the fields of innovation and digital economy, science and technology, energy, agriculture, food security, amongst others," she said.
The Trump administration had earlier this month announced tariffs on aluminium and steel besides about $50 billion worth of Chinese imports across 1,300 categories of products to counter China’s trade practices. Condemning the aggressive move, China’s ministry of commerce retorted the nation was ready to take measures against US products with the same intensity and scale.
The SCO Council meeting was also attended by foreign ministers Wang Yi of China, Khawaja Muhammad Asif of Pakistan, Kairat Abdrakhmanov of Kazakhstan, Abdyldaev Erlan Bekeshovich of Kyrgyzstan, Sergey Lavrov of Russia, Sirodjidin Muhridinovich Aslov of Tajikistan, Abdulaziz Khafizovich Kamilov of Uzbekistan, and secretary general of the SCO Rashid Alimov, among others.
The SCO, a permanent intergovernmental international organisation created in 2001, comprises eight member states including India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russian, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Its main goals include strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states, promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection. PTI