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China's Hu warns on trade, investment protectionism

Chinese President Hu Jintao called for free trade and investment liberalization, warning that problems, including protectionism, remained within the global system.

Hu told business and political leaders at an Asia Pacific meeting in Singapore that the global economic recovery was not yet firmly established. He added that the focus of Beijing's 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package was on expanding China's domestic demand and creating a new pattern of economic growth.

“We must continue to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and oppose protectionism in all its manifestations, particularly the unreasonable trade and investment restrictions imposed on developing countries,” Hu said in a speech, without elaborating.

“The inherent problems of the international economic system have not been fully addressed and a comprehensive world economic recovery still faces many uncertainties and destabilizing factors.”

China's economy has picked up over the course of the year, fuelled by government stimulus spending, with the annual GDP growth rate accelerating to 8.9% in the third quarter from 7.9% in the second and 6.1% in the first, virtually assuring China of reaching its 8% full-year growth target.

The World Bank last week raised its GDP growth forecast for China this year to 8.4% from a prior forecast of 7.2%, and projected 8.7% growth for next year. (Reuters)