BEIJING, Mar. 15 -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday China will strive for balanced international payment and promote free trade, although protectionism worsens as the global financial crisis deepens.
"I am a staunch supporter of free trade, since it will not only promote world economic growth, but also improve people's livelihoods," Wen made the remarks at a press conference after the close of the annual parliament session.
"We will launch new measures to increase imports. We sent purchasing groups to the European Union and the United States when the world was stranded in the most difficult period of time (in the global financial crisis)." he said.
He said the worsening protectionism amid the world economic slump deserves alerts of all countries.
"Some countries' moves to shore up exports are understandable. But what I can not understand is they devaluate their own currencies while on the contrary pushing for the appreciation of others' currencies. I think it is protectionism," he said.
Wen also said he hopes the United States and European Union recognize China's market economy status, and lift the ban on hi-tech exports to China.