SHANGHAI, July 14 (Xinhua) -- America's current strategy is not friendly, it is based on unilateralism, former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said during a lecture at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai.
Becoming embroiled in a trade war will not only negatively affect the world economy but also the living standards of ordinary people, he said of the United States-initiated trade dispute with China, during an interview with Xinhua on July 8.
China's consistent efforts in opening up, deepening international collaboration despite the emergence of trade protectionism, unilateralism, and anti-globalization sentiments, are a reflection of Chinese wisdom, he added.
Raffarin, who has visited China many times since the 1970s, said he is impressed by the country's rapid development, which he believes is a result of its reform and opening up.
"Every time I come to China, I can learn something new," he said, citing the country's economic and social development, urbanization, and modernization along with the growing competitiveness of Chinese enterprises and poverty alleviation measures that have improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
China's progress has also had global implications. In 2017, the country's imports accounted for 10.2 percent of the world's total imports of merchandise, while its exports made up 12.8 percent. This has made China a major trade partner of more than 120 countries and regions, according to data attributed to the WTO in a white paper issued in June under the title "China and the World Trade Organization."
China's reform and opening-up drive is profound and concrete, and not only promotes the country's development but also benefits the rest of the world, said Raffarin.
China's relationship with the European Union is in focus this year as 2018 marks the 15th anniversary of the building of a comprehensive strategic partnership between both sides. China was the EU's largest import trade partner and second-largest export target market in 2017, according to data from the EU's statistical office Eurostat.
"Europe and China need to work together to safeguard multilateralism, this is what the world needs," Raffarin said.