Putin takes another swipe at protectionism, 'sanctions, bans and political bias'


President Vladimir Putin appeared to take another thinly veiled swipe at Trump’s economic policies on Wednesday, a day after Russia and China vowed to stand together to fight protectionism.

“The world and global economy are coming up against new forms of protectionism today with different kinds of barriers which are increasing,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told a plenary session at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, Russia.

“Basic principles of trade — competition and mutual economic benefit — are depreciated and unfortunately undermined, they’re becoming hostages of ideological and fleeting political situations, in that we see a serious challenge for all of the global economy, especially for the dynamically-growing Asia-Pacific and its leadership,” he added.

Putin’s comments come as China and Russia appeared united on Tuesday after the leaders of both countries pledged to stand together to fight protectionism.

The comments were seen as a thinly veiled attack on U.S. President Donald Trump who has implemented a massive package of tariffs on Chinese imports and threatened further sanctions on Moscow.

The U.S.’ trade war and tariffs on China and sanctions on Russia, which started in 2014 due to its annexation of Crimea but increased due to allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 election, appeared to have brought china and Russia together.

Putin said Wednesday that Russia and its eastern economic partners should work to keep trade free of barriers.

“We’re convinced that in order for our region to continue to achieve high growth rates, and to remain a key participant in the global economy and trade, it should retain the spirit of economic freedom, to be the space of business initiative without sanctions, bans and political bias ,” Putin told delegates.

On Tuesday, President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the forum for a round table discussion focused on inter-regional cooperation. Xi also appeared keen to foster closer relations with Russia, saying:

“Together with our Russian colleagues, we will increase fruitful co-operation in international affairs and intensify co-ordination . . . to oppose the policy of unilateral actions and trade protectionism,” President Xi said, Reuters reported.

Putin said both countries were looking to use national currencies in their transactions, sidelining the dollar.

“The Russian and Chinese sides have confirmed the interest in more active use of national currencies in bilateral transactions. This will increase the stability of banking services for export-import amid continuing risks in global markets,” Putin said after talks, Russian news outlets reported.

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