September 23, 2017 / 6:03 AM / a year ago

China's land and resources minister calls for trade protectionism to be opposed

TIANJIN (Reuters) - China’s Minister of Land and Resources on Saturday called for trade protectionism to be totally opposed as he pledged to promote greater cooperation in the mining industry as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative.

In the opening speech at the China Mining conference in Tianjin, Jiang Daming told delegates, who had come from as far afield as Uganda and Chile, that they needed to find a “new path to reinvigorate the mining sector”.

The market capitalization of major mining companies has now risen for five consecutive quarters, Jiang said, but “prices for major mineral products are still at a low level”, meaning there was still much work to be done, Jiang said, without mentioning which minerals he was referring to.

Trade protectionism should be opposed, trade barriers removed and transaction costs lowered, Jiang said, adding that work needed to be done to harmonize and standardize mining regulations.

Jiang, who in his speech drew on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s revival of the ancient Silk Road, which Beijing calls the Belt and Road Initiative, said China would establish a mechanism to promote resource prosperity and development in countries taking part in the scheme.

The Belt and Road countries hold over 50 percent of the world’s natural gas, 20 percent of its iron ore and a large proportion of many mineral products, Shi Yulong, director of China’s Institute of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy, later told the conference, without specifying which nations he was including.

Jiang earlier noted that more than 140 countries took part in Xi’s Belt and Road forum in Beijing in May this year.

Reporting by Tom Daly in TIANJIN; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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