BEIJING--A senior minister said on Sunday China's policy of restricting market access is important for domestic growth, even as President Xi Jinping seeks to project the country as a world leader in fighting protectionism.
The comment came as Xi painted China as a defender of globalisation, while repeatedly maintaining that it would keep its trade door wide open.
"In some areas, we determine that a certain percentage of the market share must be controlled by domestic players, this is a last resort," Miao Wei, who heads China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at the China Development Forum in Beijing.
Other countries have policies restricting the import of some of China's equipment and products, while there is demand for those products in China, said Miao. "So we must resolve this on our own, or else it will have a major impact on our growth," Miao said.
More than 80 percent of members of a U.S. business lobby in China say foreign companies are less welcome than in the past, a survey released in January showed, with most saying they have little confidence in China's vows to open its markets.
A the same forum, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli China opposes various forms of trade protectionism and supports free trade, reaffirming Beijing's stance amid worries over weak global demand.
"China is willing to work with other countries to oppose various forms of trade and investment protectionism," Zhang told the China Development Forum in Beijing. "We should unwaveringly push forward economic globalisation ... we cannot stop our footsteps because of temporary difficulties."
Zhang said world policymakers should make the globalisation process more "inclusive" by putting more emphasis on equality. "The world economy is in a deep adjustment, growth is weak and trade protectionism is rising," Zhang said.
Beijing is struggling to cope with weak global demand and faces risks from growing U.S. trade protectionism as the administration under new President Donald Trump shows an aversion to globalisation. In January, Chinese President Xi Jinping, as a keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, offered a vigorous defence of globalisation and signalled Beijing's desire to play a bigger role on the world stage.