China took advantage of the Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh yesterday to paint itself as the 'biggest victim' of trade protectionism. Yu Jianhua, director-general of the Ministry of Commerce's international trade department, accused the world's leading nations attending the summit of being the culprits responsible for 90 per cent of the cases brought against the country this year. China has been the target of 79 cases of trade remedies in the first eight months, which have cost US$10 billion, double the amount in the same period last year, he said. 'We firmly reject trade protectionism, which hurts others without benefiting yourself,' he said. 'Trade protectionism will drag the feet of the world's economic recovery.' Yu's comments effectively sent another strong signal to core G20 members such as the United States, the European Union and India. Earlier, President Hu Jintao, as head of the Chinese delegation to Pittsburgh, had voiced his strong opposition to protectionism and his support for a reconciliatory attitude towards Sino-US trade frictions. Hu vowed to work for 'an early, comprehensive and balanced outcome of World Trade Organisation talks on lower trade barriers'. However, just hours after Yu spoke yesterday, the EU imposed anti-dumping duties of up to 30 per cent on aluminium foil from three countries, including China, and a duty of as much as 39 per cent on Chinese-made seamless steel pipes over the next five years. This followed a move by Beijing last week to pursue WTO arbitration over Washington's decision to raise tariffs on imports of Chinese-made tyres to up to 35 per cent. Earlier this week, a US labour union and three paper producers said they had filed a new trade complaint over imports of Chinese paper. Yu, referring to Sino-US trade frictions, said the two countries must 'focus on the long-term and larger picture'. He also called for them to get around the discussion table to resolve trade disputes. Citigroup Global Markets economist Shen Minggao said the Sino-US relationship had become even more important since the start of the global financial crisis. He pointed out that imports from China accounted for 20 per cent of the total in the US, while the US needed Chinese money to maintain the low-cost financing for its fiscal deficit. He added that China's investments in US treasury notes would help stabilise the greenback. Although the leaders at the previous G20 meetings in April and November last year vowed to resist erecting new trade barriers or subsidies, the countries had enacted about 100 protectionist measures, economists said.