November 6, 2017 / 10:01 AM / a year ago

China expects generally favorable trade environment in 2018

An employee works at a factory which manufactures woven bags in Huai'an, Jiangsu province, China November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s foreign trade environment will remain generally favorable in 2018, even as risks from trade protectionism are growing, the commerce ministry said on Monday.

China’s stronger than expected trade performance this year has provided support for the economy, as the government presses ahead with policies to cool the property sector and deal with debt risks in the economy.

“Looking forward to 2018, China’s foreign trade conditions are generally favorable as the global economy steadily recovers and China’s economy grows smoothly,” the ministry said.

“But there are still many external risks and uncertainties with economic and non-economic factors intertwined. As trade protectionism continues to grow, domestic costs also continue to rise. As a result, pressure on business has increased and the development of China’s foreign trade continues to face many difficulties and challenges.”

China’s foreign trade has recovered this year after several years of contraction, though the government has not set a numerical target for growth in foreign trade in the past two years.

Growth in foreign trade may slow down but will still remain at a high level in the fourth quarter, a ministry report said.

China is set to announce October trade data on Wednesday, the same day U.S. President Donald Trump arrives in Beijing.

Trump has railed against China’s massive trade surplus with the United States and bilateral trade is set to feature prominently in discussions.

Economists expect China’s exports to have risen 7.2 percent on-year in October, slower than 8.1 percent the previous month, while imports may have jumped 16.0 percent, producing a trade surplus of $39.5 billion.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Sue-Lin Wong; Editing by Nick Macfie

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