China’s economic growth to maintain at 6-6.5%: Finance minister

The minister said that the act of protectionism could meanwhile harm global growth, and will continue to promote the importance of having organizations, such as the World Trade Organization, to tackle that.

China’s finance minister Liu Kun said at a conference on Wednesday the Chinese government has the confidence that its annual economic growth can remain within the 6-6.5% range.

The minister who was speaking at an Italy-China financial dialogue in Milan, Italy, said that the act of protectionism - which is the shielding of a country’s domestic industries from foreign competition by taxing imports - could meanwhile harm global growth.

To deal with protectionism, Beijing will continue to promote the importance of having organizations that bring countries together in openness and inclusiveness, such as the World Trade Organization and the Group of 20 summit, Mr Liu said.

The minister however, left out mentioning the trade negotiations between the United States (US) and China.

Early this month, markets in Asia rallied following a ceasefire on the tariff war between the two countries. China president Xi Jinping and US president Donald Trump agreed on resuming the trade talks at the G20 summit after a seven-week stalemate.

Both sides avoided the escalation of their multi-billion tariff war, a long drawn dispute which had roiled global markets and placed both of the world’s two largest economies at risk.

Mr Trump said he will put on hold his earlier threat to slap on 25% of tariffs on US$300 billion in Chinese imports. The president also agreed to lift some restrictions on Chinese technology firm Huawei, the firm that has been caught in the rift-raff between the two nations.

Mr Trump also claimed that China, in exchange, has agreed to buy a ‘tremendous amount’ of American food and agricultural products.

Washington has already imposed 25% of tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese goods and China has retaliated with tariff hikes on US$60 billion of US goods.

Since January this year, China had already lowered the expectations for its annual growth forecast from last year’s rough target of 6.5%, to a range between 6.0% and 6.5%. A big part of the tapered expectations had been attributed to the US-China trade war.

For the first quarter of this year, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) came in at 6.4% year-on-year, which were above expectations and steady from the earlier quarter.

China’s second quarter GDP results, which is due soon, is predicted to come in at 6.2%, a recent Nikkei survey showed.

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