Chinese minister warns of grim trade situation [Xinhua]

BEIJING, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming on Saturday warned of lingering pressure on the country’s foreign trade from weak global demand, rising domestic costs and growing trade protectionism.

“The trade situation will be relatively grim in the next few months and there will be many difficulties next year,” Chen told reporters at a group interview on the sidelines of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which opened Thursday.

China’s exports rose 11.6 percent from one year earlier in October, beating market expectations for a rise of 9 percent and stronger than the 9.9-percent increase registered in September, according to latest figures from the General Administration of Customs.

Imports climbed 2.4 percent year on year last month, unchanged from the growth in September.

Despite the recovering export growth, China’s total foreign trade in the first 10 months only expanded 6.3 percent from the same period of last year.

It will be an arduous task to achieve the annual trade growth target of 10 percent but authorities will continue to work to that end, said Chen.

He cited lack of fundamental improvements in global demand, rising production costs for Chinese labor-intensive industries and stronger protectionism sentiment as the main factors dragging down exports.

Meanwhile, China’s import growth remains tepid mainly because of lower commodity prices on the global market, said Chen.

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