China's premier sees 'increasing pressure' on the economy amid trade risks

China's premier sees 'increasing pressure' on the economy amid trade risks

Thu, 18/10/2018 - 11:35

Premier Li Keqiang says China will be able to cope with downward pressures, including the Trump-led trade war with the United States. Photo: Reuters

China's economy faces increasing downward pressure, and the government will take targeted measures to prevent large fluctuations in growth, Premier Li Keqiang said while on a trip to Europe.

"With the international environment being complicated and volatile, downward pressure on China's economy has increased, but we are determined, and we are able, to cope with risks and challenges," state radio reported Mr Li saying in a speech on Tuesday in the Netherlands.

China is locked in a trade war with the United States, with Washington threatening to escalate the confrontation after imposing tariffs on $US250 billion of Chinese goods.

Some export-driven Chinese cities and regions, such as the southern Guangdong province, have already felt the pinch from the dispute, rushing to reduce the impact by unleashing a flurry of measures and incentives to help struggling exporters.

Mr Li did not elaborate on what measures the government would take to stabilize growth and prevent fluctuations.

He said he expected economic growth to be "within reasonable range" in the third quarter, without giving details, and expressed confidence in achieving growth targets this year.

A Reuters poll of 68 economists showed gross domestic product likely grew 6.6 per cent in July-September from a year earlier, slowing from the previous quarter's 6.7 per cent and at the weakest pace since the first quarter of 2009.

China is aiming for full-year growth of about 6.5 per cent in 2018.

"China's economy continues to be steady with consumption becoming a key growth driver," Mr Li said.

Mr Li met Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday in the Hague, and signed several deals including a 1.6 billion euro ($US1.85 billion) agreement by Lithium Werks BV to build a new storage battery plant in China.

He reiterated in his speech China's resolve to better protect intellectual property rights and further relax market access for foreign firms.