China sees growing downward pressure on trade

BEIJING (Reuters) - Downward pressure on China’s trade is growing due to various destabilizing factors, a Commerce Ministry official said on Thursday.

Zhang Ji, an assistant minister, did not elaborate on the destabilizing factors, but stressed that global demand remained sluggish and “impossible” to change fundamentally this year, though January-August trade figures showed positive signs.

“We must have a rational understanding of the situation,” He said, adding that latest figures from a recent report from the World Trade Organization (WTO) also showed global trade is struggling.

The WTO estimated global trade volume is set to grow just 1.7 percent in 2016, a much lower forecast compared with April’s 2.8 percent. It marks the first time in 15 years that international commerce has grown more slowly than the world economy.

The senior official said the government will step up efforts to develop a differentiation strategy in processing trade to improve competitiveness, and will continue to cut costs for Chinese companies by ensuring transparency.

Reporting by Yawen Chen and Nicholas Heath; Editing by Kim Coghill