China economy faces more pressure and global uncertainty: premier

© Reuters. China's Premier Li Keqiang speaks during the opening ceremony of the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion in Shanghai© Reuters. China’s Premier Li Keqiang speaks during the opening ceremony of the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion in Shanghai

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s economy will face more pressure and problems in 2017, with changes in global politics and challenges to economic rules adding further uncertainty to the outlook, Premier Li Keqiang has said.

At a meeting held in Beijing on Friday, Li said China will ensure the nation’s economy runs smoothly and will improve the quality and efficiency of growth, according to a statement published on the government’s website on Sunday.

Global investors are debating whether China’s leaders will accept more modest growth this year, amid concerns about risks arising from years of debt-fueled stimulus driven by a political obsession with meeting official targets.

Economic growth could slow to 6.5 percent this year from about 6.7 percent in 2016, a government-run think tank said earlier this month, with industrial output potentially growing 5.9 percent, down from an estimated 6.1 percent in 2016.

China’s customs agency said on Friday it will be tough for foreign trade to improve this year, especially if the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and other major political changes limit the growth of China’s exports due to greater protectionist measures.

Trump campaigned on a pledge to brand Beijing a currency manipulator on his first day in office and has threatened to slap high tariffs on Chinese goods.

During Friday’s meeting, held to garner opinions from experts and entrepreneurs on the draft of an annual government work report, the premier reiterated that the government will keep economic growth within a reasonable range, resolutely phase out outdated production capacity and adopt measures to help boost employment.

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