Na­tions should main­tain free trade amid frag­ile world econ­omy, China says

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FOREIGN -

REUTERS: The world econ­omy is show­ing pos­i­tive signs but is still frag­ile and coun­tries should rely on struc­tural re­forms, not quan­ti­ta­tive eas­ing, to sup­port growth, Chi­nese Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang said yes­ter­day.

Li, who met with the heads of global bod­ies, in­clud­ing In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Chris­tine La­garde and World Bank Pres­i­dent Jim Yong Kim in Bei­jing, said that coun­tries should main­tain free trade.

“There are in­creased pos­i­tive fac­tors in the global econ­omy and signs of warm­ing-up in some as­pects. But at the same time, the fragility per­sists and un­sta­ble and uncer­tain fac­tors are still in­creas­ing,” Li told a joint news con­fer­ence with the heads of in­ter­na­tional agen­cies.

“Free trade is a good medicine for re­solv­ing prob­lems. Through free trade, we can re­solve many prob­lems in the dif­fi­cult re­cov­ery, help com­pa­nies trans­form and give con­sumers more choices,” he said.

Turn­ing to China, Li said the econ­omy would re­main steady and con­tinue to im­prove.

China’s econ­omy grew a stronger-than-ex­pected 6.9 per­cent in the first half, de­fy­ing ex­pec­ta­tions of a slow­down and putting the coun­try on pace to eas­ily meet its growth tar­get of around 6.5 per­cent.

“Based on the growth trend in re­cent months, the econ­omy will con­tinue to main­tain the trend seen in the first half,” Li said.

He also ad­dressed China’s high lever­age ra­tio, which has been the fo­cus of a cam­paign by pol­i­cy­mak­ers to con­trol risks.

China’s lever­age has sta­bilised and has even shown some de­clines, Li said.

Li also re­it­er­ated China’s pledge not to re­sort to com­pet­i­tive cur­rency de­val­u­a­tion.

At the of­fi­cial lo­cal close on Mon­day, the on­shore spot yuan had gained around 6.5 per­cent so far this year, about the same per­cent­age loss it suf­fered in 2016.

Li Ke­qiang

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