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  January 9th, 2017 | Written by

China Dropping Trade Growth Target

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  • China's Commerce Ministry concluded conference without setting trade goal.
  • Chinese officials are backing away from obsession with trade targets.
  • The "new normal" of China's economic policy.

China may not be setting a trade growth target for 2017. If that proves to be the case it will be the second year in a row the government has not set such a number.

State media reported that China’s leaders are electing to push for greater economic stability and are backing away from an “obsession” with growth targets.

The most important piece of evidence for this conclusion is that China’s Ministry of Commerce concluded a key annual conference without setting a 2017 target.

The new attitude represents one of the conditions under the “new normal” of China’s economic policy, Li Guanghui, deputy director of the ministry’s Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the official Xinhua News Agency.

The focus on trade follows a pledge by top policy makers this month to curb risks and ensure stability next year. President Xi Jinping told top officials he’s open to growth below the 6.5 percent economic growth target to 2020 if holding to it would carry too much risk, a person familiar with the situation told Bloomberg last week.

Last March, China didn’t announce a target for increasing trade in 2016 at the national legislature’s opening session, a departure from tradition that underscored an increasing uncertainty over the global growth outlook.

The uncertain global environment makes it difficult to forecast trade prospects, according to Shanghai Securities News, a state-run newspaper. The publication also cited Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng as telling the gathering that trade has stabilized this year, narrowing earlier declines.

Risks facing the world’s biggest trading nation also include uncertainty surrounding the policies of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, once he takes office on January 20, who campaigned on a platform of imposing tariffs on Chinese goods.