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China may miss 2013 foreign trade growth target

BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) — China’s foreign trade is likely to grow by more than 7 percent from the previous year to reach 4.14 trillion U.S. dollars in 2013, slightly lower than the official target of 8 percent.

Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said the country will continue efforts to maintain steady trade growth in 2014 and speed up the adjustment of foreign trade structure by increasing the import of technology, equipment, energy and raw materials.

The country’s exports have picked up in recent months amid signs of a gradual recovery in external demand. In the first 11 months, foreign trade climbed 7.7 percent from one year earlier, with the growth of exports outperforming market expectations by rising 8.3 percent.

Retail sales of consumer goods will increase by more than 13 percent this year to 23.8 trillion yuan (3.9 trillion U.S. dollars) while foreign direct investment inflow is expected to rise by around 5 percent, Gao said at a two-day national conference that opened on Friday.

He added that the country’s non-financial outbound investment is set to expand by around 15 percent this year to reach 88 billion U.S. dollars.

In 2014, the country will speed up efforts to foster new sectors to boost consumption, such as information equipment, health care, fuel-efficient autos and electronic products, Gao said.

The country also vowed to push forward free trade negotiations with trade partners and broaden foreign capital access to service industries, he said.

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