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China Plans Measures to Boost Trade After Unexpected Drop

China will implement measures to stabilize the country’s “severe and complicated” foreign-trade situation, Premier Li Keqiang said.

“Arduous efforts” are needed to ensure the government meets its full-year trade target, Li said during a State Council meeting yesterday, according to a statement posted on the central government’s website. March data showed exports and imports unexpectedly dropped.

The government will accelerate the development of cross-border e-commerce, further streamline trade processes, reduce the types of merchandise that require inspection, improve trade financing and encourage trade in services to support growth, according to the statement.

China’s government has rolled out some economic support measures, such as reserve-ratio cuts for rural banks and faster spending on railways, while pledging to avoid broader stimulus for now. Li’s government is chasing a growth target of about 7.5 percent for the year, compared with expansion in the first quarter of 7.4 percent.

A manufacturing index to be released later today will give the latest reading on the strength of the world’s second-biggest economy. While exports fell 6.6 percent in March from a year earlier, the customs administration said the drop was partly caused by distortions in previous data.

The world’s second-largest economy may grow 7.3 percent this year, the slowest pace since 1990, based on the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

The State Council meeting also discussed measures to help college graduates to find jobs because more than 7 million are expected to enter the job market this year, according to the statement.

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