China ministry says expects retail sales to grow 5%/yr in 2021-25

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a face mask shops inside a supermarket following a new outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beijing, China, June 19, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) -China’s commerce ministry said on Friday it expects retail sales in the 14th five-year plan period, from 2021 to 2025, to grow by an average of 5% a year, amid a push by China to expand domestic demand to drive growth.

That compares with an average annual growth target of around 10% set in the previous five-year plan period. Trade in goods is expected to grow by 2% per year, the ministry added, in a notice posted online.

The ministry also said it will explore setting up a pilot zone “to respond to trade frictions”, and improve the “unreliable entities list” system. Agricultural and energy imports should be diversified and developed countries encouraged to relax export controls on China, it said, without giving further details.

China has said previously it does not have pre-set names of companies on its “unreliable entities list” but if foreign firms violate Chinese laws or commit “illegal acts” they could be added to this list and face measures.

China and the United States have imposed tariffs affecting billions of dollars worth of goods since a trade war in 2018, with the United States demanding that China undertake sweeping structural reforms to open its markets and buy more U.S. goods.

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