BEIJING, March 5 (UPI) -- China plans to increase foreign trade volume by about 8 percent this year, an official report said Tuesday, while warning export prospects remain grim.
Blaming slow global economic recovery and rising trade protectionism, a draft report prepared by the National Development and Reform Commission said, "China's export prospects remain grim."
The report was presented at Tuesday's opening session of China's Parliament.
China is the world second largest economy after the United States and the world's largest exporter.
Last year, Chinese foreign trade increased 6.2 percent to $3.87 trillion, yielding a trade surplus of $231.1 billion, official data indicated. Last year's growth, however, was much smaller than the 10 percent growth targeted by the government.
Officials said economic problems in European Union, the United States and other major trading partners led to the target to be missed.
In its projection for 2013, the report said: "World economic growth will continue to be slow. Overall demand of major economies will remain weak. All forms of protectionism are clearly reasserting themselves."
The report urged the government to implement a more active opening-up strategy and putting in place new competitive advantages, the official Xinhua news agency reported.