Minister: China's Foreign Trade to Hit $2.6 trln in 2008


Commerce Minister Chen Deming said on Tuesday that he expected China's foreign trade to grow about 18percent to 2.6 trillion U.S. dollars for 2008 as a whole, despite the downturn in foreign demand during the second half.

He also estimated that foreign investment had exceeded 90 billion U.S. dollars, up about 20 percent.

China has been hammered by the global financial crisis, which has cut exports and foreign investment as the world economy went into a downturn.

The economy grew 9 percent in the third quarter, the slowest pace in five years, as the global crisis sapped demand for Chinese goods and domestic industrial production waned in response to weak demand and rising raw material costs.

Foreign direct investment was 86.4 billion U.S. dollars in the first 11 months, up 26.3 percent year-on-year. The increase was lower than the average of 35 percent for the first 10 months.

The actual use of foreign investment slipped 36.5 percent year-on-year to 5.32 billion U.S. dollars in November.

Cai Qiusheng, an official with the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, was quoted by Tuesday's Shanghai Securities Journal as saying that foreign exchange reserves were below their peak at 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars as of the end of September.

From January to November, foreign trade was 2.38 trillion U.S. dollars, jumping 20.9 percent year-on-year. However, November's total trade stood at 189.89 billion U.S. dollars, down 9 percent year-on-year.

Chen told a national conference on commerce on Tuesday that the ministry would take steps to maintain stable export growth next year.

The measures will include expanding financial and fiscal support for exports, such as more credit support to exporters, and making more efforts to explore emerging markets in south and central Asia, the Middle East, South America and Eastern Europe, while consolidating China's food hold in traditional markets.

The ministry would also strive to improve the structure of export products next year by promoting domestic brand-name products, large machinery and equipment and agricultural products. It would also emphasize labor-intensive products and support small firms' technological innovation.

The ministry pledged to boost service trade, including software, culture and traditional Chinese medicine. It also vowed to expand imports, especially of equipment with up-to-date technologies as well as key spare parts, through policies including tariff cuts.
Source: xinhuanet
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