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December 25, 2009

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China imports: High-tech drive

CHINA would try to boost imports next year and urge the United States to loosen control over exports of high-tech products, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said yesterday at an annual ministry meeting.

His remarks were partly in response to comments by American President Barack Obama that the US should rely on exports to revive growth.

China has a huge demand for American high-tech products that are constrained by the US export-control system due to its concerns over so-called security issues.

John Gong, an associate professor of economics at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said healthy Sino-US trade relations could help speed up the global economic recovery. "The two economies have become inextricably intertwined, locked in a co-dependency situation that neither side thinks is particularly healthy," Gong said.

He said the new "Obama recipe" for export-driven growth had lifted China's hopes for a broader range of high-tech imports from the US.

China's imports fell 15.8 percent on an annual basis to US$893 billion in the first 11 months of this year.

However, they surprisingly advanced 26.7 percent in November, thanks to strong demand for raw materials in the domestic market.

Chen said at the meeting that China would step up efforts to stabilize exports next year by:

Expanding the coverage of credit insurance for exporters;

Continuing export tax rebates;

Increasing locations for cross-border yuan settlements; and

Raising financial aid for small and medium exporters.

In the year of the 2010 World Expo, the ministry is expecting more exports of cultural products.

It will revise guidelines for exports of cultural products and particularly encourage animation-industry exports.

China's export sector has been hit hard by the global financial crisis. In the first 11 months, the value of China's overseas shipments dropped 18.8 percent from a year earlier to US$1.07 trillion.

China's exports have declined at a slower pace in recent months and dipped 1.2 percent in November, the smallest loss this year. The improvement came after the country carried out various measures to stimulate exports.

Since July, export taxes on nearly 100 types of goods have been pruned.

In April, China allowed Shanghai and four cities in the southern Guangdong Province to start trials of settling trade in yuan with businesses in Hong Kong, Macau and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.


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