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Chen says imports to be boosted

CHINA will expand imports this year, sending more commercial missions abroad in an effort to bolster global trade and counter the deepening economic slump.

The government will encourage companies to buy more equipment, raw materials and other products, and explore potential investments overseas, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said at a forum in Beijing yesterday.

China opposes trade protection and will welcome overseas investments during the economic slump, Chen said. Chinese companies spent about US$15 billion in four European countries during a trade mission Chen led earlier this year.

The country will encourage foreign companies to invest in China's central and western areas, and in industries with strong technologies, Chen said. It will also further open domestic service industries to overseas investment, he added.

Foreign direct investment in China fell in the first two months, and is set to decline further for the rest of this year, Chen said.

He also said it would be wrong to assume China didn't welcome foreign investment based on a recent disapproval of Coca-Cola's proposal to acquire China Huiyuan Juice Group.

The proposed acquisition was between two companies and the rejection was based on concerns over whether or not these two companies' sales in China would cause a monopoly, Chen said.

The Ministry of Commerce last Wednesday announced Coca-Cola's bid to acquire Huiyuan failed to meet requirements set out in the anti-monopoly law.

Huiyuan is a firm registered in Cayman Islands located in the Caribbean region.


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