Blueprint to increase imports drawn

(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-16 09:39

China has mapped out a plan to boost its imports to reduce its huge trade surplus, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Friday.

The new measures include increasing imports of large machinery components, advanced technology and resource-intensive goods, signalling a strategic transformation for China to embrace a larger influx of foreign goods and capital.

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"We will continue to give duty-free status to imports from the least developed countries and expand imports from them," a MOC official told Xinhua.

The announcements follow the signing of four business contracts between China and the United States on Wednesday, involving a US$550 million aircraft engine deal with GE Aviation and the US retailer Home Depot's acquisition of Chinese home improvement store Home Way.

"China has made the right choice to expand its imports as it will help the country satisfy the demands of its rapidly developing economy," said Tang Min, chief economist with the Asian Development Bank.

China's exports have rocketed from US$245 billion to the estimated US$800 billion in 2006 since its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Meanwhile, China's trade surplus hit a new high of US$157 billion in the first 11 months of the year.

The growing gap has led to increased trade friction and more pressure from the United States for an appreciation of the Chinese yuan.

Zhang Junsheng, a professor with the WTO research institute at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said an increase in imports would help redress the trade imbalance and optimize the structure of the mounting foreign reserve.

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