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Foreign trade maintains surge
( 2002-07-31 10:22 ) (1 )

Foreign trade is to swell in line with economic growth -- so long as the world economy avoids a sudden slump.

That was the message from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation (MOFTEC), which released statistics on Tuesday showing buoyant overseas trade.

According to experts in the field the country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year is forecast to surpass 7 per cent. China's exports topped US$142.12 billion in the first half of the year and imports hit US$128.52 billion, representing a rise of 14.2 per cent and 10.3 per cent respectively.

"We will fully observe our commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and take advantage of WTO-related rules," MOFTEC spokesperson Gao Yan emphasized at the conference in Beijing.

The spokesperson attributed growth in the country's foreign trade to the government's strenuous efforts to smash tariff barriers since China gained WTO membership in December.

China will put equal stress on opening its markets and safeguarding national economic security.

Since the end of last year, China has strictly implemented its WTO obligations, cutting tariff levels and reducing the number of imports which require a quota licence from 33 kinds to 12, Gao said.

"Meanwhile, China has enacted new laws to further open its service sector, and the State Council has rectified or relinquished more than 2,300 provisions relating to foreign trade and investment to meet WTO standards," she said.

The spokesperson reiterated that China will actively utilize WTO rights to safeguard its own interests and participate in the new round of WTO negotiations, handling economic and trade disputes in line with WTO rules. It will also fight against international trade protectionism.

"We will continue to keep our foreign investment policy coherent and stable, while upgrading investment quality," Gao said.

Since the beginning of this year, China's foreign trade and investment have developed in a stable way. China's foreign direct investment (FDI) achieved a year-on-year 18.7 per cent rise in the first half of this year, reflecting the appeal of the country's cheap labour pool and promise of more open markets to overseas businesses.

China attracted US$24.58 billion in FDI between January and June this year.

According to MOFTEC, about 15,155 overseas-invested firms were set up in the six months, up 26 per cent on the previous year.

Gao said the government would continue to reform administrative operations to offer transparent and effective services and create a healthy business environment to attract more foreign investment.

MOFTEC would endeavour to optimize the foreign investment structure, ensuring that investment aids Chinese economic restructuring, enhances competitiveness and helps China's western development strategy, she said.



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