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Foreign trade may hit US$600 billion
( 2002-10-16 09:33 ) (1 )

China's total volume of imports and exports is expected to reach US$600 billion this year, said Shi Guangsheng, minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation, yesterday.

China performed well in foreign trade and foreign investment during the first nine months of this year, despite the slowdown in global economic growth, Shi said.

According to customs statistics, the total foreign trade volume was US$445.135 billion during the period, an increase of 18.3 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Imports stood at US$212.572 billion, a year-on-year increase of 17.2 per cent, while exports reached US$232.564 billion, up 19.4 per cent. The trade surplus was US$19.992 billion, 49.4 per cent more than for the same period last year.

With a better investment environment, the country has attracted more foreign investment following its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).

During the first nine months this year, China approved the establishment of 24,771 foreign-funded firms, up 33.36 per cent year-on-year, involving a contractual investment volume of US$68.375 billion, a 38.38 per cent increase.

The actual spent foreign investment during the period totalled US$39.556 billion, up 22.55 per cent from the same period last year.

By the end of September, China had approved 414,796 foreign-invested enterprises. The contractual overseas investment involved reached US$813.667 billion, of which US$434.78 billion had been realized.

Shi attributed the good results to China's own efforts and a better world economic environment this year.

"The steady, rapid and healthy development of the domestic economy provided an important base for expanding exports," said Shi. The gross domestic product (GDP) had a 7.8 per cent increase during the first half of this year.

The readjustment of the industrial structure and government policies related to foreign trade, which, along with both China's situation and WTO rules, were also helpful in developing an export-orientated economy, said Shi.

He also stressed that the positive influences of China's WTO membership also contributed to the healthy performance of the country's foreign trade and investment.

The WTO membership helped increase outside investment confidence towards China, and a more open world market provided Chinese enterprises with huge opportunities, Shi told reporters at the ongoing 92nd China Export Commodities Fair which began yesterday in South China's Guangdong Province.

The fair has been held each year in April and October since 1957 and is organized by the China Foreign Trade Centre. In the past it usually comprised one-third of China's exports.



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