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China trade to top 840 billion dollars in 2003
( 2003-12-29 09:50) (Agencies)

China's foreign trade is expected to top 840 billion dollars this year, up 35 per cent from 2002 and making the nation the world's fourth biggest trader, a leading trade official said.

According to vice trade minister Yu Guangzhou, China's exports will top 430 billion dollars, while imports will be valued at about 410 billion dollars this year, the China News Service reported Sunday.

Yu, speaking at a nationwide trade meeting, said China's dynamic trade performance was based on the country's fast-paced economic growth, a domestic market with a large potential and a cheap labor force that is becoming stronger and more skilled.

Adjustments in global demand and supply were also benefitting China, while China was also importing more goods to feed a growing domestic consumer market, he said.

China's entry into the World Trade Organization has also boosted trade as it resulted in China's import tariffs falling and non-tariff measures being removed, he added.

China's economy is expected to grow by 8.5 per cent this year.

By becoming the world's fourth largest trading nation, China will overtake France, leaving it behind only the United States, Japan and Germany.

Yu's comments marked the second time this month that a vice minister of trade predicted that China would become the world's fourth largest trading nation this year.

However, China's figures appeared to be a narrower tabulation of numbers and do not include trade in services.

Yu also said that actual foreign direct investment (FDI) into China during the first 11 months of the year reached 47.2 billion dollars, while FDI for the entire year was expected to be about equal to last year's 52.7 billion dollars.

China's total exports in the first 11 months were valued at 390 billion dollars, up 32.9 per cent year-on-year, while imports rose 39.1 per cent year-on-year to 370.6 billion dollars, the General Administration of Customs reported earlier this month.

China's imports for November were valued at 36.8 billion dollars, while exports totaled 41.7 billion dollars.

According to figures from the World Trade Organization (WTO), China was the world's fifth largest merchandise exporter in 2002 with 325.6 billion dollars.

That put it right behind France, with 331.8 billion dollars, and well ahead of Britain, with 279.6 billion dollars.

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