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Foreign trade growth maintains momentum
By Jiang Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-12 07:01

China's foreign trade kept growing quickly in the first quarter, according to the latest statistics released yesterday by China's General Administration of Customs.

The country's trade volume hit US$295.2 billion in the first three months, reflecting a year-on-year increase of more than 23 per cent.

Exports increased by nearly 35 per cent to US$155.9 billion while imports grew by 12.2 per cent to US$139.3 billion.

The country recorded a trade surplus of US$16.6 billion in the first quarter.

The statistics showed that both general trade and processing trade continue to grow robustly.

China's exports stood at US$60.87 billion in March, up 32.8 per cent from a year earlier.

Imports reached US$55.14 billion, up 18.6 per cent compared to the previous year.

Although the growth rate of exports lagged behind that of imports, exporters said it did not mean that China's imports growth would stagnate.

"I would like to contribute this comparatively low speed to the large base of imports in March last year," said Gao Hong, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

In March last year, China's imports grew strongly to US$45.8 billion, up more than 40 per cent on that of 2003.

Last month China saw a trade surplus of US$5.73 billion, but the country witnessed a deficit of US$540 million in March last year.

In addition, the country's economic ties with its major trade partners were strengthened.

With a bilateral trade volume of some US$47.1 billion, the European Union ranked first among China's trade partners.

The United States and Japan took second and third places while their trade with China hit US$43.6 billion and US$41.2 billion respectively.

Meanwhile, the country reported a steady growth in its tax revenue in the first three months, according to the State Administration of Taxation.

China collected tax revenue of 756 billion yuan (US$91.1 billion), up 20.4 per cent over the previous year.

The tax rebate for exports reached 67.2 billion yuan (US$8.1 billion) during this period, which is also seen as supporting foreign trade growth.

(China Daily 04/12/2005 page9)

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