Import expansion strategy benefits world economy

Updated: 2011-10-16 15:32


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GUANGZHOU - The 110th Canton Fair, China's largest trade fair and a barometer of the country's foreign trade, is sending a clear message that China will expand imports from other parts of the world, and many analysts say this is the best gift China could give to the global economy.

China will continue to deepen its opening-up strategy, and increase imports while stabilizing exports in order to promote trade balance, Premier Wen Jiabao said at the opening ceremony of the fair in Guangzhou, capital city of South China's Guangdong province.

"Promoting trade balance dominates China's current foreign trade policies. The country is expected to accelerate the introduction of measures that aim to encourage imports," Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said on the sidelines of the fair, which is officially called the China Import and Export Fair.

During the past few years, Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of the National Retail Federation, came to the fair looking for goods appropriate for 1.6 million companies in the US retailing sector.

This year, however, Shay is switching gears toward exploring sales opportunities for his member retailers in the world's second-largest economy.

"We brought made-in-China to the US market a long time ago. Now we hope US retail companies can flourish in Chinese market," he said.

Shay is not alone: according to the fair's organizers, 529 foreign enterprises, including Microsoft and General Electric, from 49 countries and regions came to the fair hoping to sell more goods to Chinese consumers.

China is shifting its foreign trade policy from only emphasizing exports to promoting trade balance, and many foreign representatives said the Chinese government's determination to increase imports is one of the reasons that attracted them to the fair.

The nation's annual import growth averaged 21.4 percent during the past decade, more than 10 percentage points higher than the world's annual import growth, according to official data.

China's imports accounted for 4.4 percent of global imports in 2002, and the proportion rose to 10 percent last year.

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