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Growing Chinese, US economies to fuel bilateral trade
( 2003-10-14 22:51) (Xinhua)

The fledgling Chinese economy and recovering US economy will fuel trade ties between the two major trade partners of the world, business leaders from the two countries said here Tuesday.

Wan Jifei, president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), said at the first annual group meeting of the China-US Business Dialogue, that the Chinese economy increased by 8.2 percent in the first half of 2003.

The vigorous Chinese economy stimulated Sino-US trade, Wan said, noting the improving Chinese investment environment will help foreign investors further tap the Chinese market.

In the first seven months, Chinese trade volume grew by 38 percent year-on-year, he said. Exports hit 228.4 billion US dollars and imports mounted up to 222.3 billion US dollars, Wan noted.

Zhang Xiaoqiang, secretary general of the State Development and Reform Commission, said China's industrial added-value, investment, external trade and foreign direct investment maintained high growth in the first eight months.

"All the economic goals set by the Chinese government at the beginning of 2003 will be realized," Zhang noted.

Statistics from Chinese Customs show that Sino-US trade hit 78. 5 billion US dollars in the first eight months, up 30.4 percent year-on-year.

President and Chief Executive Officer of the US Chamber of Commerce Thomas J. Donohue said both economies "have weathered potentially severe disruptions".

"China continues its impressive growth and the American economy is really starting to pick up steam," Donohue said.

The actual growth of the US economy in the last seven quarters was 2.7 percent, Donohue said, predicting the annual growth for 2003 will hit 4 percent.

There will be more US customers, who gain more from an upward trending economy, buying Chinese products, which was "encouraging", Donohue added.

On the exchange rates of the RMB, the Chinese currency, Donohue said it was "best left to market forces".

"We are much better to have an evaluation and not a revaluation, " he said, referring to the allegation that the RMB was devalued and Chinese exports flooded to the United States, triggering high unemployment in the US manufacturing sector.

But Donohue attributed that to interference from the US government, outdated equipment and increasing productivity.

One way to ease the situation was to increase US exports to China, said Christian Murck, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China and Managing Director of APCO China.

However, US limitations on high-tech products hindered the growth of US exports to China, said Wei Jiafu, president and CEO of the China Ocean Shipping Corporation (COSCO).

In 2002, China imported 82.8 billion US dollars worth of high- tech products, an increase of 29 percent year-on-year, Wei said.

But the imports of such products from the United States reached only 4.1 billion US dollars, accounting for 4.9 percent of Chinese total imports of high-tech products, Wei said.

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