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China's exports grow fast in November
( 2003-12-09 22:56) (China Daily)

The increasing rate of exports outpaced imports in November, the first time this year, though the overall rate of imports from January to November still remains higher than overall exports.

Liu Wenjie, deputy director of the General Administration at Customs said at a press conference Tuesday that China's exports rose 32.9 per cent on the year to US$390.3 billion from January to November, while imports jumped 39.1 per cent to US$370.6 billion.

The trade surplus hit US$19.7 billion in the first 11 months of the year, dropping by 27.6 per cent from the same period last year.

The official did not give figures for November alone.

But by comparisons with earlier data, exports rose a year-on-year 33.6 per cent in the month to US$41.7 billion, while imports rose 28.3 per cent to US$36.87 billion.

November's surplus stood at US$4.83 billion, nearly double the US$2.47 billion seen a year earlier.

This is unusual for China but analysts say it will not reverse the trend towards more balanced trade. Li Yushi, vice-director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Co-operation attributes the export surge to exporters' rush to sell out their goods before the new tax rebate system comes into place.

The Ministry of Commerce, the watchdog for the country's foreign trade, reiterated its commitment to balanced trade.

In fact, Minister of Commerce Lu Fuyuan has previously said that China will turn to be a larger importer this year as more than US$1,000 billion worth of goods are expected to come into the country in the coming three years.

Though China's trade surplus with the rest of the world has been reducing, its surplus with the United States keeps growing. In fact, this is a key issue in Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's US trip.

Chinese officials on Monday urged the United States to increase their exports of electro-machinery products to China to better balance bilateral trade.

A senior Ministry of Commerce official said last week that China's foreign trade will reach US$800 billion this year.

The expected volume will place China as the fourth biggest trader in the world.

Its trade surplus this year is likely to be less than half the US$30.4 billion surplus of last year, as growth in imports outpaces export growth, he said.

"Growth in China's total trade will be only 8 per cent in 2004, down sharply from the 35.8 per cent growth in the first 11 months of this year compared with a year earlier,'' the official said.

Li predicted China's foreign trade surplus may reverse into a small deficit in 2004 due to robust demand for imports.

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