Trade prospects look good for interdependent economies

Updated: 2011-08-12 08:35

By Bao Chang (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The bilateral economic relationship between China and Japan is poised to pick up, as the latter's economy is headed toward a recovery, according to a poll.

The poll shows that 63.5 percent of Chinese think the Japanese economy is profitable, has positive momentum and is critical to the sustainable development of China.

In addition, 52.9 percent of Chinese believe that Asian countries could form an integrated economic community, as Japan's economy recovers from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

"The bilateral trade between China and Japan will go back to the pre-earthquake level six months after the disaster," said Li Guanghui, a researcher at China's Ministry of Commerce.

Statistics from the General Administration of Customs released on Wednesday showed China's exports to Japan reached $12.78 billion in July, up 56 percent from $8.19 billion in February, before Japan's economy was impacted by the disaster.

"Export growth is better than expected, thanks to Japan's output capacity resuming," said Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at Industrial Bank.

Currently, Japan is China's third-largest trade partner worldwide.

Chen Jian, vice-minister of commerce, said China is willing to work with Japan to turn post-disaster construction into a new growth sector for Sino-Japanese trade cooperation.

Chen made the remark on Aug 4 when the ministry signed the post-quake reconstruction collaboration agreement with Hideichi Okada, vice-minister for International Affairs of Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Shanghai.

During the consultation, the two sides exchanged views on multilateral issues such as cooperation among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, East Asia regional cooperation and WTO Doha Round negotiations. Consensus was also achieved on establishing the China-Japan SMEs Communication and Cooperation Center in Shanghai and strengthening China-Japan trade on technology, cooperation on intellectual property rights and mutual investment.

The Financial Times reported that Japanese companies are starting to see Chinese investment as an opportunity to unload unwanted legacy businesses and accelerate restructuring.

Statistics from the data analysis firm Dealogic demonstrate that the value of inbound Chinese investment to Japan reached $575.5 million for the first seven months this year, more than four times the total for 2010.

Haier, China's home appliance giant, acquired the white goods division of Panasonic's Sanyo subsidiary in July, giving the Chinese refrigerator and washing machine company two research centers and four manufacturing bases in Japan and Southeast Asia.

Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group announced in January that it will invest $175 million to form a venture with Japan's NEC Corp as part of its effort to expand outside of China.

The world's fourth-largest PC maker said that it will give NEC 281.1 million new Lenovo shares, valued at HK$4.85 (62 US cents) apiece, to buy a 51 percent stake in the venture.

Both companies will transfer their Japan PC assets to the venture, named Lenovo NEC Holdings BV, and NEC will own a 49 percent stake, according to the statement.

"The partnership with Japan's biggest computer maker offers the way for Lenovo to expand in Japan, the world's third-largest PC market followed by the United States and China," Lenovo said.

The company will take a 26 percent share in the Japanese market after the deal.

According to the poll, electrical products rank at the top in terms of Chinese people's association with Japan. When thinking about Japan, 49.9 percent of respondents said the first thing they thought about was electrical equipment, followed by historical events, Japanese cherries and cuisine.

For the poll, conducted in both China and Japan, China Daily and NPO surveyed 1,540 residents and 1,000 college students in five cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu. The poll was conducted in June and July, and respondents were surveyed about politics, the economy and culture.

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