Nation seeks export stability
Updated: 2011-12-15 07:55
By Ding Qingfen (China Daily)
Conditions next year expected to be complicated and severe, official says
BEIJING - With the global economic picture looking grim, China will try to steady the growth of its exports next year by stabilizing its foreign trade policy and promoting industrial transformation, according to Chinese government officials.
The nation will also be committed to balancing trade and expanding imports, according to documents released at the close of the annual Central Economic Work Conference.
The three-day meeting ended on Wednesday in Beijing, with the government having mapped out the nation's economic policies for next year.
As demand from the European Union in particular weakens, exporters face challenges, as shipment growth steadily slides and is likely to drop to zero next year.
"China will try to maintain stable and continuous policies for foreign trade, while it will actively enlarge imports to balance trade," said the documents.
According to the General Administration of Customs, export growth shrank further in November, and overseas sales are up just 13.8 percent from a year ago, the smallest gain since 2009.
Reflecting the impact of the continuing European debt crisis, exports to the EU, China's top trade partner, edged up only 5 percent this past month, one-quarter of the pace in July and August.
Sales to Germany, the EU's biggest economy, fell 1.6 percent, while those to Italy dropped for a third month.
Vice-Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said at a trade meeting on Tuesday that conditions in 2012 will be more complicated and severe, and China will act to maintain export growth, including encouraging industrial transformation for the export sector.
Maintaining stable export growth "is the current priority for the Chinese government, although enlarging imports is also important", said Huo Jianguo, president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, a think tank under the Ministry of Commerce.
China's third-quarter economic expansion slowed to 9.1 percent, and experts have forecast that GDP growth will fall below 9 percent.
The government has pledged to increase domestic consumption to boost the economy.
"Stable export growth is very pressing at the moment, while China's economy is slowing down, but promoting domestic consumption is a long-term task," he said.
The documents also said that China will encourage foreign businesses to invest in the nation's central and western regions, opening wider in the service sector.
China has been the largest destination for foreign direct investment for more than a decade, President Hu Jintao said on Sunday at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the nation's entry into the World Trade Organization.
China will further open its economy in the next decade, including the service sector, to draw more foreign investment.
In terms of overseas investment, China will "deepen international cooperation in infrastructure", said the documents.
The China Investment Corp, the nation's main sovereign wealth fund, plans to invest in the infrastructure sector in developed countries, starting with the United Kingdom.
(China Daily 12/15/2011 page13)