Foreign Trade to Maintain Growth Momentum

China's vice premier Wu Yi says the country's foreign trade growth momentum in 2004 has far exceeded the previous estimation made at the beginning of this year.

"At the beginning of this year, bird flu hit some parts of China, trade deficit lasted for four months and constant trade disputes all created a serious situation in this year's foreign trade. However, trade volume has still seen a more than 30 percent increase compared with the same period last year."

According to China's General Adiministration of Customs, the country's foreign trade volume has topped 1 trillion US dollars this year, making China the world's No.3 trading power behind the US and Germany.

Meanwhile, this year China has increased its competitiveness in absorbing foreign investment by continuously improving the investment environment and policies.

Total overseas investment is expected to reach 60 billion US dollars in 2004, with more multinational companies setting their headquarters and Development and Research centers in China.

In terms of regional economic cooperation, China has not only strengthened its relations with major trade partners, including the United States, the European Union, Japan and Russia. It also actively participates in negotiations with more than 30 countries around the world to expand trade cooperation.

Wu Yi says China is committed to making itself into a big power in global trade. However, the country will face some negative factors which may lead to the slow-down for future growth.

She says a 30 percent trade growth rate is not likely to be seen next year.

"There are still some unstable factors in the global economy, such as fluctuating international oil prices, the unsteady trend of major exchange rates and increasing trade disputes. Domestically, many key sectors will open wider in line with our commitment to the WTO."

Wu Yi says China will balance the imports and exports next year. A top priority for the coming year will be given to increasing the added-value of China's exported products.

She urges domestic enterprises to explore more markets and encourage production of domestic brands and intellectual property rights.

Na Lan, CRI news.

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