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Premier focuses on stabilizing growth (2)

By Li Jiabao, Diao Ying and Qiu quanlin (China Daily)

08:08, July 11, 2012

Trade: 'Most growth will take place outside EU'

The trade surplus in June rose to a three-year high of $31.7 billion.

The first half of 2012 saw foreign trade increase by 8 percent year-on-year. Exports expanded by 9.2 percent to $954.38 billion in the same period while imports gained 6.7 percent to $885.46 billion, yielding a trade surplus of $68.92 billion.

"Provided that the world economy, especially the eurozone debt crisis, does not deteriorate, China's foreign trade is expected to achieve the set goal of 10 percent growth,'' Zheng said.

"Consumption and exports are the major forces driving China's economic growth," said Wang Haifeng, director of international economics at the Institute for International Economic Research, which is affiliated to the National Development and Reform Commission.

"The trade surplus this year will be smaller than that in 2011 ($155.14 billion), and will drag down GDP growth by about 0.5 percent,'' he said.

"But China will still be an outstanding economy even with a GDP growth of 7 percent,'' he said.

Trade with the EU in the first half of this year edged up 0.7 percent to $267.82 billion from the previous year and trade with Japan declined by 0.2 percent to $162 billion in the same period.

"Exports to the EU declined in the first half of this year," Zheng said.

"The US replaced the EU as China's biggest export market in the first half of 2012.''

Karel de Gucht, the European trade commissioner, said trade with China is one of the most important ways for the continent to deal with the current debt crisis.

"Europe must emerge on the other side of the crisis as a changed union, stronger and better able to compete," the commissioner said in a speech in London on Monday. "International trade and investment with important partners like China are among the best ways we have to deliver that growth," he said.

"In the future, we expect 90 percent of the growth of the world economy will occur outside of European borders, one third of it in China alone," he said.

Cai Xuqing, general manager of Chaozhou Chenhui Ceramics, said the company's sales dropped by more than 30 percent year-on-year in the first half of this year following weakened demand from European buyers.

"In the whole year, a year-on-year decrease of at least 20 percent is predicted, given that the euro debt crisis is still continuing," he said.

The company ships most of its products to the European market.

"We have begun developing the Middle East market. But the uncertain political situation in the region has also affected our business. We hope the government will provide more information about new markets for exporters," he said.

Sources with the Chaozhou Bureau of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation said that the local government will organize exporters to participate in trade fairs in Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Brazil.

Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce showed that China's use of foreign direct investment dropped for six straight months since November and edged up by 0.05 percent in May.

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