Trade between China and Pacific island countries is expected to reach $2 billion by the end of this year, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said yesterday.
The two sides aim to increase trade to $3 billion by 2010, Chen told the ministerial conference of the China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum.
"The economies of China and Pacific island countries are complementary, and there is great potential for future cooperation, " he told the senior officials of 11 Pacific island countries at the forum.
Trade between the two sides has developed rapidly after an economic development and cooperation framework was set up in 2006.
Customs data show that last year trade between China and 13 Pacific island countries reached $1.53 billion, up 24.4 percent over 2006.
China imported $660 million worth of goods from these countries, up 26.9 percent, and its exports reached $870 million, an increase of 22.5 percent.
China mainly imported seafood and wood, and its principal exports were electro-mechanical goods, and light industrial and textile products.
After Premier Wen Jiabao announced two years ago that China would help the Pacific island countries' economic development, Beijing has provided more than 1.2 billion yuan in favorable loans to them. It has made 278 products of the least developed countries, such as Samoa and Vanuatu, tariff-free too.
These steps have been effective, Chen said, with China's imports from these countries reaching $400 million in the first five months of this year, up by 21 percent year-on-year. And its exports fell 2 percent to $410 million, reflecting the effectiveness of measures.
The total imports from the region are expected to increase further for the entire year, Chen said, and the country will soon expand the list of duty free items.
Chinese investment in the region, however, has been increasing.
Ministry of Commerce figures show China has invested $310 million, mainly in resources development, fisheries, and aviation and construction services.
Source: China Daily