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Commerce Minister: China expects bigger overseas investment
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17:25, March 10, 2009

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China has doubled overseas investment in recent years and will make great efforts on trade and investment facilitation by offering more financial support, simplifying the approving process and signing agreements with more countries. This is according to Mr. Chen Deming, China's Minister of Commerce at a press conference in Beijing on March 10 during the annual "two sessions" of NPC and CPPCC.

He hopes that further progress on the "going international" strategy will boost external demand and China's exports, which will in turn boost the employment and demand at home.

He believes that more aggressive steps of going international by Chinese companies benefit both China's economy and the stability of the world economy as well.

Chen cited that China's overseas investment reached 52.1 billion USD in 2008, soaring 96.7 percent over that of 2007. The turnover of contracted projects on overseas markets registered 56.6 billion USD. New contracts valued 104.6 billion USD, up by 35 percent.

Chen thinks that reflects China's progress on "going international" and is related to the country's foreign trade growth and international payment surplus.

"It is unfair and incorrect that some countries say China only pays attention to its trade surplus," said Chen, arguing that China's overseas spending on business expansion by Chinese companies and tourism as well as Chinese student abroad have helped to balance part of that trade surplus in its international payment.

Chen stressed that China has not only engaged in some resource development projects in the overseas markets, but also has many successful cases in acquiring foreign name brands.

When a Chinese business delegation visited four European countries at the end of February many European clothing brands and commercial websites expressed their hope of cooperating with Chinese companies and having Chinese investment. "The Chinese government holds a very positive attitude toward that. We hope and encourage Chinese companies to expand their business in the overseas market," said Chen.

A delegation with some 50 Chinese entrepreneurs is in those four countries to seek investment possibilities. Negotiations are under way for some projects on sectors such as machinery, automobile and clothing. Chen disclosed that investment would be possible in various ways, including shareholding, joint management or mergers and acquisitions.

China will also expand its foreign aid, according to Chen. More loans under favorable terms will be available.

The government will also grant more financial support, simplify the approving procedure and adopt other measures to facilitate the foreign trade and overseas business of Chinese companies.

However, the most important task of the government, said Chen, is to offer legal support for enterprises. China is negotiating with the US about a bilateral investment protection protocol after it has reached such agreements with more than 120 countries.

The 200-strong business and commerce offices of the Ministry of Commerce around the world also help Chinese companies understand local conditions, particularly the information on local culture, laws and trade unions.

By People's Daily Online

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