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China to be world's biggest importer soon: commerce minister

(Xinhua)

08:15, March 19, 2012

BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said Sunday that China, now the world's second largest importer, will become the biggest in a few years.

China not only provides the world with high-quality products at low costs, but also buys high-end goods supplied by global brands, Chen said at the China Development Forum 2012.

The growth rate of China's retail sales stayed between 16 percent and 18 percent over recent years, higher than its GDP growth, indicating the country's huge purchasing potential, the minister said.

Chen said many Western politicians blamed China for global trade imbalance, but they seldom mentioned that China, with its population only accounting for 19 percent of the world total, is also the world's second largest importer.

Trade remedy measures adopted by some developed countries are undesirable, because they are neither fair to other economies, nor just to domestic citizens and enterprises, Chen added.

Chen said emerging countries should base their growth on domestic demand so as to balance its growth, while opening their markets and facilitating trade in line with national conditions.

China's trade surplus narrowed 14.5 percent year-on-year to 155.14 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, with imports up 24.9 percent to 1.74 trillion U.S. dollars, customs data showed.

The China Development Forum 2012 runs from Saturday to Monday, with a theme of "China and the World: Macro-Stabilization and Economic Restructuring."

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