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Nation to increase imports: official

(Global Times)

13:29, September 07, 2012

China will moderately expand the imports of consumer goods, an official at the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.

According to data released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC), during the first seven months, the country's imports rose 6.4 percent year-on-year to $1.04 trillion, while exports rose by 7.8 percent to $1.13 trillion.

However, Wang Shouwen, director of the Foreign Trade Department under the Ministry of Commerce, said at a forum in Beijing Thursday that the growth rate of consumer goods imports reached double digits for the same period.

Wang also said the country will import advanced technologies and equipment, as well as energy raw materials.

"We call on the US and European countries to further relax technology export restrictions imposed on China. These (technologies) are competitive products in Europe and the US … China will increase product imports from both developed and developing countries," Wang said.

Between January and July, China's total foreign trade reached $2.17 trillion, an increase of 7.1 percent over a year earlier, the GAC figures showed. The government set a target of 10 percent for foreign trade growth this year.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan in July called for greater efforts to boost China's foreign trade, but admitted that fulfilling the 10 percent growth target for the year would be "an arduous task."

The World Bank earlier this year cut its forecast for 2012 global economic growth to 2.5 percent, compared with a previous estimate of 3.6 percent, mainly because of the European debt crisis.

The external conditions remain uncertain, which has an impact on China's exports, so the authorities have been focusing on import growth.

Chen Deming, the minister of commerce, said in June that China might be able to reach its foreign trade growth goal this year "if we're lucky."

But the foreign trade conditions are still "grim," Chen said, so the country will put more emphasis on import expansion at present and in the coming period.

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