China's foreign trade played an active and important role in supporting
the overall development of the economy in the ninth Five-Year Plan
With China's further opening up to the outside world, both its
trade in products and raw materials and its service trade have increased
In 1995 China was the 11th largest trader of products and raw materials
in the world. Last year it was 9th and the volume of trade had hit
US$36.06 billion in 1999 compared to that of US$28.08 billion in
During the first seven months of this year, the volumes of exports
and imports reached US$16.6 billion and US$12.16 billion respectively,
and the total trade volume for this year is expected to exceed US$40
The service trade, a sector with a bright future, enjoyed a prosperous
ninth Five-Year Plan period.
The volume of exports and imports in this sector reached US$2.38
billion and US$2.52 billion respectively in 1999, representing growth
rates of 25 percent and 24 percent from 1995.
Experts attribute these achievements to the market-oriented reforms
of foreign trade management mechanisms, the relaxation of foreign
trade operation regulations, sound policies for the development
of the processing trade (whereby raw materials and parts are imported
and made into finished products in China before being exported),
the improved supervision of the operation of foreign trade and the
strict crack down on smuggling and fraud.
China's efforts to adjust the structure of foreign trade bore fruits
in the ninth Five-Year Plan period.
Due to the country's policy of encouraging the export of machinery,
electronic products, software and high-tech products, the volume
of exports of these goods has soared.
The amount of state-owned enterprises' exports in both products
and raw materials and services declined from 58.62 percent in 1995
to 46.72 percent by the end of this July and the participation of
foreign-funded companies increased from 39.1 percent to 49.26 percent
in the same period.
Non-state enterprises have begun to play a bigger role in the country's
Thanks to the increasing strength of the nation, its foreign currency
reserve increased from US$7.36 billion in 1990 to US$15.8 billion
by the end of this August, making China the second largest holder
of foreign currency after Japan.
During the Asian financial crisis, which lasted from 1997 to 1999,
China retained its economic stability and resisted the urge to devalue
the renminbi, which was a great help to the recovery of other Asian
So far, besides close ties with foreign countries, a new structure
of economic co-operation has been established between the Chinese
mainland, the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao
and Taiwan Province.
China has been striving for 13 years to gain entry into the World
Trade Organization (WTO).
After signing bilateral agreements with the United States and the
European Union in November 1999 and May 2000 respectively, China
has clinched bilateral deals with 35 of the WTO's 37 present members,
leaving only Mexico and Switzerland.
China is expected to join the world's most important economic club
by the end of this year.