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Minister: Quake has no major impact on China's exports
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Commerce Minister Chen Deming said Thursday that the 8.0-magnitude earthquake had no major impact on exports or movement of commodities, except some disaster relief materials such as tents.

Chen said China had more room for maneuvering as it's a big country. But he admitted that for such items as tents, which the quake-stricken regions were in dire need of, the ministry was discussing the delivery issue with relevant foreign buyers.

China made an urgent global appeal Thursday for millions of tents to shelter survivors of the quake.

As of 9 p.m. Wednesday, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the U.N. Refugee Agency had provided more than 150,000 tents, according to the Information Office of the State Council, the cabinet.

Chen said there had been "strong support and assistance" from the international community after the quake hit the southwestern Sichuan Province last week. Foreign-invested companies in China had given more than 1.7 billion yuan (242.9 million U.S. dollars) in cash.

He thanked overseas companies for donating earthquake aid, adding the quake had made people worldwide realize their common obligations to combat natural disasters.

The death toll in the devastating earthquake had risen by 9,798 to 51,151 as of 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, according to the Information Office of the State Council.

(Xinhua News Agency May 23, 2008)

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