More value-added Chinese exports expected

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China's exports will shift from a goods-driven to a value-added model in the coming years, European analysts have said.

"China's biggest change I foresee in next few years is the transformation of 'made in China'," Ngaire Woods, director of the Global Economic Governance Programme at Oxford University, told China Daily.

Woods said "made in China" has meant produced in China but designed, patented, financed and marketed abroad.

"China is gradually 'patriating' each of these elements," she said. "In the future, 'made in China' will be like 'made in Italy' in the fashion industry."

She made the remarks before Saturday's opening of the annual session of China's National People's Congress.

The 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) will be deliberated and then approved by the deputies of the country's top legislature. The plan is widely expected to contain measures to boost domestic consumption - a sign China is gradually steering its economy away from export- and investment-fueled growth.

"Increasingly, China is competing not just on cost in the export market but is moving up the value chain," Confederation of British Industry in China chief representative Guy Drury said.

China-Britain Business Council CEO Stephen Phillips said he believes it is a positive sign that the Chinese government is focusing on its domestic market in its 12th Five-Year Plan.

"This will help to achieve trade balance on a macro level," Phillips said.

Chinese exports play an important role in European business and consumption. Many Chinese products are daily essentials consumed in Europe, where they offer competitive prices and more choices.

But most Chinese exports use other countries' technological know-how. Drury pointed out that many parts for high-tech items are imported from abroad, assembled in China and then exported from China as finished products.

The Chinese government and companies should monitor the export balance transition, Jack Yu, international policy adviser on North Asia and Pacific of The Law Society of England and Wales, said.

Chinese commerce officials have previously said China should improve its exports' competitiveness and pay more attention to intellectual property protection. They have also called for the establishment of Chinese distribution and marketing channels for more value-added goods.

"Although China has become the world's biggest exporter, our trade is plagued by various problems, one of which is related to quality and the relatively thin profits," Vice-Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said at the opening ceremony of the East China Fair on March 1 in Shanghai.

China's trade surplus fell 6.4 percent in 2010, with exports jumping 31.3 percent and imports surging 38.7 percent year-on-year, government figures show. China's trade grew robustly in January, when exports rose 37.7 percent and imports soared 51 percent.

Rodger Baker, vice-president of global intelligence company Strategic Intelligence, said: "Chinese goods are rising up the technology scale and competing with European goods."

As Yu put it: "It is interesting to watch the dynamics as Chinese companies move from 'made in China' to 'designed in China'."

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