Five Years See Foreign Trade Growth

China's foreign trade played an active and important role in supporting the overall development of the economy in the ninth Five-Year-Plan period (1996-2000).

With China's further opening up to the outside world, both its trade in products and raw materials and its service trade have increased rapidly.

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 hit US$36.06 billion compared to that of US$28.08 billion in 1995.

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 billion.

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 export of machinery, electronic products, software and hi-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 foreign trade.

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 countries.

So far, besides close ties with foreign countries, a new structure of economic cooperation 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 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.

(China Daily 09/26/2000)

In This Series

Foreign Trade Volume Hits US$300 Billion in Eight Months



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