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Foreign Trade to Reach US$1.1 Trillion in 2004

China's total trade volume should reach US$1.1 trillion in 2004 -- up 30 percent over 2003 -- with a trade surplus of about US$10 billion, said Vice Minister of Commerce Yi Xiaozhun on Sunday.

Addressing a conference on the promotion of exports from private companies, Yi said that China still faces difficult challenges in sustaining development of foreign trade, mainly stemming from a changing international environment and lingering systemic problems.

The most prominent problem next year will be trade friction in textiles following the unification of the global textile market, Yi noted.

According to its agreement with the World Trade Organization, China's passive quota of textiles will be abolished on January 1, 2005. Its highly competitive textile industry has both developing and developed nations worrying, with the US and EU repeatedly asking China to rein in growth in its textile industry.

Excessive growth is a hindrance to sound growth, Yi acknowledged, as is the lack of its own brands and intellectual property, particularly in the area of core technologies.

Lack of intellectual property has already depressed prices for some products. The National Bureau of Statistics says that exports of color TVs rose 36.1 percent year-on-year in the January-September period, while prices dropped 5.1 percent.

Export prices for ships, carpets, shoes and other goods also declined in tandem with rising export volume.

Tight supplies of coal, electricity and oil, along with soaring prices for other raw materials, will also weaken China's competitive advantages in exports, Yi said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 26, 2004)

Hi-Tech Exports Soar
Foreign Trade in Positive Territory
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Ministry of Commerce
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