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News Analysis: WTO Entry to Boost Economic Growth in China

China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) is expected to usher in a new round of economic growth amid some pains from reform and readjustment in the first year of its WTO membership, economists said.

Members attending the annual session of the country's advisory body are cautiously optimistic about the country's economic prospect, saying the entry will help increase China's economic growth by one to 1.5 percentage points.

Economist Bian Changtai, a member of the Ninth National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said China is still some distance behind the world average in economic development, and the potential for the nation is huge.

He said the entry will promote the country's foreign trade, foreign direct investment and tertiary sector and tap the potential of labor resources in economic growth.

Economists predict China's economy is expected to grow by 7-7.5 percent this year thanks to the proactive fiscal policy, compared with the growth target of around seven percent set by the Chinese government.

According to a report by the International Investment Bank, China's economy is forecast to grow at an average six percent annually during the coming two decades, and become the second largest in the world next to the United States by 2030.

China recorded an economic growth rate of 7.3 percent last year.

China's export of textile goods, home appliances and other electronic products will increase by a big martin while its imports of energy, mineral products, advanced equipment and software will rise considerably in the years ahead, said the economist.

Foreign direct investment is expected to pour in great amount, from an average 40 billion US dollars annually to about 100 billion in five years time, thanks to the further opening of the Chinese market and improved transparency and removal of sector hurdles.

Another economist, Song Hai, said "the WTO membership will help develop a fair, just and open market environment in China, which is of long-term significance to the country's economic stability and development, creating business opportunities for overseas enterprises, which are neither temporary nor limited to certain locality."

Song said WTO membership will speed up economic restructuring and urbanization, creating more opportunities for the country's 800 million farmers.

(Xinhua News Agency March 10, 2002)

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