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Guangdong Targets Trade Volume of US$310b

Despite the uncertainty of Guangdong's foreign trade in the second half of the year, the province is still optimistic of achieving a foreign trade volume of more than US$310 billion this year.


Hitting the target would mark a yearly increase of about 10 per cent.


The southern province is China's biggest foreign trader. The target for exports was set at more than US$165 billion in 2004.


Wu Sihai, an official from Guangdong Customs, said the 9--2 Pan Pearl River Delta Co-operative Scheme launched in June would boost Guangdong's foreign trade in the second half of the year.


The Pan Pearl River Delta region encompasses Guangdong, Hainan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Hunan, Fujiang, Jiangxi and Yunnan provinces, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.


Under the Pan Pearl River Delta Co-operative Scheme, Guangdong is expected to find much easier accesses to further expand its trade ties with ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Wu said.


Guangdong's foreign trade volume with ASEAN reached US$14.77 billion in the first half, up 28 per cent year-on-year.


The implementation of CEPA (closer economic partnership arrangement) on January 1 would also help Guangdong's trade relations with neighboring areas including Hong Kong and Macao.


Hong Kong has been Guangdong's biggest trade partner for more than two decades. In 2003, Guangdong's exports to Hong Kong reached US$45 billion, more than 30 per cent of the province's total exports.


Wu said Guangdong's confidence is also based on the province's good trade performance during the January-June period.


According to statistics released by Guangdong Customs last week, in June, Guangdong's foreign trade volume reached US$29.47 billion, up 34.4 per cent from the same month a year earlier. That amounted to 19.7 per cent of the country's total.


The province's export volume hit US$15.61 billion last month, growing 32.4 per cent from the same period of last year, while imports stand at US$13.86 billion, increasing even faster by 36.8 per cent.


These are record numbers for Guangdong's monthly imports and exports.


Guangdong's foreign trade surplus hit US$1.75 billion in June, which was attributed to Guangdong's total foreign trade volume of US$159.29 billion in the first half, up 28 per cent from the corresponding months the previous year.


Guangdong's foreign trade volume represented 30.5 per cent of China's total in the first half of the year.


The province's export volume stood at US$82.87 billion while imports totaled US$76.42 billion, up 26 per cent and 30.2 per cent year-on-year.


In the first six months, Guangdong's exports to Hong Kong, the United States, European Unions (EU), ASEAN, South Korea and the Middle East marked an increase of at least 20 per cent.


Export volume from general trade was US$16.9 billion, up 32.4 per cent from the same period last year while exports from the processing industry hit US$62.62 billion, up 23.8 per cent.


Guangdong's foreign trade surplus reached US$6.45 billion during the January-June period.


Guangdong's export in the first half accounted for 51.6 per cent of its annual export goal, Wu said.


Guangdong's export volume from private-operated companies, collective-owned firms--companies that are owned by a group of owners in a certain region, foreign funded corporations and joint ventures witnessed strong growth in the first six months.


Export volume from privately-run companies reached US$7.78 billion between January and June, up 87.5 per cent from the same period last year while exports from collective firms notched up at US$3.41 billion, up 35.3 per cent from a year earlier.


Exports from foreign-funded firms and joint ventures came to US$51.95 billion, an increase of 29.1 per cent year-on-year and representing 62.7 per cent of the province's total.


Guangdong's exports from State-owned enterprises reached US$19.72 billion, up 4.6 per cent from 2003 and accounting for 23.8 per cent of the province's total.


Despite the numbers, Wu said worsening trade conflicts and other unclear factors could hinder the province's upward export trend in the second half of the year.


Guangdong's export of prawns would likely see a big reduction after the United States imposed anti-dumping taxes on Chinese prawns.


Guangdong is China's biggest prawn production base and its annual prawn exports account for more than 50 per cent of the country's total.


The United States is traditionally the biggest buyer of Guangdong's prawns.


Wu said government departments had urged local prawn raisers to sell more prawns to South Korea, Japan and other neighboring nations and regions.


Guangdong's export might also suffer from the global price hike in crude oil, coal and other energies.


(China Daily July 26, 2004)


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