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Sino-German Trade to Exceed US$50b

The Chinese and German finance ministers said Monday that trade between the two countries is expected to exceed US$50 billion this year.

In a press conference Monday night after meeting with visiting German Finance Minister Hans Eichel, Chinese Minister of Finance Jin Renqing said he believes trade between China and Germany will exceed US$50 billion, compared with US$41.8 billion in 2003.

After noting that bilateral trade volume for 2010 is expected to double that of 2003, Jin said the two countries will expand cooperation in the energy sector and in China's efforts to develop the country's vast but impoverished western region and old industrial areas in the northeast.

Eichel said Germany would create a taskforce comprising leading officials of German finance ministry, German federal bank and finance supervision department to explore ways to help regulate the Chinese financial market.

Germany will select experts from major German banks to offer advice on reform of China's commercial banks, Eichel said through an interpreter.

The German finance minister started his three-day China visit Monday at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart, met with Vice-Premier Huang Ju, and Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank.

During their closed-door meeting Monday night, the two ministers exchanged views on the global economic situation, bilateral financial cooperation and future strategies for Group 20 nations, which include China and Germany.

The German minister, who is scheduled to leave Beijing for Yunnan Province, southwest China, said Germany is thinking of offering assistance to the province.

Jin said Germany has offered a total of US$4.6 billion worth of government loans or grants since 1985 for hundreds of projects in China, involving communications, urban infrastructure, energy, environmental protection, public health sectors and various industrial sectors.

The projects have promoted social and economic development and helped improve people's standard of living in areas involved, said the minister, who described the cooperation between the two countries as exemplary.

(Xinhua News Agency October 12, 2004)

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