The Chinese government paid more than 400 billion yuan (US$48 billion) in tax rebates to the exporters in 2004, foreign trade minister Bo Xilai revealed Saturday.
"Of the total amount, some 200 billion yuan (US$24 billion) was the rebates of the year due to the exporters, while another 200.4 billion yuan (US$24.1 billion) was the money owed to the exporters over recent years," said Bo, also a deputy to the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature which is in its annual full session in Beijing.
The timely payment of the tax rebates of the year, along with the repayment of the rebates arrears, has laid a foundation for the rapid and steady growth of China's foreign trade, said Bo at a panel discussion of lawmakers from northeast China's Liaoning Province.
China's total foreign trade volume reached US$1.15 trillion, ranking third in the world.
"The practice of export tax rebates completely conforms to the rules of the World Trade Organization, and has contributed tremendously to the rapid expansion of China's foreign trade," Bo explained to fellow lawmakers.
According to a central government draft plan for national economic and social development in 2005, which was submitted Saturday to the just-opened legislature meeting for examination and adoption, China's foreign trade is expected to grow by 15 percent this year, with imports and exports basically balanced.
(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2005)