China's auto exports exceeded imports for the first time -- by 7,000 units in the first ten months this year, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reported Sunday, as a senior economic official warned of an industry overcapacity.
Auto exports more than doubled from January to October to 135,000 units, while imports fell 11.6 percent year-on-year to 128,000.
Ma Kai, minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told an on-going economic work conference in Beijing that the auto industry was plagued by unneeded production.
The overcapacity has already reached 2 million units, and the industry would be further pressured by an estimated turnout of 2.2 million from auto plants that are being built, as well as 8 million from those planned, Ma acknowledged.
He said overcapacity in some industries "was seen last year, became prominent this year and would likely be exacerbated next year," adding that no new steel plants would obtain go-ahead in principle in 2006.
MOFCOM report said that exported China-made automobile largely include trucks -- accounting for over half of the total -- as well as low-priced small cars. Most of them went to developing nations, such as Algeria, Syria and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, China imported costly, upscale sedans from Japan, Germany and the United States, with an average price of US$29,180. Under a commitment to the World Trade Organization, China will remove tariffs on auto imports by the end of 2006.
(Xinhua News Agency December 5, 2005)