China hopefully becomes the third largest export market of the United States at the end of this year, surpassing Japan, said US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Franklin Lavin in Shanghai Wednesday.
"My prediction is, by the end of this year, China will be the United States' third largest export market, surpassing Japan, if this trend continues," Lavin told reporters during a visit to China's business hub of Shanghai.
According to the statistics of the US Department of Commerce, the export from the United States to China's mainland in 2005 increased 20.5 percent over 2004.
It grew 36.5 percent in the first five months of this year over the same period in 2005, he said.
Considering the base was very large before, such a rapid growth indicates that the Sino-US trade is developing in a "positive" direction, Lavin said.
America's top export market is Canada, followed by Mexico, while China is currently ranking at the fourth place.
He attributed the increase to closer cooperation between the two countries, rather than other factors such as the weakening of the dollar.
Ye Xingguo, vice president of Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade, attributed this change to Chinese government's adjustment in policies to curb export and expand import quota.
An example is that a Chinese trade delegation, led by Vice Premier Wu Yi, signed a US$16.21 billion purchase agreement in April when visiting the United States, hitting a record-high single purchase deal.
In addition, Ye said, China's import keeps booming along with a growing investment.
China's first-quarter customs statistics showed that the country imported machines and electronics of 93.73 billion dollars and hi-tech products of US$53.37 billion, up 30.8 percent and 33.2 percent respectively, and 21 percentage points and 12.8 percentage points more than the same period of last year.
The import values of auto mobiles and planes increased 1.1 and 2.1 times, respectively.
"You wouldn't call (China) a very easy market to do business, but it is easier than before," he said during an interview with the Wall Street Journal Asia Tuesday.
Shanghai is the first stop of Lavin's seven-day China visit as guest of the Ministry of Commerce.
He will also visit Beijing and hold talks with Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, aiming to expand trade cooperation between the two countries.
(Xinhua News Agency July 27, 2006)