Up to 30 large Chinese companies will be invited to this year's International Sourcing Fair in Shanghai and encouraged to spend as much as US$10 billion on foreign imports.
The procurement fair is scheduled for September 25-27, and the event is another step taken by China to secure a more balanced trade environment, Vice-Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said yesterday.
China's trade surplus hit US$46.4 billion in the first quarter of this year, nearly double that for the same period last year.
The government has worked hard to boost imports since late last year.
Gao predicted that efforts to promote more balanced trade could yield results by the later half of this year.
"Our efforts to facilitate imports will work and China will make substantial progress in achieving a more balanced trade," he said.
"But the surplus, which resulted from the global industrial structure, is likely to remain for some time."
The trade surplus has become one of the top concerns of China's major trading partners, and triggered some disputes.
Government institutions, such as the Ministry of Commerce, the State Administration of Foreign Exchanges and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, have adopted various measures to facilitate more imports.
Import permits for more than 1,600 categories have been abolished to boost imports.
In another development, Qi Xiangdong, deputy secretary-general of China Iron and Steel Association, said the nation would consider imposing a steel export quota system if exports do not meet the government target for balanced trade.
(China Daily April 25, 2007)