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Manufacturing Remains Nation's Advantage
China's comparative advantage still lies in its manufacturing industry, a senior government official said on Friday.

"The manufacturing industry will still be the main driving force for the country's economic growth in at least the first 20 years of the 21st century," said Qiu Xiaohua, deputy director of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) at a press conference promoting the upcoming China Economic Growth Forum which will be held from November 1 to 3 in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province.

The country's huge domestic market capacity makes the development of its manufacturing industry possible, where abundant, high quality and cheaper labour guarantees its growth, said Qiu.

Statistics show that during the past 20 years national economic growth mainly depended on the development of the manufacturing industry.

The added value of the industry remained above 40 per cent of China's gross domestic product and half of the country's financial revenue came from manufacturing.

Manufactured goods have replaced raw materials as the country's top exports since the 1990s, accounting for more than 80 per cent of total exports and making up nearly three-fourths of the country's total exchange earnings.

However, China still has a long way to go to become a strong manufacturing power in the world.

Qiu said that the country is not yet the world's factory, although it is the fourth largest producer of manufactured goods in the world.

The variety, technical content and added value of Chinese-made products are not yet up to international standards.

He cited the examples of electronic and information technology products that are some of the main exports of China, while core technology and key parts of these products are still imported.

With China's entry into the World Trade Organization, the manufacturing industry will face more challenges from the international markets as well.

With the theme of the "Manufacturing Industry and Economic Growth in China," China Economic Growth Forum is co-sponsored by the NBS, local governments of Jiangsu Province and Suzhou, the Conference Board and the Japan External Trade Organization.

(China Daily August 20, 2002)

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