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Private Trading Firms Play Big Role in Pudong
Imports and exports handled by privately owned companies in Shanghai's Pudong New District totaled 79.29 million US dollars in the first seven months of this year, 44 times higher than for the same period last year.

Of total trade, imports were worth US$53.19 million, 44 times higher, while exports were worth US$26.1 million, 43 times higher, the local customs house reported on Thursday.

A customs officer attributed the bigger share of private firms in the foreign trade sector, once the monopoly of state-owned or foreign-funded companies, to a new policy adopted by the Shanghai Municipal Government which offers fair and open market competition for businesses with all types of ownership.

Under the policy introduced in August last year, all Chinese companies set up in Pudong a year before with a registered capital of more than three million yuan (US$361,445) are eligible to make import and export transactions.

An amendment announced last March reduced the amount of registered capital to one million yuan (US$120,480) for commercial and trading companies and to 500,000 yuan (US$60,240) for manufacturing businesses.

At present, 425 privately owned trading companies, or 83 percent of the total number of private foreign trading firms in Pudong, registered after the amendment was introduced.

However, the majority of privately owned trading companies are small-scale. A quarter came from other Chinese provinces. Their business interests concentrate on garments, toys and other labor-intensive products.

(Xinhua News Agency September 6, 2002)

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