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US$8.43 Billion Trade Deficit Reported in First Quarter

China's foreign trade deficit totaled US$8.43 billion in the first quarter of 2004 because of three successive months of import growth, more than 8.2 percentage points higher than exports, latest figures from the General Administration of Customs show.

The total foreign trade volume of the first quarter totaled US$239.85 billion, up 38.2 percent over the previous year, US$115.71 billion for exports and US$124.14 billion for imports, up 34.1 percent and 42.3 percent respectively over the same period of 2003.

In March, China's foreign trade totaled a record US$92.24 billion, up 42.8 percent on a yearly basis and with a deficit of US$540 million.

The Administration attributed the sharp import increase to the country's sustained need for raw materials and energy.

The statistics show that general foreign trade also maintained rapid growth in the first quarter, totaling US$105.1 billion, up 34.7 percent over the previous year. General trade exports and imports totaled US$46.31 billion and US$58.78 billion in the first three months, up 27.1 percent and 41.4 percent respectively year-on-year.

Exports of mechanical and electrical products totaled US$63.66 billion, up 46.8 percent, covering 55 percent of China's foreign trade, up a slight 4.7 percentage points over 2003, according to Customs statistics. 

(Xinhua News Agency April 12, 2004)

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