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Textile, apparel exports up 20% in first 11 months
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China's textile and apparel exports climbed to 160.7 billion U.S. dollars in the first 11 months of 2007, up 20 percent from a year earlier to stand for 15 percent of the country's total exports, said China National Textile and Apparel Council on Friday.


The increase led to a trade surplus of 143.5 billion U.S. dollars in this sector in the period, which accounted for 60 percent of the country's total trade surplus during the same period.


The United States and Japan remained the top two export destinations. Export to the U.S. went up nearly 20 percent to 24.6 billion U.S. dollars while that to Japan grew three percent to 18.7 billion U.S. dollars. Export to the European Union, however, dropped 0.5 percent to 26.5 billion U.S. dollars.


The overall value of import and export rose 18 percent year-on-year to 177.8 billion U.S. dollars, taking up nine percent of the country's total trade volume for the same period.


China's trade surplus soared 52.2 percent in the first 11 months of 2007 to 238.13 billion U.S. dollars against the same period a year earlier, according to the General Administration of Customs.


Surging trade surplus has put the country under much pressure as its major trade partners hold the Chinese currency, which they think are undervalued, gives Chinese exporters an unfair advantage, resulting in the massive trade imbalance.


On the first trading day of 2008, the yuan hit a new high against the U.S. dollar, breaking the 7.30 mark to reach a central parity rate of 7.2996 yuan to one dollar.


The Chinese currency had appreciated against the greenback by about 12 percent since a new currency regime was imposed in July 2005 to revalue and de-peg it from the dollar. In the past year, it climbed 6.9 percent.


U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson recognized last month at the bilateral strategic economic dialogue held in Beijing that "the pace of appreciation has increased over the past year".


(Xinhua News Agency January 4, 2008)


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