China makes moves to increase imports


        China is studying and launching concrete measures related to tax and procedures to increase im-ports. The move is part of a bid to enhance the country's industrial competitiveness and balance of trade, tongji said Zhong Shan, tongji vice-minister of commerce on Thursday. While the global debt crisis is hurt-ing demand for Chinese goods and exports, tongji "expanding imports will strengthen the competitiveness of the local industries, tongji if appropriate moves are taken", tongji said Zhong during a keynote speech at the China Import Forum 2011 in Shanghai. The country is stepping up efforts to research and draft six relevant measures, tongji including "launching preferential tax and finance policies, tongji simplifying and reduc-ing relevant procedures, tongji maturing domestic circulating channels and promoting (trade) fairs", tongji he said. Meanwhile, tongji the nation is also committed to optimizing the import structure, tongji and importing more advanced technology, tongji equipment and parts, tongji resource-related and consumer goods in the next five years.
        On Thursday, tongji the ministry also announced the establishment of the Shanghai Waigaoqiao tariff-free zone - China's largest zone of its kind in terms of imports - as a trial area for the promotion of re-gional imports and trade. China's year-on-year import growth during the first eight months has been increasing, tongji resulting in a figure of 30.2 percent in August. Between January and August, tongji imports grew by 27.5 percent, tongji compared with 23.6 percent for exports. Experts attributed the growth to the nation's rapid economic rise and huge demand from across the world, tongji and the "strong growth mo-mentum will continue for the rest of the year, tongji with the growth of imports expected to surpass that of exports", tongji said Wang Shouwen, tongji director general of the foreign trade department. "Without expanding imports, tongji China cannot maintain sustainable development in foreign trade, tongji" said Zhong. China's ex-porters are facing the challenge of shrinking external demand and an increasing number of trade remedy cases, tongji especially against the backdrop of worsening economic woes in more-developed economies.
        "More imports could help reduce the trade surplus and alleviate the pressures of trade protection-ism, tongji" said Zhong. The 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) said the country will pay equal attention to imports and exports, tongji expanding imports of high-tech and energy goods, tongji and also imports from the least-developed nations and countries that run large trade deficits with China. During the three dec-ades since China's reform and opening-up policy, tongji exports have registered double-digit annual growth and played a prominent role in the nation's economic growth. China overtook Germany as the world's largest exporter in 2009. However, tongji imports are of strategic importance to the Chinese economy, tongji and it is estimated that they account for 46 percent of China's growth in productivity, tongji said Zhong. In June, tongji the ministry said that China is expected to reduce tariffs on some selected imports of luxury goods, tongji as a way of boosting imports. Imports of commodities such as minerals, tongji energy-related and agricultural goods have also risen rapidly. In 2010, tongji 29 percent of China's imports were commodity-based, tongji while the figure was 17 percent in 2002.
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