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China to Target Emerging Countries as Exports Slip

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Source: AFP

China will seek to boost exports to emerging economies next year in the face of “severe challenges” caused by downturns in Europe and the United States, a senior official said Wednesday.

To cushion the impact on exports ‒ a major engine of growth ‒ Beijing will target developing countries that are growing strongly, said Wang Shouwen, director of the commerce ministry’s foreign trade department.

“Next year, I think that we will face severe challenges in our exports and imports,” Wang told reporters at the release of a white paper on foreign trade marking the 10th anniversary of China joining the World Trade Organization.

“However, some developing and emerging economies are enjoying sound economic performances, so we will attach more importance to exports to these countries.”

Leading Chinese officials have painted a gloomy picture for the country’s exports, warning that the eurozone debt crisis and sluggish recovery in the United States threatened the world’s second-largest economy.

Vice Premier Wang Qishan, China’s top finance official, at the weekend urged companies to help guarantee a “stable increase” in exports amid slowing external demand.

China’s exports rose 15.9 per cent year-on-year to US$157.49 billion in October, but the total was down from US$169.7 billion in September, due to falling demand caused by the economic woes in Europe and the United States.

Imports expanded 28.7 per cent to US$140.46 billion in October, lower than the US$155.2 billion recorded a month earlier.

The data, coupled with figures last week showing China’s manufacturing activity contracted in November for the first time in 33 months, have caused concern that the Asian powerhouse is losing steam.

Wang told the news conference China would help companies in building brands, research and development and marketing to “allow them to be more competitive”.

But he said that if the European financial crisis “does not run out of control”, then China should still achieve “a considerable level of growth” in foreign trade.