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China Foreign trade expected to grow 15 to 20% in 2006

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The growth rate of China's foreign trade in 2006 may not be as rapid as last year's but it is still expected to increase between 15 percent and 20 percent, an official with the Ministry of Commerce said.

The total volume of imports and exports will reach 1.63 trillion to 1.7 trillion U.S. dollars in 2006, according to Lu Jianhua, director of the Foreign Trade Department under the Ministry of Commerce.

China's foreign trade volume totaled 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars in 2005, up 23.2 percent over the previous year, statistics from the General Administration of Customs show.

The country's exports amounted to 762 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 28.4 percent year on year; and imports were 660.12 billion U.S. dollars, a rise of 17.6 percent.

China will continue to witness a large trade surplus this year,which will probably be lower than last year's, Lu said.

Rocketing exports helped China post a trade surplus of 101.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2005, an increase of 69.9 billion dollars from 2004.

Lu listed some unfavorable factors that may affect China's foreign trade growth in 2006. These include the unbalanced development of the global economy, increasing trade friction, continued growth of the U.S. trade deficit and fluctuations of global exchange rates and trade policies.

He expected China's exporters will face overseas anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases involving more than 5 billion U.S. dollarsin 2006.

New trade disputes between China and the United States, the European Union will probably occur in textiles, auto parts, home appliances, chemical products and steel and iron products, he said.

China still faces a serious oversupply problem domestically, requiring many industries to find more export channels for their over-stocked commodities, he said.

A recent survey by the ministry shows that supply of 430 types of goods, 71.7 percent of the sample survey, exceeds the demand on the Chinese market, while supply of 170 other goods remains stable and equal to demand.

Despite these unfavorable factors, China's foreign trade growth will continue to be the main driving force behind the economy, Lu said.

The world economy is expected to grow about 4.3 percent this year, and the demand from international markets will continue to expand along with China's exports, he said.

Lu suggests Chinese companies enhance their technological innovation as well as research and development in order to beat competition in lower- cost countries.

Chinese companies should follow the international rules and use international rules to protect their own interests in dealing with international trade disputes, he said.


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