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China confident of foreign trade growth in 2014

Enlarged font  Narrow font Release date:2014-03-07  Source:ChinaDaily  Author:Rong Xiandong, Song Jingli and Zhao Tingting   Browse number:4468508
Note: China is confident of achieving 7.5 percent foreign trade growth target in 2014, said Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng on Friday.
China is confident of achieving 7.5 percent foreign trade growth target in 2014, said Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng on Friday.

Gao said China has yet to become a strong trading power as most of its foreign trade products are low value-added and the country has yet to foster more independent brands.

China accounts for 12 percent of global trade volume and is now the largest trading partner of 120 countries, he said.

China needs to speed up industrial restructuring, Gao added.

China, Australia keen on FTA

China is looking forward to starting a new round of formal negotiations with Australia over the free-trade agreement, said Gao.

Both countries are willing to make efforts to seek resolutions on key issues and then form a comprehensive free-trade deal as soon as possible, he said.

China will hold talks on FTA when an Australian official pays a visit to China, he added.

Entry of agriculture goods into the Chinese market is the top concern of the Australian government, while restrictions on Chinese companies planning to invest in Australia and movement of people are top priorities of the Chinese side,according to him.

Gao told reporters that when the new Australian government was set up in November last year, it said it hoped to close the free-trade agreement with China within one year.

China, a magnet for foreign investment

China remains an attractive destination for foreign investors, said Gao.

Given the background of a weak global economic growth, foreign investment in China increased 5.3 percent year-on-year in 2013, reaching $117.6 billion.

More than half of the investment went to the service industry, rather than the manufacturing sector as it used to be, which is a great change in the investment structure, said Gao.

Although facing rising costs and contracting edges in preferential treatment, over 85 percent of foreign companies are profitable and over 90 percent of them are still willing to conduct businesses in China.

The ministry will make further efforts to improve the investment climate, he added.

APEC role is not weakening

Gao dismissed the argument that Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation's (APEC) role is weakening in promoting regional economy and trade cooperation.

It is still the most influential bloc in the Asia-Pacific region, with the biggest number of members, Gao said.

None of the 21 APEC members believe that the APEC is weakening, he said.

It has been an important organization for China.

APEC members accounted for 60 percent of China's foreign trade, nearly 70 percent of the country's foreign direct investment and 83 percent of foreign investment in China in 2013, and eight of China's 10 major trading partners are APEC members, according to Gao.

The theme of the APEC's China Year is "Jointly Building Future-oriented Asia-Pacific Partnership".

China will work with other APEC members to make sure that the APEC informal leaders meeting, which will be held in China later this year, bring practical benefits to the region, Gao said.

In 2014, China will expand common ground with other APEC members to promote regional development and contribute to global economic development and prosperity.

In terms of investment and trade, China's major efforts will be devoted to promoting the establishment of APEC free-trade area and China will continue to support multilateral trading mechanism and oppose trade protectionism, Gao said. 
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