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Chinese Commerce Minister Reiterates Firm Stance On Free Trade
Chinese Commerce Minister, Chen Deming, has reiterated the country's firm stance on free trade and emphasized its key role in the global economic rebound at a high-profile summit in Beijing on Sunday.
Some of the forum's suggestions for the country's economy include expanding domestic consumption and continuing to restructure the economy, but some leading economists and business consultants also suggest in order to ease the export decrease, the country may consider shifting its export focus to less-developed economies.
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Commerce minister Chen Deming says blaming China for the global trade imbalance and pressuring the country to appreciate its currency is "unfair and biased".
Chen made the comments during the China Development Forum 2010 organized by the State Council.
"The imbalance also exists in the areas of global wealth distribution, natural resource ownership and consumption and the international monetary system. It touches many systematic and structural concerns, not just about saving, trade and consumption."
The minister also notes that open trade is the key to a global economic rebound.
"Ignoring the fact that every country has to rely on each other during the rebound in the course of globalization will only result in zero-win and put the world economy in danger of double-dip."
Chen says the causal link between export surplus and currency value is problematic. He revealed that from 2005 to 2008, the value of the renminbi increased by over 20 percent but China saw no trade surplus rise during this period.
"China's trade surplus decreased over a half in the first two months of this year. Personally speaking, I expect the country will see an overall trade deficit in March."
On the other hand, in the first two months, China's overall import increased by over 60 percent year on year and nearly 40 percent of the increase came from the United States.
Chen Deming reiterates that China will continuously increase the domestic market. He anticipates domestic consumption will reach two-trillion U.S. dollars this year, far outweighing the total export amount.
As the economic restructuring has become the top agenda for Chinese policymakers, Chen says foreign companies will continue to benefit from the large market brought about by China's rapid urbanization.
Chinese vice-premier, Li Keqiang, also pointed out during his key-note speech that an urban population of over 800-million means the country still has a huge potential market.
"Expanding domestic consumption is the basis of the economic development, a long-term strategy and also the main task of the economic restructuring."
With regard to export decreasing, some economists gave their suggestions. Janamitra Devan, vice president of International Finance Corporation, suggested China should improve the quality of its exports.
"The focus going forward should be more on the quality rather than the quantity of exports."
He also noted that China shifting its exporting structure could also benefit more developing economies, starting with those in Asia.