BEIJING, June 29 -- China will increase its imports to more than U.S. $1 trillion by 2010 but it will also narrow its huge trade surplus, a senior government official said Thursday.
The government plans to expand imports while optimizing the structure of exports, said Wang Xinpei, a spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce during a press briefing in Beijing yesterday.
"China seeks to improve the structure of exports and actively seeks to expand imports," said Wang. "Currently our annual imports stand at around US$800 billion. We aim to reach US$1 trillion by 2010."
The country has cut export rebates in energy and resource-consuming industries such as steel while encouraging more imports of technologically advanced equipment and also pledged to cut red tape for such imports.
The Ministry of Finance has announced it would impose an export tax on a list of commodity products including steel, non-ferrous metals and several other raw materials to cut the exports of high energy-consuming and highly polluting products.
Last year China s imports climbed 20 percent to US$791.6 billion while exports rose 27.2 percent to US$969.1 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$177.5 billion.
The nation s top planning body has forecast that the trade surplus may settle between US$250 billion and US$300 billion this year as exports continue to surge.
China has often been called the manufacturing and processing center of the east Asia region which is the supplier of raw materials and spare parts to Europe and the United States, according to the National Development and Reform Commission in its quarterly trade report.
The commerce ministry said earlier that it aims to achieve a balance between imports and exports by 2010 as it ramps up efforts to boost domestic demand and rein in exports of energy-intensive products. The country s total foreign trade is projected to reach about US$2.3 trillion by that time with an annual growth of 10 percent.
Meanwhile, the central government will sign the fourth additional deal under the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement with Hong Kong today. CEPA, signed at the end of June 2003 to grant Hong Kong companies advantages in trading with their mainland partners, is being implemented in three phases to axe tariffs on all Hong Kong products.