China announced a record trade surplus of US$101.9 billion for 2005, more than triple the 2004 figure, customs figures showed. Of total trade worth US$1.42 trillion, exports contributed US$762 billion, an increase of 28.4% on 2004. Imports rose at a slightly lower rate, up 17.6% on 2004 to reach US$660.12 billion. The new figures continue to rate China as the world’s third-largest trading nation, after the United States and Japan, with growth of more than 20% over the last four years.
Slowdown in used FDI
China’s actual foreign direct investment fell 1.9% to US$53.13 billion in the first 11 months of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004. However, pledged FDI rose 24% to US$167.21 billion, while outbound investment for the period came to US$5.65 billion. This was three times higher than the first eleven months’ outflow but only slightly higher than 2004’s full year figures. However, these figures were boosted significantly by PC maker Lenevo’s US$1.75 billion acquisition of IBM in December 2004.
China supplants US in Asian trade
Trade between China and the Association of South East Asian Nations grew 25% in the first half of 2005 to US$59.76 billion, supplanting the US as the largest trading partner for several Asian nations. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao used the growth to back claims before the inaugural East Asian summit that China’s rapid economic rise was an opportunity, not a threat, to the rest of East Asia.
Beijing Airport to get free trade zone
China will open its first airport free trade zone within Beijing Capital International Airport in 2008. The two square-kilometer zone, in which companies can avoid formal customs entry procedures and import duties, is expected to strengthen the country’s logistics competitiveness in Northeast Asia.
Boost in textile exports
Textile exports to the United States and Europe rose 62.7% in the first 10 months of 2005 following the abolition of the global quota system. The China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles announced the country’s total textile exports rose 20% to US$116 billion last year. China’s share of exports to the US and EU rose to 34%, up from 25.7% in 2004, while the textile industry as a whole grew 20% in 2005, with total sales of US$250 billion and profits of US$8.2 billion.
Shoemakers appear at EU hearings
Chinese footwear manufacturers, headed by an industrial association, appeared at hearings in Brussels on EU dumping charges against Chinese leather shoe makers, state media reported. The delegation said Chinese manufacturers had not harmed the European industry and appealed for the EU to grant market economy treatment to the affected shoemakers.
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