China vows to 'buy even more' overseas
China pledged Thursday to play its part in lifting global consumption, with Commerce Minister Chen Deming saying the Asian giant planned to double its imports over the next five years.
"Our development needs to be shared, so in future we will be even more open. We will focus on Chinese companies investing overseas, buying even more from overseas," Chen told political and economic elites gathered at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.
"We want to help boost consumption," he declared.
Major industrialised nations such as the United States have been urging China to help rebalance the global economy by boosting domestic consumption and cutting its reliance on exports.
On Thursday, Chen outlined Beijing's plan to "focus even more on joint development" with the world in the next 10 years and noted that its internal market of 1.3 billion people was a massive opportunity for foreign firms.
China is latching on to the occasion of its 10th year anniversary as a member of the World Trade Organisation as a "new start."
"We plan to be even more open. China is planning to double import trade in the next five years," he told reporters.
"We are encouraging Chinese companies to head out all over the world and expand. We are also building up our domestic market to increase consumption," he added.
China has been posting 15-16 percent annual growth in domestic consumption in recent years, Chen noted.
"In the next 10 years, such robust growth will continue," he added.
Chen last week voiced hopes that US exports to China would more than double to 200 billion dollars by 2015 as part of 500 billion dollars in overall trade.
Nevertheless, the latest US data showed that the US trade deficit with China in 2010 was likely to top the 2008 record of 268 billion dollars, even though the overall US trade gap shrank in November.
Chen said that Chinese trade surplus makes up a "very small part" of the country's output.
"Ninety-nine percent of our trade surplus is really against one country. This year, we will try our best to change this situation very quickly," he said, referring to the United States.
Chen also forecast trade would "continue to grow" for the first half of 2011.
Despite market concerns over the eurozone debt crisis and the lingering impact of the financial crisis on the US economy, the minister said orders won by Chinese companies from the United States and European Union "are still positive and showing growth this year.
"This is particularly so for orders from European and US private sector," he added.
However, he also noted that China has embarked on diversifying its export market and pointed out that the share of the US and EU is decreasing.
© 2011 AFP