Top officials urge mainland banks to throw weight behind export firms

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 July, 2002, 12:00am

As the mainland struggles to deal with structural changes in its economy, one area of sustained growth receiving prominent attention from senior leadership is exports. Yesterday, a high-level conference featuring two of the government's top economic officials called on banks to provide more support for export-oriented companies.

Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation Shi Guangsheng and People's Bank of China governor Dai Xianglong spoke at the conference, held nationwide via telephone among senior officials, to discuss how to bolster exports, a major economic growth engine for the country.

Consensus emerged from the conference that greater co-operation was needed between banks and various foreign trade departments to provide support for export companies which are facing financing difficulties.

It was agreed that banks and Moftec should work together to improve the quality of financial services and credit facilities, as well as forex management reform.

Problems facing exporters this year included a shortage of capital and the worldwide growth of trade protectionism, the meeting was told.

Moftec Deputy Minister Lu Fuyuan chaired the conference. Others taking part included People's Bank of China deputy governor Xiao Gang and representatives of commercial banks and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

State Councillor Wu Yi said in a written comment to the meeting that government leaders should provide support to enhance the competitiveness of commercial banks and export companies in international markets. Uncertainties in the global economic environment were clouding the outlook for China's exports, web sites quoted Ms Wu as saying.

The meeting heard China had reaped good foreign investment this year and export growth had been encouraging.

However, the officials said the country was facing many obstacles, such as instability in global economic trends. That could have an effect on export growth, they said.

China's exports surged an annual 18.4 per cent to US$24.64 billion last month, while imports grew 19.3 per cent from a year earlier to US$22.44 billion.

The trade surplus stood at US$2.2 billion, up 10 per cent year on year.

In the first five months, exports grew 13.2 per cent to US$115.99 billion. China posted only 6.8 per cent export growth for the whole of last year.

Actual foreign direct investment rose 12.38 per cent year on year to US$16.92 billion in the first five months of this year.

Those taking part in the conference agreed to speed up reform of export companies in a bid to improve their efficiency.