The mainland can improve its export competitiveness only by changing the basket of products it now offers in the international market place. That is the opinion of Sun Zhenyu, vice-minister of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, who was speaking yesterday at an international marketing strategy seminar on the sidelines of the 84th China Export Commodities Fair. Mr Sun called for mainland manufacturers to increase their production and export of high technology products, including nuclear technology, aviation and aerospace equipment, computers and communications goods. Such hi-tech products comprised 5.3 per cent of the mainland's total export basket last year. He also called for greater control of the production and sale of natural resource products - such as upstream chemicals, crude diesel and rubber goods - all of which have experienced tremendous price fluctuations this year. Mr Sun said this year the mainland was facing a number of economic challenges, including the residual effects from last year's 'soft' economic landing, the turbulence created by the Asian financial crisis and the decline of the Japanese yen, as well as the continuing problems created by this summer's floods. To address those conditions, the mainland has embarked on a massive infrastructure investment programme. Mr Sun said the central government would concentrate investment in water conservation and environmental protection, construction of railways, roads and telecommunications networks.