Shanghai has left its export target unchanged at US$37 billion for this year as top officials urge firms to boost overseas sales to offset the impact of Sars on the local economy. Mayor Han Zheng said the city would introduce policies to encourage more exports this year, local media reported yesterday. Shanghai had exports of US$32 billion last year, up 16 per cent year on year, official figures showed. In the first four months of this year, its exports surged 45 per cent year on year to US$13.76 billion. In April alone, exports soared by 64 per cent to US$4.42 billion, a record for a single month. Shanghai aimed to attract contracted foreign investment of US$10.5 billion this year, Mr Han said, slightly lower than last year's US$10.6 billion. The city has vowed to increase state spending and will introduce policies to boost exports to support the economy following the Sars outbreak. The central government has just given the city approval to set up four new export-processing zones, in addition to the existing two. Companies in the zones receive tax and customs advantages. Shanghai will also grant export rights to more private companies, which have traditionally been excluded from the state monopoly. The city has more than 12,000 exporting companies. Foreign-funded firms account for more than half of its annual exports. Some analysts say that Sars will not affect exports much as local governments have moved to guarantee logistics in areas such as the Pearl River and Yangtze River deltas, where the export industry is concentrated.