CHINA is actively preparing to set up an export-import bank to boost foreign trade. Long Yongtu, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, said the bank could be launched very soon. ''From the experience of other countries, an export-import bank is helpful in boosting trade,'' said Mr Long, who is involved in negotiating China's re-entry to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, the People's Bank of China and the State Planning Commission are involved in setting up the trade bank. Mr Long said China could not rely on just a few export markets. ''We have to develop more markets, and some new markets may be risky. Therefore, the development of new markets needs the state's support in policy because a more diversified market is favourable in the long run.'' Also, some industries which had huge potential might need state support because the growth of these industries would help rationalise China's export structure, he said. Mr Long said GATT talks would resume at the end of this month, during which discussions on the terms for China's readmission to the trade body would continue. He hoped that detailed provisions could be worked out between China and other contracting parties. ''We, of course, hope there will be breakthrough. But we do not hold unrealistic illusions,'' he said. He said from a technical point of view, the remaining questions were not difficult to resolve if there was political will among the main contracting parties. Mr Long said following bilateral talks with the United States in July, the Americans had proposed holding another round of talks at the end of this month or early next. He said it was unreasonable for the US to link Beijing's re-entry to GATT with the sanction on China for alleged sale of missile technology to Pakistan. On the impact of China's macro-economic control policy on foreign trade, Mr Long said it would provide a more stable environment for imports and exports. He said the exchange rate of the yuan at swap centres had stabilised. ''A stable currency is conducive to healthy development of foreign trade, allowing for trade to be carried out in a more expected pattern,'' Mr Long said. The measures in the financial sector to curtail unauthorised interbank lending also made more funds available for the purchase of products for exports, he added.