Emerging markets hold key for the nation's exports

BY    2013-05-02 20:19:40

  As head of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Wan Jifei has been passionate about creating a favorable environment for China's manufacturers to expand business abroad.

  At a time when the nation's exports have slowed during the past year and are expected to remain sluggish in coming months, how to stabilize exports, a major pillar of the world's second-largest economy, is of widespread importance.

  Wan said the council is committed to helping Chinese manufacturers enhance their presence in the emerging markets of Southeast Asia and Latin America through trade fairs and cooperation projects this year to fend off risks in developed nations.

  With China accelerating steps to "go abroad", Wan in particular is calling on Chinese firms to invest in emerging markets in central Asia and central and eastern Europe, to transfer industrial capacity and technologies and have wider access to energy and mining resources.

  Q: What are your proposals, if any, to promote the country's foreign trade in general?

  A: I have proposed the drafting of an international trade promotion law. As China's foreign trade increases ... the nation needs a law to promote and standardize trading activities.

  While China's export outlook remains grim, is there any promotional plan from your council this year?

  China should expand exports in emerging markets, especially in ASEAN countries, Latin America and central and eastern Europe, as they enjoy comparatively good growth amid the weak global economy. My council will try to create platforms and promote sales to specific regions, conduct cooperation projects with other BRICs nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

  Is there any plan for trade promotion in Africa?

  Africa has long been a key export market for China. But the continent is increasingly turning into a destination for Chinese investment, and Chinese manufacturers could transfer technology and industrial capacity to less-developed regions.

  Now is just the starting point for China's investment in Africa, and we expect to see more big deals there.

  Former premier Wen Jiabao called on domestic companies to accelerate their efforts to go abroad. What is your view?

  "Going abroad" must be a national strategy, and as part of that China must prioritize "going west". What I mean is to expand into central Asia and central and eastern Europe. These are regions that have strategic significance to China.

  During the past three decades, China's investment has mainly gone to Asia and western Europe. While China's economy expands and seeks energy and resources, central and eastern Europe are becoming hot destinations.

  Quite a number of companies from these regions have expressed a strong willingness to partner with China.

  China is strong in manufacturing, telecoms, agriculture, new energy and finance, and these regions have abundant resources. Bilateral investment cooperation is full of potential.

  The US is actively advancing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and transatlantic trade and investment pact with the European Union. How would you assess the impact on China?

  China needn't worry much about them. It's their own business, and whether and when the pact will be concluded remains to be seen.

  Meanwhile, China has plenty of room to grow its foreign trade through developing regional and bilateral pacts. China can continue to accelerate negotiations on free trade agreements with countries and regions, such as Costa Rica and Australia.

  Is it possible that China will conduct trade-pact talks with developed nations such as the US or those in the EU?

  It's a good idea, and I strongly support such negotiations.

  China, Japan and South Korea started trilateral FTA negotiations last year. Do you believe that ongoing sovereignty disputes over the Diaoyu Islands between China and Japan will cast a shadow over, and delay, the trilateral talks?

  I do have such concerns. History shows political conflict does hurt economic and trade issues. Friction over the Diaoyu Islands remains unresolved, so the prospects for talks will probably remain in limbo.

Related News