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Hu Says China To Focus On Expanding Imports

Chinese President Hu Jintao
Chinese President Hu Jintao has pledged to expand his massive country's imports.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of China's entry into the World Trade Organization, Hu said China was looking to resolve trade imbalances with nations that have huge deficits with the Asian nation.

"We also hope that relevant countries can recognize China's full market economy status as soon as possible, relax controls on high-tech product exports to China, and make it easier for Chinese companies' outward investment, to create conditions for the development of balanced bilateral trade," he said.

Hu estimated that China's total imports will exceed $8 trillion in the next five years, representing a massive business opportunity to countries worldwide.

On December 10, official data showed China's trade surplus had narrowed from $17 billion to $14.5 billion in November.

Analysts say China's export growth has slowed as a result of the turmoil in key markets in Europe and the United States.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, speaking at the ceremony, said the WTO had helped protect China from protectionism that has intensified since the start of the global financial crisis.

He called on China to play a "vital" role in the WTO's "collective endeavour" to advance trade opening and global trade regulation.

compiled from agency reports