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China to Slow Farm Produce Export and Raise Quality

China's Ministry of Commerce is aiming to slow the annual growth rate for farm produce exports from 8.3 percent over the past decade to seven percent by 2010 in order to raise quality.


This "moderate objective" written into the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) for farm produce exports was far below the 17.7-percent annual growth rate of China's total exports.


The government also hopes to see its farm produce worth US$38 billion by 2010. Last year, the country earned US$27.2 billion from farm produce exports, representing 3.6 percent of total exports and 3.2 percent of the world's total farm produce trade.


"We hope the slower growth will allow farmers to grow better quality farm produce and raise the sector's competitiveness in the world market," said Lu Jianhua, director of the ministry's foreign trade department.


The ministry has set a rigid target for processed farm produce to exceed 50 percent of the total farm produce trade by 2010.


To realize the goal, the Ministry of Commerce urged eastern provinces to enhance capital and technical input into export-oriented processing companies. Central regions, China's traditional granary, were encouraged to increase productivity and grow more quality farm produce. Western China was positioned as "the new growth area" with potential in developing specialty produce such as organic vegetables and Chinese herbs.


Under the plan, China will explore emerging markets in the Middle East and Russia while consolidating trade with traditional partners like Japan and the Republic of Korea.


Markets such as the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations would also be explored.


Lu said an important task during the five-year period was to establish and optimize a support system for farm produce exports. Measures would include fiscal and taxation policies, export insurance, bank loans and customs clearance privileges.


(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2006)

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