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Rules eased on processing trade

By : China Daily|Updated: 2009-01-04

In a bid to stabilize its slumping foreign trade, China on Wednesday removed 1,757 items from its lists of product categories that have been either restricted or banned from foreign investment in processing trade.

A total of 1,730 items will no longer be restricted from foreign investment. These products, ranging from textiles to plastic goods, account for 77 percent of the products formerly designated as restricted and may involve $30 billion in foreign trade, according to a notice jointly released by Ministry of Commerce and China Customs.

Another 27 product items, mainly in the metal and non-ferrous sectors, will no longer be banned from foreign investment in processing trade.

Processing trade refers to the activity of importing all or part of the raw or auxiliary materials and re-exporting the finished product after processing or assembly in the mainland.

The move follows last week's tax rebate hike for exports of machinery and electronic products, the third time in the second half of 2008 to help the export sector.

The government said last week that it will also encourage transfer of processing trade from the eastern to the central and western region.

China's exports dropped 2.2 percent in November 2008 from a year earlier $114.9 billion, the first decline in more than seven years.

Anti-dumping probe

In another development, the Ministry of Commerce said it has begun an anti-dumping review into carbon steel fasteners imported from the European Union, the country's latest response to the latter's proposed high anti-dumping duties on Chinese fastener exports.

The year-long probe, which would involve carbon steel fasteners used in making products like cars, electronic and machinery, will be completed on Dec 29, 2009, but could be extended another six months, the ministry said in a statement earlier this week.

Textiles battered

The Chinese textile industry's profits declined for the first time in 10 years as a result of shrinking overseas demand.

Textile firms took in 104.2 billion yuan ($15.31 billion) in profits in the first 11 months of 2008, a fall of 1.77 percent over the same period in 2007, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

"This was the first decline in profits for the country's textile sector in 10 years," said Wang Qianjin, chief editor of the country's leading textile industry website, www.webtextiles.com.

The NBS also said losses for textile firms added up to 22.75 billion yuan from January to November in 2008, almost double the figure for the same period in 2007.

Wang said profits for the textile sector as a whole in 2008 would remain the same or less than 2007. Textile firm profits surged nearly 38 percent in 2007.

Fan Min, chief editor of a weekly textile magazine under the Ministry of Commerce, said he expected textile exports to fall 30 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

Xinhua contributed to the story