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Fair to facilitate co-op

The opening of the Sixth China International Fair for Trade and Investment (CIFIT) today will present domestic and foreign investors with a golden opportunity to further explore the booming Chinese market.

Yao Shenhong, spokesman of the organizing committee for the CIFIT, said it will showcase the continuous efforts made by China to gradually open its markets following its entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

CIFIT is the country's only national-level international investment promotion event focusing on the attraction of foreign investment.

"Related policies concerning foreign investment will be highlighted during the event,'' the spokesman told a press conference yesterday.

Organized by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation (MOFTEC), the fair has attracted more than 200 domestic and overseas business delegations.

The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) is also assisting the event for the first time.

As a non-governmental organization, WAIPA acts as a forum for investment promotion agencies (IPAs) to provide networking opportunities and facilitate the exchange of best practice in investment promotion.

Yao said a series of seminars in areas such as international investment, modern international logistics, service trade and Sino-European Investment Co-operation will take place during the four-day event.

Several high-profile figures will attend, including MOFTEC Minister Shi Guangsheng, and John Dunning, economist and initiator of international investment theory.

Seiichi Kondo, deputy secretary-general of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Christopher Galvin, chairman and chief executive officer of Motorola and Percy Weatherall, managing director of Jardine Matheson, will also participate.

Exhibitors will be arranged into five pavilions for provincial delegations and industrial sectors.

They will showcase investment projects available following China's WTO entry in areas such as services, retailing, banking, insurance, telecommunications and tourism and intermediary services, Yao said.

And for the first time the event will feature pavilions for overseas investors and listed companies.

"Despite the world economic slowdown, stable economic development and an improved business environment have greatly boosted foreign investors confidence in China,'' Yao said.
MOFTEC figures revealed China attracted US$29.54 billion in foreign direct investment in the first seven months of this year, up 22 per cent on the same period last year.

Contractual foreign investment rose 32.9 per cent year on year in the first seven months of this year to US$55.4 billion.

"CIFIT has become a top brand name of Xiamen, which has drawn the attention of the world,'' said Yao.

"We are not likely to move the event to any other place,'' he said, refuting a rumour that the trade fair may be moved to other cities.

In the previous five fairs, a total of 10,536 co-operative projects were signed with a total contracted investment of US$56.5 billion.

"Business people from Hong Kong and Taiwan are attending in increasing numbers year by year,'' Yao said.

Tuning in to provincial successes

Editor's note: This is the second time that Phoenix TV, Xiamen TV®MDNM?and China Daily have held a forum for provincial governors and ministers to voice their views on economic and trade issues at the Sixth International Fair for Investment and Trade.

Guests: Zhang Tao -- Vice-governor of Henan Province

Cao Degan -- Vice-governor of Fujian Province

Presenter: Vice-governor Zhang Tao, could you give us an overall appraisal of the foreign trade situation and investment environment in Henan Province following the country's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December?

Zhang: Henan's economic development has been greatly promoted by China's entry to the WTO. We have been faced with great challenges, new situations, new economic structures and new markets. Henan Provincial Government has launched a series of measures including spurring domestic market demand and furthering economic reform and opening-up. Consequently, Henan is expected to meet the requirements of economic globalization.

Henan's economic growth rate hit 7.1 per cent last year, higher than the country's average rate. And the province's foreign trade volume increased by 15 per cent last year on the previous year, up 10 percentage points on the country's average level. This is the result of the province's promotion of opening-up following the country's entry to WTO.

Presenter: What are the major measures Henan has taken to promote its opening-up drive?

Zhang: There are five strategies. These include a products strategy, an industry strategy and a human resource strategy.

Presenter: Vice-governor Cao Degan, could you tell us the foreign trade situation in Fujian and how will the province further attract investment from Taiwan this year?

Cao: Since the country joined the WTO, Fujian's economy has enjoyed faster growth. In the first six months of this year, the province's foreign trade volume reached US$7.8 billion. Exports of machinery and high technology products have surged greatly this year. The province has maintained its previous preferential policies and added new ones to attract more overseas investors.

Presenter: Located in Central China, how does Henan Province use this geographical advantage to promote its economy?

Zhang: Henan is the transportation and commodity centre of the country and this has enabled the province's economic development to maintain a fast growth rate. Its economic growth rate is expected to hit 9 per cent. Thanks to the low cost of labour and raw materials, prices of the province's products are comparatively lower than those of most other places. As a large agricultural and industrial province -- the province is the country's top wheat production base and its industrial output valued 266 billion yuan (US$32 billion) last year. Henan has large development potential.

Presenter: There is a rumour that Henan is the home of many fake goods and inferior products. What is your opinion of this?

Zhang: Henan has taken continuous efforts to fight against fake goods. As a Chinese province, Henan's image will also represent the country's image. We cannot deny certain shortcomings. Henan people should try to correct this bad image through their own efforts as well. They should become a self-dependent, self-confident and self-disciplined people.


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