Beijing will not relax its efforts to sell Chinese products overseas in 2010 and seek a bigger share in the global market, China's vice trade minister said on Sunday.
China, which may have replaced Germany to be the world's largest exporter in 2009, is a "big trading nation" but not yet a "powerful trading nation," vice commerce Minister Zhong Shan said.
"China's exports in 2010 will grow, and there's no doubt about that," Zhong said, declining to provide detailed forecasts.
China's exports were hit hard by the global financial turmoil, falling 18.8 percent in the first 11 months from a year earlier.
But the market share for Chinese products has increased in 2009 as sales from other countries have fallen even more deeply, Zhong told a forum at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.
Other countries have blamed China's unofficial policy of repegging the yuan to the dollar since the summer of 2008 for making its products artificially competitive.
China will feel pressure on its yuan policy but will maintain "basic stability" Zhong said, in a reiteration of long-standing government policy.
He said export growth is vital for China to drive economic growth and create jobs at home.
For example, Zhong said exporting 30 million shirts benefits the Chinese economy more than exporting one Boeing 747, referring to a domestic debate over how much China should support existing labor-intensive export industries versus how much it should move up the value chain.
"Exporting 30 million shirts means we can create jobs for 10,000 people," Zhong said. "With the 10,000 people employed, their families, or 30,000 people, can have a well-off life."
China is under pressure from its trading partners to balance its outsize trade surplus, and Beijing has also listed trade balance as one of its key economic policy targets.
But Zhong said that does not mean a reduction in exports.
"Obama has told China to import more and export less, to save less and spend more, but what is United States doing? It is trying to expand its own exports," Zhong said.
"I don't want to say whether the United States is wrong or right," he continued. "But we can't say easily that China has been exporting too much."
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