China Aims to Boost Exports as Economy Slows

This announcement follows a weak trade performance in August as exports rose just 2.7% year-on-year to $178 billion.

China said Wednesday it has approved a package of measures aimed at boosting exports, as the world's second largest economy grapples with a slowdown.

The State Council, or cabinet, said it would "stabilize" foreign trade by speeding up payment of tax rebates to exporters, among other measures.

Chinese media has reported that the government could hike tax rebates on some export goods to encourage overseas sales.

The latest announcement follows a weak trade performance in August as exports rose just 2.7% year-on-year to $178 billion.

The trade figures highlighted waning strength in China's economy, as the broader global slowdown and the European debt crisis drag on exports.

China would encourage commercial banks to increase lending to qualified exporters, simplify customs procedures and encourage firms to tap emerging markets like Africa and Southeast Asia, the statement said.

The government would also support imports of high-tech equipment and key components, it said, as China seeks to maintain 10%t annual growth in foreign trade this year.

Trade -- exports and imports combined -- rose by an annual 6.2% in the first eight months of this year, official figures showed.

China's overall economy has been weakening, registering 7.6% growth for the second quarter this year, its worst performance in three years.

Beijing has taken steps to stimulate growth by cutting interest rates twice in quick succession and slashing the amount of funds banks must keep in reserve as ways to stimulate lending.

The government last week also unveiled a massive infrastructure package worth more than 1.0 trillion yuan (US$158 billion), including projects ranging from subway lines to highways.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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