China's total imports are expected to almost equal its exports over the next five-year period, the nation's commerce minister said in comments on Nov. 4.
Chen Deming said total imports by the world's second-largest economy were expected to reach $10 trillion in that period, which would be "on a par with our exports."
China's trade surplus has been ballooning over the years as a result of what its trade partners say is an unfair advantage linked to the country's yuan currency, which they claim is artificially kept low.
It hit $196 billion in 2009 and $295 billion in 2008, but fell to $183.1 billion last year.
Chen said imports would exceed $1.7 trillion this year, up from $1.39 trillion last year, as the government steps up efforts to expand domestic demand. By way of comparison, exports totalled $1.58 trillion in 2010.
But he said some countries had ignored China's efforts and sought to bash the country "for political reasons" by adopting trade protectionist measures and pressuring Beijing over its currency policies.
"Such attempts will not help resolve their own domestic strife; rather, they could negate our efforts to expand imports, crush global market confidence and cast a dark shadow over the recovery prospects of the world economy," he said.
The U.S. Senate last month approved a bill that would punish China for alleged currency manipulation while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has suggested an international coalition could force Beijing to raise the unit's value.
But Beijing has defended its currency controls as necessary to protect its manufacturing sector, which employs millions of workers, and to prevent large capital inflows and outflows which could be damaging to the economy.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011