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US-Iraqi War Has Limited Impact on Chinese Economy
2004/05/22

  

       The US-Iraqi war will not seriously affect the Chinese economy, stated Long Yongtu, secretary-general of the Bo'ao Forum for Asia and former minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation, at an investment symposium held on March 28 in Hong Kong. Long explained that with regard to China's economy, the greatest impact of the war was on oil. At present, however, oil accounts for 20 percent of China's energy structure, and the amount of oil imported by China from Iraq makes up only 1 percent of its total oil imports.
   
       According to Long, the growth of China's export in the first quarter this year would reach a high rate of 50 percent, due to market purchase for reserves prior to the US-Iraqi war. Since China is facing the problem of deflation, the oil price rise will not adversely affect China's economy. Further more, the US-Iraqi war is a local war, which will have little impact on the Chinese economy.
   
       Long said China's current economic growth may be attributed to strong domestic demand. For instance, the country's steel and cement consumption last year accounted for 25 percent and 40 percent of the global total respectively, and the sales volume of motor vehicles increased by 50 percent on the previous year. With the progress in the housing reform, demand for these products will continue to soar.
   
       When asked about the arrangement for closer economic and trade ties between the mainland and Hong Kong, Long believed substantial agreement would be reached in June this year. He stressed that the conclusion of agreements between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao does not violate WTO rules. At present, many countries and regions in the world, complying with the WTO rule on free trade zones, have provided more favorable treatments to other countries and regions. This practice conforms to the stipulation of the WTO.



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