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China plans steps to slow exodus of processing trade exporters: commerce ministry

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China will take steps to stem the outflow of processing trade businesses to other countries by encouraging them to move to its central and western regions where labour costs are lower, a spokesman for the commerce ministry said on Tuesday.

[BEIJING] China will take steps to stem the outflow of processing trade businesses to other countries by encouraging them to move to its central and western regions where labour costs are lower, a spokesman for the commerce ministry said on Tuesday.

China will use differentiated policies including reserving land for the processing trade in some other parts of the country, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said at a news conference.

"Production costs in China are rising, and some processing trade firms are moving abroad. We hope we can slow the transfer to other countries and keep these processing trade businesses within China," Mr Shen said.

China plans to use fiscal, land, and financial policies to encourage processing firms to move to inland China from the east coast, including streamlining government approval processes, Mr Shen said.

The share of processing trade as part of China's total exports is currently about 30 per cent, Mr Shen said, compared with a historical high of 53 per cent. Processing firms import raw materials or components and re-export finished products.

Processing trade exports fell 8.2 per cent in April, the 14th straight month of declines, Mr Shen said.

China's exports overall fell 1.8 per cent in April and are down 7.6 per cent for the year in dollar terms, the Customs Bureau said on May 8.

REUTERS