FDI decreases by 3.4pc in China

Shanghai, August 15:

Foreign direct investment in China fell by 3.4 per cent in the first seven months of this year compared with the same period last year to $33.1 billion, the ministry of commerce reported today. However, pledged foreign direct investment in January-July rose by 19.2 per cent from a year earlier, to $98.6 billion, the ministry said. After years of rapid growth, growth in foreign investment in China has moderated, prompting a debate over whether the slowdown might hurt economic growth given the country’s heavy reliance on investment from abroad to build up its export-oriented industries. But promised investment remains strong, and with the economy steaming ahead at a growth rate of more than nine per cent for the past two years, the issue has drawn little attention. China attracted $60.6 billion in foreign investment in 2004, up by 13 per cent from 2003, second only to the United States. The top sources of foreign investment were Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Taiwan, Singapore and Germany.

Also today, the government reported that China’s industrial output rose by 16.1 per cent in July from the same month in 2004 to $72 billion. The growth rate was slower than June’s 16.8 per cent rise. The fastest growth was in heavy industrial and energy-related sectors. Output of automobiles rose by 27.8 per cent year-on-year; output of pig iron grew by 30.7 per cent, crude steel output rose by 28.6 per cent and rolled steel output by 28 per cent, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Meanwhile, the government has launched a campaign urging the public to conserve resources, warning that waste and inefficiency could squander the country’s strong growth potential. All levels of government, companies and the public should “voluntarily practice frugality,” the official Xinhua News Agency cited Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan as saying. “The government should step up legislation to promote resources conservation, and encourage the development of related technologies,” he said. Waste of water, oil and electricity were a key problem, Zeng said. “We are at the stage of economic development where we do not have the luxury to be wasteful,” Zeng was quoted as saying.

Deepening ties

NEW DELHI: India is ready to deepen its trade and cultural relations with China, prime minister Manmohan Singh declared on Monday. Speaking from the Red Fort on the country’s 59th independence day, Singh pointed out that India had “a centuries old relationship” with China, which is New Delhi’s largest neighbour. He said both countries had “learnt a lot and imbibed a lot” from their bilateral relationship.” “We are today willing and ready to deepen our trade and cultural relations with China for the benefit of the two nations,” Singh said. — HNS