China's trade policies will become more open to boost its sluggish imports and exports this year, despite being set to miss its trade target for 2012, according to a senior official at a top government think tank.
China is losing some advantages, such as low labor costs, but future reforms will intensify its competitiveness, Wei Jianguo, secretary-general of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told China Daily.
"It's expected that overall reform, ranging from the tax and fiscal system to the function of the government, will be accelerated in this year," said Wei, the former deputy commerce minister.
This reform will be a "big bonus" to sustaining China's growth in all aspects, he said.
At the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in November, there were indications that China will further promote its trade in a diversified way, said Wei, a guest economist for China Daily.
First, it should further cut import duties on more consumer goods, he said.
The Ministry of Finance has announced that from January 2013, more than 780 products, including milk powder for infants, robots for vehicle production and some rubber products, will enjoy lower import duties.
But Wei said such efforts lack variety, scale and scope.
"As a responsible country, China needs to increase its imports, which is important in building healthy bilateral trade and reducing trade friction," Wei said.
In the first 11 months of 2012, China's exports grew 7.3 percent from a year earlier, while imports grew 4.1 percent, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
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