China may soon be the worlds largest importer despite global economic conditions

Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said Monday that despite some recovery in May’s trade figures, China’s foreign trade condition is still “grim” and that the country will put more emphasis on import expansion at present and in the coming period.

China might be able to maintain 10-percent growth this year “if we’re lucky,” Chen said on the sidelines of a national conference on imports.

In the wake of profound changes in the global market, China’s foreign trade development has entered a new stage in which equal emphasis should be placed on both exports and imports, Chen said.

The decision to expand imports will not be made out of sheer expediency, but as an important step for China’s economic development, as import growth will enhance economic balance, support the country’s structural adjustment, increase consumption and crack China’s development bottleneck, he said.

Chen said the government will further facilitate imports by implementing preferential charging policies, as well as strictly manage import charges.

Domestic consumption expansion is an important target for boosting imports, as lower tariffs for daily necessities, like meat and dairy products, cosmetics and clothing, can meet the rising demand from Chinese consumers and stimulate consumption.