SHANGHAI, Oct. 11 (AP) -- China expects its exports and imports to be basically balanced by 2010, the Commerce Ministry said Wednesday, projecting total trade by then at US$2.3 trillion (€1.8 trillion).
China has often countered foreign criticism over its growing trade gap by saying it expects to eventually bring imports in line with exports by boosting domestic demand and making its currency policies more flexible.
Annual growth in total trade is likely to slow from its recent rates of close to 30 percent to about 10 percent, said a statement posted on the Commerce Ministry's Web site.
Strong exports have been a major contributor to China's robust economic growth, projected this year at more than 10 percent. Exports outpaced imports by US$18.8 billion in August, bringing the total surplus so far this year to US$95.6 billion.
That's almost certainly to surpass last year's record trade gap of US$102 billion _ adding to friction with trading partners such as the U.S. who accuse Beijing of keeping the value of its currency artificially low to boost exports.
Last year, China's total exports and imports hit a record US$1.42 trillion, up 23 percent from a year earlier.