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TRADE WARS
China aims to boost exports as economy slows
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Sept 12, 2012


China Construction Bank sets up in Luxembourg
Luxembourg (AFP) Sept 12, 2012 - The China Construction Bank, the world's second largest by market value, is to open a subsidiary and a branch in Luxembourg, a government statement said Wednesday.

The announcement followed talks between CCB chief Wang Hongzhang, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker and Finance Minister Luc Frieden.

The statement said the Chinese bank had decided to open in Luxembourg "soon" due to the country's "stable economic environment and the great quality of the regulatory framework and financial services."

Two other major Chinese banks are also present in Luxembourg, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) which opened its main European office there in January last year, and the Bank of China, present since 1979.

Luxembourg as of last month was home to 142 banks with balance-sheets worth 787 billion euros. CCB listed in 2011 as the second largest bank to ICBC.

China said Wednesday it has approved a package of measures aimed at boosting exports, as the world's second largest economy grapples with a slowdown.

The State Council, or cabinet, said it would "stabilise" foreign trade by speeding up payment of tax rebates to exporters, among other measures, according to a statement posted on the website of the central government.

Chinese media has reported that the government could hike tax rebates on some export goods to encourage overseas sales.

The latest announcement follows a weak trade performance in August as exports rose just 2.7 percent year-on-year to $178 billion.

The trade figures highlighted waning strength in China's economy, as the broader global slowdown and the European debt crisis drag on exports.

China would encourage commercial banks to increase lending to qualified exporters, simplify customs procedures and encourage firms to tap emerging markets like Africa and Southeast Asia, the statement said.

The government would also support imports of high-tech equipment and key components, it said, as China seeks to maintain 10 percent annual growth in foreign trade this year.

Trade -- exports and imports combined -- rose by an annual 6.2 percent in the first eight months of this year, official figures showed.

China's overall economy has been weakening, registering 7.6 percent growth for the second quarter this year, its worst performance in three years.

Beijing has taken steps to stimulate growth by cutting interest rates twice in quick succession and slashing the amount of funds banks must keep in reserve as ways to stimulate lending.

The government last week also unveiled a massive infrastructure package worth more than 1.0 trillion yuan ($158 billion), including projects ranging from subway lines to highways.

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