Overseas Markets Offer More Opportunities

The outlook for the building materials industry in China is improving, Huang Jinfeng of the State Administration of Building Materials Industry said.

"Demand from Asian countries outside China, a traditional market for China's building materials, is improving. Their economies are recovering from the financial crisis," said Huang, director of the administration's foreign affairs department.

Chinese entrepreneurs' growing awareness of the need to "go outward" because of China's possible accession to the World Trade Organization will help increase exports, she said.

"Relevant departments have decided to return value-added taxes paid when enterprises export high-tech building materials products beginning this year," she said.

"We are talking with the State Economic and Trade Commission about returning value-added taxes for deep-processed products."

"We are planning to provide financial services for exports of building materials technologies and equipment," Huang said.

According to Huang, China will hold a building materials exhibition in the Netherlands during the first half of this year to explore European markets.

The time is ripe for us to increase exports to these countries, because the quality of our building materials is adequate to meet the demand, she said.

"We plan to export US$2.5 billion worth of building materials in 2000," she said.

China's building materials exports grew steadily in 1999 after a recession stemming from the Asian financial crisis in 1997, according to a report from the administration's information office.

Exports were valued at US$2.32 billion in 1999, up 6.02 per cent from 1998.

Major exports were glass fibre products, sanitary ceramics and asbestos products, the report said.

More than 70 per cent of export income was from Japan, Belgium, Hong Kong and the United States, the report said.

China imported US$1.57 billion worth of building materials in 1999, up 28.9 per cent, "the majority of which Chinese factories could not produce," Huang said.

(Source: CIEC)

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