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China chases new competitive edge in trade

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BEIJING, May 12 (Xinhua) -- China announced Tuesday that it is pursuing a new competitive edge in foreign trade through high-tech and high-added-value exports.

The State Council, China's cabinet, vowed to encourage high-tech, services and capital exports to offset the increasingly feeble goods trade and create advantages in technology and brands to replace low-cost goods, according to an announcement published on the website of the central government.

The resolution was made only a few days after new customs data showed more pressure on foreign trade. April's exports and imports dropped 6.2 percent and 16.2 percent from a year ago, respectively.

The country's exports, which were an economic driver during the past decade, have lost their luster amid the economic downturn due to rising production costs, shrinking global demand and competition from other emerging economies.

As part of China's overall economic overhaul, exports are being reoriented toward quality and technology rather than cheap products.

In the announcement, China said it will improve cooperation with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious proposal to revive ancient trade routes linking China to central and southeast Asia as well as Europe and Africa.

The country plans to boost high-tech equipment exports to those regions to aid infrastructure construction and encourage tech-savvy enterprises in nuclear power, electricity, railways, engineering and automobiles to increase overseas investment.

China also plans to raise the proportion of total exports to emerging markets in Latin America and Africa as the demand from developed economies, including the United States, Europe and Japan, has waned.

The government aims to achieve real progress in fostering these new strengths by 2020.

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