By  on April 9, 2007

GENEVA — The World Bank forecasts that growth will stay robust this year in China, Cambodia and Vietnam, which are all dynamic, key exporters of apparel.

The semiannual analysis of economies in East Asia and the Pacific concluded that export growth in China "remained very strong in early 2007," and that exports continued to outpace imports "by a wide margin through February." World Bank economists said their projection of gross domestic growth for China in 2007 was 9.6 percent.

"Continued productivity growth and a resilient world economy promise only a minor export slowdown," the study said.

Last year, Chin's growth increased 10.7 percent and its external surplus, boosted by vibrant exports, reached new highs. Chin's current account surplus surged last year to an estimated $230 billion, up from $161 billion a year earlier, and its foreign reserves reached $1.06 trillion, the report said.

A positive outlook also was projected for Vietnam, partly because of the boost the economy has received from its recent entry into the World Trade Organization and the granting of permanent normal trade relations status by the U.S. in December.

In 2006, foreign direct investment surged to $10.2 billion and export growth expanded by 22.8 percent, buoyed by apparel and footwear. Economic growth this year is projected to expand by 8 percent, slightly less than last year.

World Bank economists also project a stellar performance for Cambodia, with an economy — boosted by growth in the key pillars of apparel exports, tourism, construction and agriculture — that was forecast to expand by 9 percent, compared with 10.5 percent last year.

However, the report said Cambodi's apparel sector was facing intensified competition because of Vietnam's accession to the WTO and the possibility of greater competition from China next year, when safeguard quotas with the U.S. expire.

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