BEIJING (AP) -- China will send more business missions abroad this year to look for investment opportunities following a trip this month to Europe, the Commerce Ministry said Monday.
Beijing is encouraging Chinese companies to invest more abroad and says it is looking for imports of technology to help make its economy cleaner and more efficient.
"There would be several more tours on technology corporation and investment to go abroad this year," said Commerce Ministry spokesman Yao Jian at a news briefing. "In the current situation, to increase investment exchanges with some countries is an important measure to stimulate the global economy."
Yao said he did not know details of where the missions would go but said they probably would visit Europe, the United States, Japan and Southeast Asia.
China sent a 200-member group of businesspeople and officials to Europe in February on a four-nation buying tour. The government says the group signed contracts worth more than $13 billion in Britain, Germany, Switzerland and Spain.
A group followed this month to look for merger and investment opportunities in auto manufacturing, textiles, chemicals, energy conservation and other areas.
Beijing has described the missions as an effort to expand trade at a time when the global financial crisis is fueling protectionist sentiment.
"Going-out will be the focal point of the next stage of our work in external economic cooperation, and it's also an important measure to stimulate the economy," Yao said.
Chinese companies have been stepping up investments abroad despite global financial turmoil and have signed a flurry of energy and resource deals.
China has signed multibillion-dollar deals this year to obtain oil from Russia, Venezuela and Brazil. China's biggest aluminum producer has agreed to invest $19.5 billion in Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto Group.
Associated Press researcher Bonnie Cao in Beijing contributed to this report.