Xi en­vi­sions re­gional col­lab­o­ra­tive bloc

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHAO YINAN in Bei­jing and ZHENG JINRAN in Shi­ji­azhuang

Thirty-five years af­ter China’s re­form mas­ter­mind Deng Xiaop­ing iden­ti­fied sev­eral coastal cities in south­ern China as eco­nomic front lines, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping pro­duced his vi­sion for an­other in­te­grated sphere in the north on Wed­nes­day.

Xi, head of the leading group for over­all re­form, called for in­te­grated and co­or­di­nated de­vel­op­ment of Bei­jing and the two neigh­bor­ing provin­cial ar­eas dur­ing a sym­po­sium af­ter lis­ten­ing to work re­ports de­liv­ered by of­fi­cials from Bei­jing, Tian­jin and He­bei prov­ince.

Un­der the grand vi­sion, the three re­gions will build a tri­lat­eral eco­nomic sphere in the Bo­hai Bay area — an eco­nomic hub that may one day par­al­lel the me­trop­o­lises around the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta, which are now the most de­vel­oped ar­eas in China.

The co­or­di­na­tion of de­vel­op­ment among the three ar­eas fo­cuses on op­ti­miz­ing the in­dus­trial lay­out and im­prov­ing the al­lo­ca­tion of the re­sources, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased af­ter the sym­po­sium.

Among other mat­ters, the three ar­eas will pro­mote lo­gis­tics, in­dus­trial com­ple­men­ta­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

The three ar­eas have pre­vi­ously an­nounced col­lab­o­rated ef­forts to fight smog.

Tian­jin, a port city with a pop­u­la­tion of 14 mil­lion, is linked to Bei­jing by sev­eral high­ways and a high-speed rail­way.

He­bei, a tra­di­tional in­dus­trial and trans­porta­tion hub sur­round­ing both Bei­jing and Tian­jin, is also plan­ning to build a high-speed rail­way that will re­duce travel time to the cap­i­tal to one hour.

A bi­lat­eral co­or­di­na­tion group has since been set up be­tween Tian­jin and He­bei, with a vice-gover­nor and a vicemayor in charge, to “break in­sti­tu­tional bar­ri­ers” and “carry out ex­changes in a smooth and timely man­ner”.

The move in­di­cates that Tian­jin and He­bei will be re­spon­si­ble for trans­fer­ring part of the in­dus­tries from Bei­jing to their ter­ri­tory, and more knowl­edge-driven com­pa­nies may turn to Tian­jin and He­bei for in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion due to the high cost of land and la­bor in the cap­i­tal.

“The three places have to first fig­ure out their role in the eco­nomic sphere be­fore mak­ing any de­vel­op­ment plans,” said Zhang Keyun, a Ren­min Univer­sity of China re­gional econ­omy pro­fes­sor.

“He­bei may not be suit­able to ac­com­mo­date both high-tech and la­bor-in­ten­sive in­dus­tries as its econ­omy and re­search ca­pa­bil­ity is the weak­est of the three,” he said. “But on the other hand, Bei­jing should fund He­bei for the sac­ri­fice it is mak­ing by clos­ing steel plants to re­duce air pol­lu­tion.” Con­tact the writ­ers at zhaoy­i­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn and zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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