Li of­fers vi­sion of re­vival for North­east

For­mer in­dus­trial pioneer is now fac­ing mul­ti­ple chal­lenges as growth fal­ters

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By LI XIAOKUN and LAN LAN

Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang made pro­pos­als on Thurs­day to re­move bar­ri­ers to the devel­op­ment of the pioneer of the na­tion’s in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion in the 1950s to the 1970s, a broad area of North­east China that cov­ers Liaon­ing, Jilin and Hei­longjiang prov­inces and an eastern sec­tion of In­ner Mon­go­lia au­tonomous re­gion.

Part of Li’s plan in­volves the fur­ther open­ing of the re­gion to neigh­bor­ing coun­tries.

“Cur­rently, we have to con­cen­trate our en­ergy on im­ple­ment­ing sev­eral ma­jor tasks that serve mul­ti­ple ends and make ev­ery ef­fort to un­lock the puz­zle to the devel­op­ment of the north­east,” Li said at a meet­ing of the State Coun­cil (cabi­net) that was held to dis­cuss the is­sue.

The cen­tral govern­ment de­cided in 2003 to re­vive in­dus­trial bases there. The area amounts to roughly one-seventh of China’s to­tal ter­ri­tory.

Li said the strat­egy has brought ev­i­dent ben­e­fits in the past decade, but the econ­omy in that part of China “is fac­ing new chal­lenges”.

He added: “The eco­nomic growth rate there has kept fall­ing since last year, and op­er­a­tions in some sec­tors are dif­fi­cult.” He noted that some deep-rooted con­tra­dic­tions are emerg­ing.

Some 30 provin­cial-level re­gions have re­ported GDP fig­ures for the first half. And 23 of them saw eco­nomic growth pick up in the sec­ond quar­ter, while two prov­inces were level and five prov­inces re­ported a slow­down.

Liaon­ing and Jilin

were

LEAD­ERS AND LAG­GARDS IN H1 GDP GROWTH

Top six among the five prov­inces with slow­ing growth. Hei­longjiang has yet to re­port its fig­ures.

Growth rates in Liaon­ing and Jilin in the first half hit 7.2 per­cent and 6.8 per­cent, re­spec­tively, both below the na­tional rate of 7.4 per­cent.

Li’s pre­scrip­tion for the devel­op­ment of the north­east in­cludes stream­lin­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion to stim­u­late the mar­ket.

He also pro­posed ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects such as up­grad­ing the mas­sive rail­way net­work. The re­gion

Bot­tom six has one of the dens­est rail­way net­works in the na­tion, but much of it was built decades ago.

Other sug­ges­tions in­clude more agri­cul­tural mod­ern­iza­tion in the rich­est soil in China and up­dat­ing the re­gion’s ad­van­tage in equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Li was the Party chief of Liaon­ing province from 2004 to 2007.

North­east China has at­tracted great at­ten­tion from Bei­jing this year. Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Li made

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