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China to concertedly develop economy in western region, official


The economic development of China's western region will be boosted together with environmental protection and social progress, said Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng Thursday in Nanning.

Speaking at the 2004 China Western Forum in Nanning, capital of southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Gao said the country's western region can develop its economy in a concerted and sustainable way through opening and innovation in systems and in science and technology.

The economy has grown steadily during the past five years in the western region, said the official.

The gross retail volume of consumer goods rose from 1999's 549.2 billion yuan (66.4 billion US dollars) to 2003's 775.7 billion yuan (93.8 billion US dollars), a yearly growth rate of nine percent.

At the same time, the foreign trade turnover of the western region amounted to 27.9 billion US dollars in 2003, 16.8 percentage points higher than that five years ago.

Gao said that though the region has developed, there still exist gaps between the western region and the coastal areas in the east.

To boost healthy development, the Ministry of Commerce plans to involve the western region more in international cooperation, the official said.

In this way, the market in the region will be activated, and the levels of management and science and technology will be enhanced.

Green industries, which favor environmental protection, will be encouraged in China's western region, and production with serious pollution and high energy consumption will be strictly controlled, he said.

(Source: People's Daily)

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