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Central China urged to up ante
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08:25, April 28, 2008

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Vice-premier Wang Qishan on Saturday urged leaders in central China to further liberate their thinking and speed up reform and economic opening.

"It's all important to transform minds and make bolder moves in system reforms," Wang told a forum during the Third Central China Investment & Trade Exposition, a three-day event that opened on Saturday in Hubei province's capital city.

He said provinces in central China should break regional barriers and open wider to the outside world in order to form a vigorous economic regime as well as a "unified and open market with orderly competition".

The central China expo covers six provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Henan, Jiangxi, Anhui and Shanxi, which boast a combined population of 361 million and territory of almost 1.03 million sq km, but lag far behind the booming coastal areas.

Wang said governments in the central region should more rapidly change the way they function to improve investment environments.

"Governments should streamline items requiring administrative examination and approval, and reduce intervention into micro-economic operations," he stressed.

He said the central region should pursue sound and rapid development and follow a path of industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization with Chinese characteristics, instead of jeopardizing the environment with impulsive development.

Commerce chief Chen Deming said his ministry would increase the number of central key cities - those embracing the processing industries increasingly relocating from East China - and provide them more incentives.

Overseas investors will be enticed to set up manufacturing bases, investment companies and research and development centers in central China, while mergers and acquisitions of small and medium-sized State-owned enterprises will also be encouraged, Chen said.

He said the ministry would help boost the region's exports of machinery, electronic and other high-tech products as well as the development of its services trade with a focus on culture, software, information, accountancy and traditional Chinese medicine.

He added the ministry would help set up centers to train business brains in East China for the central region.

Li Hongzhong, governor of Hubei, announced the province would strive to become an important hub of advanced manufacturing, quality agricultural product processing, modern logistics and transportation sectors in central China.

Chief executive of Hong Kong Donald Tsang said the special administrative region was willing to provide services integral to the rise of central China by leveraging the city's finance, trade, logistics, tourism and information advantages, as well as its mature legal system and flexible business environment.

Source: China Daily



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