The State Council has approved a plan to develop the coastal economic belt of Liaoning province, the only access to sea in northeastern China.
The economic belt, covering about 700 sq km, will focus on ship building, petroleum refining, advanced equipment manufacturing, raw materials, high-tech industries and agriculture processing, according to the plan.
The zone will comprise the ports of Dalian, Jinzhou, Yingkou, Huludao and Dandong, which opened navigation services to more than 140 countries and regions.
"The coastal belt will fuel economic development in the northeast region and become another engine of economic growth," Feng Guisheng, a scholar of Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said.
Before the 1990s, Liaoning was one of the most developed areas in the country, but has fallen behind in recent years.
"We draw a conclusion from practice that opening-up is crucial to our development. And it is our most significant means of coping with the financial crisis," said Chen Zhenggao, governor of the province.
Liaoning provincial government first raised the plan for the economic zone in 2005. In three years, many large companies including Intel, Foxconn and SK have invested in the province. In 2008, Liaoning attracted $12.02 billion in investment, the third most in the country.
Gao Baoyu, president of Yingkou Port Group Corp, said: "Development of the coastal area will speed up the development of the ports, and development of ports will provide better developing conditions for the coastal economy."
Feng said the economic zone would deepen cooperation between China and nearby nations such as Japan and Russia.
Previously, the country gave the green light to coastal areas in east China's Jiangsu province, the Beibu Bay in Guangxi and the economic zone on the western side of Taiwan Straits in Fujian province.
Xinhua contributed to the story
Source: China Daily