Shanghai aims lower GDP growth but better quality

20:13, January 26, 2010      

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China's economic hub Shanghai has lowered its annual growth target for gross domestic product (GDP) from nine percent last year to eight percent as the city hopes to improve the quality of local economy and secure a steady recovery.

The proposal was made by Mayor Han Zheng at the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress opened here on Tuesday and is to be reviewed by local legislators.

Han said the city's GDP fell short of the nine percent projection and grew 8.2 percent last year.

"Shanghai's economy has embarked onto the track of steady recovery," he assured the legislature. "We are at a crucial period when industrial upgrading and economic rebalancing should be further enhanced."

Among other projections proposed by the city government for this year are an eight percent rise in local fiscal revenue, a registered unemployment rate around 4.5 percent, environmental-protecting investment equivalent to three percent of the city's total GDP and research and development expenses from local finance up to 2.8 percent of its GDP.

The city government also vowed to cut its energy consumption per GDP unit by 20 percent during the 11-th five year plan period ending this year.

Han didn't specify the target for the year's consumer price index, a benchmark for retail inflation, only saying that the figure would be linked to the price control target of the central government.

Han said that the Shanghai World Expo to be opened in May would bring the city both opportunities and challenges in economic development. "We will take a package of policies to make sure local economy will gradually recover quarter by quarter," he said.

In 2009, Shanghai raked in 254.03 billion yuan in local revenue, up 7.7 percent from a year ago while the city's fixed investment rose by 9.2 percent to 527.33 billion yuan.

Last year, Shanghai's consumer price index lowered by 0.4 percent from that of 2008 while retail sales of consumer products rose by 14 percent, he said.

On employment, Han said Shanghai had 596,000 new job opportunities in 2009 and would have 500,000 more in 2010.

The city would adopt a more active employment policy this year and continue to stabilize employment, improve professional training and employment assistance, he said.

"Employment of college graduates should be given top priority, as many college graduates are the hope of their entire family," Han said.

He also said the city would improve professional training and employment services for migrant workers.

Han said Shanghai would continue to encourage people to start their own business as another effort to expand employment."Better public services will be provided for people to start their own business," he said.

The city government would also strengthen the oversight over labor protection, to ensure the legitimate interests for all workers, Han said.

Source: Xinhua
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