Regional plans gather pace

08:34, June 23, 2010      

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China is quickening its pace in rolling out regional development plans this year to foster more economic growth engines and tackle regional development imbalances.

China's cabinet is likely to approve the regional plan for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area later this year, making it the country's third city cluster and key economic driver.

"The plan, which has been submitted to the State Council for approval, includes Beijing, Tianjin and eight cities in Hebei province," a government source confirmed with China Daily.

In late May, the State Council gave the green light to the regional plan for the Yangtze River Delta, positioning it as a key international gateway for the Asia-Pacific region,

The Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei are usually regarded as the three major city clusters which are key to China's economic growth.

Industry statistics show that these three clusters' combined GDP hit 12 trillion yuan last year, accounting for 37.4 percent of the country's total, of which the Yangtze River Delta contributed 17.8 percent, the Pearl River Delta accounted for 9.6 percent and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei was responsible for 10 percent.

Moreover, the central government is also working on a regional plan for Chengdu-Chongqing and surrounding cities, which is usually regarded as the country's fourth city cluster serving the nation's western and southern areas.

In addition to the city clusters, the government has also approved a number of industry-upgrading plans in Hainan and Anhui provinces and the Tibet autonomous region.

The launch of these regional plans is aimed to foster more economic growth engines in the country and achieve more coordinated development, said Fan Hengshan, director-general of the regional economy department under the National Development and Reform Commission,

Last year, the central government approved 11 regional development plans - equaling the total amount in the past four years.

"The government's regional plans will help to reposition the functions of different regions, thus developing industries of local strength," said Song Yingchang, researcher with Institute for Urban and Environment Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Song said that getting rid of "administrative barriers" and achieving "real integration" will be the biggest challenges for local governments in the areas.

"And there should be a coordinated approach to infrastructure planning, environmental protection, industries arrangement and public services for the whole region," added Song.

Source: China Daily

(Editor:黄硕)

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