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Call for Industrial Journey to the West
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The State Council, China's cabinet, recently approved the 11th Five-Year Program (2006-2010) for the development of western regions. This approval demonstrates the value placed by the Chinese central authorities on the development of western regions, according to Professor Yang Xianming from Yunnan University's Development Institute who is a member of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). To such an end, accelerating industry transfer from east China to central and western regions will assist in improving economic growth across the impoverished areas, Yang said.

Prof. Yang, along with the China Democratic National Construction Association, is attending the 12-day annual session of the CPPCC National Committee, which opened in Beijing on Saturday afternoon.

In his proposal submitted to the current CPPCC session, Yang pointed out that China set clear goals to move labor-intensive industry westwards some time ago, but recent years have seen no progress in this respect, making it difficult to promote western industrial development and related industrial structure adjustment.

Professor Yang said: "Now plenty of cheap labor is still moving from west China to the east, with the result that efficiency of labor in western China is markedly lower than in the east. Simultaneously, no policy exists in some eastern areas to support industry transfer while the western investment environment remains unfavorable. All these bottlenecks restrict the transfer speed."

To overcome such barriers, Yang suggested that the government create a precise industry transfer time-table while creating more favorable tax policies to encourage domestic corporations to move west.

The Five-Year Program was approved at a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao on December 8, 2006. According to the program, the 2006-2010 period will see new breakthroughs come in the fields of infrastructure construction and ecological protection including improvements to the transportation network and water facilities.

At a press conference, on March 1, 2007, Wang Jinxiang, vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), further encouraged foreign investors to "go west".

"The western region enjoys more favorable policies and has more fields opened up to foreign investors than the rest of China. Foreign investors should grasp the opportunities," said Wang.

(China.org.cn by staff reporter Wu Nanlan, March 5, 2007)

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