Overseas investment is welcome in the water sector, which will
be opened up further, Vice Premier Zeng
Peiyan said yesterday.
"We'll continue to encourage overseas capital to invest in water
conservation, sewage treatment, wastewater recycling and other
projects," Zeng told participants at the 5th World Water Congress,
which opened in Beijing yesterday.
In addition, domestic enterprises are urged to introduce
advanced water treatment technology and management experience.
Held in Asia for the first time, the congress, which ends on
Thursday, is sponsored by the International Water Association (IWA)
and the Ministry of Construction to discuss issues on both local
and global scales.
Minister of Construction Wang Guangtao said that as one of the world's
fastest developing economies, China faces mounting pressure in
water supply and pollution.
The country uses 7 percent of global fresh water resources to
support 21 percent of the world's population.
IWA Vice President David Garman said that as hosts of this
year's biennial congress, China could take a step forward in
adopting advanced international technology in water treatment and
Antoine Frerot, chief executive officer of Veolia Water, said
the robust policies China has adopted to open up its water sector
are attracting more and more transnational companies to the Chinese
Veolia invested 470 million euros (US$597 million) in China last
year; and this year, it clinched another two agreements bringing
its total number of projects in the country to 19, Xinhua News
Agency reported yesterday.
Vice Minister of Construction Qiu Baoxing told a press
conference that China represents the world's largest water market;
and although short-term profitability is not high, long-term
prospects are rosy.
He also said that tariffs would not be raised dramatically to
help resolve urban water problems. In China, tap water is priced at
20 percent of its cost.
About 3,000 professionals, including scientists, regulators and
utilities' representatives from more than 90 countries and regions
are participating in the congress.
(China Daily September 11, 2006)