China successfully attained main targets for economic and social development in 2003 with rapid economic growth, its top legislature was told Saturday.
Ma Kai, minister in charge of the State Development and Reform Commission, made the remark in a report he delivered to the national legislature on the implementation of the 2003 Plan for National Economic and Social Development and on the 2004 Draft Plan for National Economic and Social Development.
The economy grew rapidly with its efficiency improved significantly, and China's GDP hit 11.6694 trillion yuan in 2003, a 9.1 percent increase over the previous year, said the minister.
Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) rose to 9,030 yuan, exceeding the important benchmark of 1,000 US dollars for the first time when calculated at the present exchange rate, he said.
The growth of domestic demand was accelerated as investment in fixed assets for the whole country was 5.5118 trillion yuan, a year-on-year rise of 26.7 percent, and that retail sales of consumer goods totaled 4.5842 trillion yuan, up 9.1 percent, he acknowledged. Consumer prices rose by 1.2 percent.
Economic efficiency improved in step with economic growth, and government revenue for the entire country was 2.17 trillion yuan, a rise of 14.7 percent more than the previous year, said Ma.
Economic efficiency in the industrial sector reached a record high. Total profits of state-owned and large non-state owned industrial enterprises were 815.2 billion yuan, an increase of 42.7 percent, 22 percentage points greater than the previous year.
State-owned enterprises and enterprises with the controlling stake held by the state generated 378.4 billion yuan in profits, an increase of 45.2 percent. Of the industrial products made last year, 98.1 percent were sold.
The minister said a number of projects of great importance for long-term economic and social development were completed and put into operation.
In 2003, he said, water was successfully stored in the Three Gorges Reservoir, and permanent ship locks on the Three Gorges Project were opened to navigation, and the project's first set of generators began producing power.
Construction was started on the eastern and central routes of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project. An additional 46,000 kilometers of highways and 1,164 kilometers of newly completed railway lines were opened to traffic. The power industry developed more quickly.
The country produced 1.9 trillion KWH of electricity in 2003, 15.5 percent more than in 2002, and the number of telephone subscribers reached 532 million, a year-on-year increase of 112 million, the minister said.
The minister acknowledged that new strides were made in developing the western region, and implementation of the strategy for reinvigorating northeast China and other old industrial bases began.
"Ecological conservation and environmental protection work in the western region was further intensified. Some 3.37 million hectares of farmland were returned to forests; 3.77 million hectares of barren hills and wasteland were afforested; and 6.66 million hectares of seriously degraded grassland were improved."
Greater efforts were put into infrastructure development, noted Ma. An additional 317 kilometers of track was laid on the Qinghai-Tibet railway line. The eastern section of the West-to-East Natural Gas Piping Project was completed, allowing natural gas to be delivered to east China.
An additional power transmission capacity of over 8 million KW was installed as part of the West-to-East Electricity Transmission Project, said the minister. Another 4,200 km of highways connecting county seats were built or upgraded.
(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2004)