The State Council yesterday issued its first special marine economic development programme aimed at boosting the country's marine industries.
Under the programme, the country's marine economy is expected to contribute about 4 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) within two years, and over 5 percent by year 2010.
The programme, for the first time, sets out a clear-cut definition of the so-called "marine economy," as the total of various industries involved in sea exploration and related economic activities.
As for the marine industries, said the programme, they include ocean fisheries, ocean communication and transport, ocean oil and gas, seaside tourism, ocean shipping, marine bio-medicine, sea water utilization and salt production.
Wang Fei, spokesman for the State Oceanographic Administration, said the new programme will consolidate the exploration of marine resources, improve the economic layout of coastal areas and facilitate industrial structural adjustment, all of which will in turn make the marine economy the country's new economic growth point.
Wang is confident of meeting the economic goals set by the programme. "The marine economy has seen a fast growth rate in the past two decades, and this programme will help maintain the high speed into the future," he said.
The average yearly growth rate of the marine economy maintained over 20 percent during the 1990s, jumping from 8 billion yuan (US$966.2 million) in 1980 to over 285 billion yuan (US$34.4 billion) by the end of the decade. During that period, the marine economy comprised around 2 percent of the country's GDP.
The contribution has continued to increase in the new century, reporting a 3.8 percent share last year, when the total output value of the country's marine economy stood at 850 billion yuan (US$102.7 billion).
To fulfil the goal, the programme has designated 11 comprehensive marine economic zones, with various development emphases based on their own special advantages.
Within the framework, various local governments can produce their own supporting development programmes.
(China Daily May 28, 2003)