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Major Economic Tasks in 2002 Outlined
Increasing investment in fixed assets, enhancing development of the farming sector and creating more job opportunities are among the top priorities that the Chinese government has set for economic management next year.

Zeng Peiyan, minister in charge of the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC), told the annual national planning meeting which opened in Beijing on Sunday that the government plans to complete a group of construction projects, funded by issuing treasury bonds, by the end of next year.

The government will push for a general speeding up of progress of such large-scale projects as the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the natural gas transmission pipeline extending from Xinjiang in west China to Shanghai in the eastern coast, and the power grids transmitting electricity from western parts of the country to eastern areas.

Construction also will begin on the north-south water diversion project, a water resources protection project in Beijing, and artery highways in west China, Zeng said.

He said investment will be increased in construction of infrastructures in rural areas next year, adding that industrialization and technological upgrading of the agricultural sector will be carried out more swiftly.

He called for acceleration of the development of hi-tech industries, application of information technology in all sectors of the economy and society, increase in the country's production capacity of important equipment, and restructuring of conventional industries.

Zeng noted that the government will try all means possible to increase employment opportunities. It will guide the expansion of labor-intensive industries, develop small towns and improve the social security network. In the meantime, favorable policies will be adopted to encourage spending on housing, tourism, automobiles, education and information services.

He said the government will greatly upgrade infrastructures in western China by expanding the networks of paved roads and power grids, and radio and TV broadcasting. It will take measures to let every rural family in the area participate in and benefit from the process of turning cultivated land back into forest or grassland.

At the same time, the government will open the country wider to the outside world after China's accession to the World Trade Organization. All possible measures will be taken to expand exports and optimize the structure of imports.

Zeng said the country will actively push forward the development of such social causes as education, culture and sports and strengthen environmental protection and sustainable development of resources.

He said that the government will press ahead with the campaign of rectifying the market order and improve its ability to monitor economic activities. It will improve the use of pricing as leverage in economic regulation.

(Xinhua News Agency December 3, 2001)

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