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World Bank Confident in Revitalizing NE China

Northeast China should undertake all-round reforms to attract more investment by creating a better business environment, said Francois J. Bourguignon, senior vice-president of the World Bank, Wednesday at an international seminar on strategies to revitalize Northeast China.

Top government officials from northeastern region and seniors experts from World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and universities took part in the fair.

"Northeast China should deepen its reform in the areas of investment and financing system and co-operation with other regions," said Bourguignon.

The capital and human resource flow were not flexible enough in the region, holding back investment, he said.

Joseph Battat, manager from Foreign Investment Advisory Service, a subsidiary company of World Bank, said that investment from home and abroad was the most important element in boosting the economy.

Co-operation between the World Bank and China proved to be effective and China had had a total of US$25 billion in loans from the World Bank by the end of last year.

"The number keeps increasing in the past, which also shows our will to help China because China is very important for the world," Bourguignon said.

China not only shoulders the great responsibility for its own people, it is the also an example for other developing countries to follow.

"That is why I accepted the proposal to come China. I want to study the most important things China is doing, the revitalization of Northeast China."

"The revitalization of Northeast China is different from other countries," he said, "it enjoys high-speed development due to the machinery and auto industries which would in part lessen the difficulty of the restructuring process."

Bourguignon also suggested that the region should work hard to set up a safe and complete financial system.

This restructuring requires much investment in infrastructure construction and the social security system, but this cannot be afforded just by local governments. They need investment from other channels.

Tang Min, the chief economist from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), suggested Northeast China should establish financial institutions in which private capital plays the dominant role.

"This is the most prominent choice for the revitalization strategy as the development of private economy would finally help improve the performance of the economy in general," he said.

(China Daily December 4, 2003)

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