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NPC Session Focuses on Farming Technology

Mechanization of agriculture has taken center stage as China's top lawmakers prepare to meet next week.

National legislators gathered in Beijing Thursday to make preparations for the second plenary meeting of the incumbent parliament, scheduled to open next week.

They will review a draft agenda for the second plenary session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) - which includes a new law emphasizing mechanization of agriculture - a draft name list of the presidium and secretaries-general of the meeting.

The lawmakers will also review a draft copy of the 10th NPC Standing Committee's yearly report. The standing committee is the permanent body of the NPC, China's top legislature. The report is set to be delivered by Wu Bangguo, who became chair last March.

Among the top items up for debate are a draft law on the promotion of agricultural mechanization and a draft amendment to the decade-old Foreign Trade Law.

Development of agricultural mechanization is the only way to improve productivity and an effective tool to increase the income of farmers, said to Liu Mingzu, director of the NPC Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

It has been a major target for the country to improve the farmers' living standards.

Liu's committee Thursday submitted the draft law to the legislators for preliminary review.

"Agricultural machines are an important material base for modern agriculture and a major carrier of developed agricultural science and technology," Liu said.

He said the draft law is also designed to stabilize the preferential policies on the development of agricultural mechanization rendered by the central and local governments.

It is a common practice for agriculturally developed nations to give necessary support for agricultural mechanization, which is consistent with the rules of the World Trade Organization.

The draft amendment to the Foreign Trade Law has been further revised after the first round of deliberation by the lawmakers at the end of last year.

It has further clarified provisions on such issues as State trade and authorized operation to make administration of foreign trade more open and transparent.

The revision was conducted in response to complaints from some enterprises, experts and some foreign chambers of commerce and foreign invested enterprises in Beijing that the original stipulation was too vague and lacked transparency.

The lawmakers will also review a report on the establishment of a formal conference mechanism between the NPC and the US Senate, which was established at the beginning of the new year in Hawaii.

In a Memorandum of Understanding they agreed to establish the NPC-US Senate Parliamentary Group.

So far, the US Senate has only established similar exchange mechanisms with Britain, Canada, Mexico and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

(China Daily February 27, 2004)

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