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Northeast Feels Benefit of Government Strategy

Leading officials declared here that efforts to revitalize the nation's northeastern industrial base are already having an impact.

National Development and Reform Commission Vice-Minister Zhang Guobao said: "The first half year has seen some changes since the project was launched last year."

Zhang was speaking at the Second Cooperation and Exchange Convention of Overseas Chinese Enterprises in Science and Technology Innovation held in the capital of Liaoning Province, one of three provinces covered by the scheme. The three-day convention ended Tuesday.

The high speed of the influx of foreign investment to the region is one of the most impressive signs, noted Zhang.

Northeast China now lags behind the nation's southern regions, which have benefited most from the reform and opening policy introduced in 1978.

The import and export volume of the three provinces in the region - Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning - accounted for less than five per cent of the national total in 2002.

But as the revitalization strategy started to have an effect, the region's foreign direct investment increase rate surpassed the national average. Contractual foreign capital increased year-on-year by 126, 151 and 57 percent in Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning, said Vice-Minister of Commerce Liao Xiaoqi.

Entrepreneurs from 40 countries and regions have invested in Liaoning during the first six months of this year, with the most cash coming from South Korea, Japan and the United States.

Most of these investment focused on "two bases" and "three industries", said Liu Baosheng, a senior official from the Liaoning Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau.

Liaoning has set out to develop itself into China's manufacturing and materials base, attaching great attention to the high-tech, agricultural products processing and service sectors.

The province's export volume increased by 22.9 percent to US$6.9 billion over the past six months, with the export structure also improving gradually.

"Besides overseas companies' investment, entrepreneurs from other provinces have also sensed this great opportunity," said Xu Weiguo, vice-governor of Liaoning Province.

(China Daily July 21, 2004)

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