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October, 23, 2016

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Steps planned to boost economy in the northeast

A series of major measures will be adopted in an effort to further revitalize the slowing economy in Northeast China, especially as the region's pillar industries are cutting production capacity and private investment has dropped.

The measures were in two support documents, including the 13th Five-Year Plan for Revitalizing Northeast China, approved by the central government on Tuesday at the second meeting of the Leading Group for Revitalizing Northeast China and Other Old Industrial Bases. The meeting was presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

The documents aim to boost local economies and private investment in Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces and the eastern part of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Details of the documents were not immediately available.

The region was vital to the country's establishment of a complete industrial system, but it has relied on heavy industries such as steel and coal mining, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

As the country cuts overcapacity in industries that pollute heavily, GDP growth in Liaoning and Heilongjiang during the first eight months has been below the national average.

The National Development and Reform Commission has announced plans for 127 major projects for the region, at a cost of 1.6 trillion yuan ($237.3 billion), to boost local economies.

Premier Li urged local governments to stabilize investment and consumption. The region should also promote the service sector, including tourism and cultural events, to cultivate new areas for growth, he said.

Negative lists for corporate investment and market access will be established in the region, while reforms of State-owned enterprises will be conducted to boost private investment and raise confidence in a vigorous recovery of the local economy, Li added.

To attract and keep private investment, Li also called on local governments to make further efforts to improve the business environment by streamlining administrative procedures and strengthening governmental services.

Private investment in Northeast China has declined sharply, with that in Liaoning decreasing by 58 percent in the first half of the year.

At the meeting, the premier pledged support for resource-exhausted cities to upgrade local economies, and he encouraged the region to cooperate with rapidly growing provinces in southern China.

The region's economic slowdown stems from a worsening business environment and a lack of vitality for enterprises, said Nie Huihua, vice-president of the National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University of China.

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