China announces multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects

November 12th, 2008 - 9:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Nov 12 (Xinhua) China Wednesday announced a slew of measures, including upgrading infrastructure and a further rise in export rebates, in a wide-ranging attempt to stimulate the economy and stave off the effects of the global financial crisis. The State Council, or cabinet, approved projects with a combined investment of more than 200 billion yuan ($29 billion), designed to help in boosting domestic demand and offset slowing exports.

At executive meeting presided over by premier Wen Jiabao agreed to raise export rebates on more than 3,700 items - mainly labour-intensive, mechanical and electrical products and other items vulnerable to weakening overseas demand - from next month, the third such move in the second half.

The infrastructure projects included a gas pipeline from the northwestern Ningxia Hui region to the southern economic hubs of Guangzhou and Hong Kong, at an investment of 93 billion yuan.

The meeting also approved the building of the Guangdong Yangjiang nuclear power plant and the expansion of the Zhejiang Qinshan nuclear power plant at a combined cost of 95.5 billion yuan.

Another 17.4 billion yuan would go to water conservancy projects in regions of Xinjiang, Guizhou and Jiangxi and civil airports in north China’s Mongolia Autonomous and east China’s Anhui province.

The 300-billion-yuan reconstruction fund dedicated to 51 quake-hit areas in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces would provide the main financing for rebuilding the May 12 quake zone.

The forestry industry, ravaged by the severe winter weather at the start of the year and the earthquake, would receive support for restoration by 2010. “Proper subsidies” would be given to forestry workers to help rebuild their damaged homes.

China’s economy slowed sharply in the third quarter because of falling exports and investment growth. Gross domestic product was up nine percent from the same period last year, compared with 10.1 percent in the second quarter and 10.6 percent in the first quarter.

The package would finance programmes over the next two years in 10 major areas, including affordable housing, rural infrastructure, water, electricity, transport, the environment, technological innovation and rebuilding after disasters, most notably the May 12 earthquake.

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