Marine economy development zone approved for east China

Updated: 2011-03-03 13:21
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HANGZHOU - A plan to establish an ocean economic development zone in east China's Zhejiang province has been approved by the State Council.

The Zhejiang Ocean Economic Development Demonstration Zone would secure China's strategic resources to develop its marine economy, said Liu Ting, deputy director of the provincial development and reform committee.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, approved the plan for the ocean development zone late February, following the first such zone in Shandong, which was approved on Feb 18.

The Zhejiang zone would focus on logistics services combining a trade platform, sea-land transport networks, and a finance and information support system, said Liu.

A major province on the East China Sea coast, Zhejiang has abundant reserves of oil, natural gas and undeveloped small islands.

The province has 30.7 percent of China's total coastline, and more than 2,800 offshore islands, accounting for 40 percent of the country's total.

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Based on its five-year development program, Zhejiang's gross ocean product is expected to exceed 720 billion yuan ($110 billion), or 15 percent of China's total, by 2015.

China's 3 million square kilometers of offshore waters and 32,000 kilometers of coast have proven marine oil reserves of 24.6 billion tons and natural gas reserves of 1.6 billion cubic meters.

The marine economy accounts for almost 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), supporting more than 32 million jobs.

Based on proposals for the 12th Five-Year Program (2011-2015) released in October last year, the government will strengthen development of the marine economy over the next five years.

The State Council has approved three regional ocean economic zones with the third in the South China Sea off the coast of Guangdong province.