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Shanxi goal: double GDP growth rate in 2016 on overhaul of coal industry

By Sun Ruisheng and Zhang Zhouxiang in Taiyuan ( Updated: 2016-02-01 11:08

North China's Shanxi province is seeking to double its GDP growth rate to 6 percent in 2016 on an overhaul of its coal industry.

The province, which produces more than a quarter of the nation's overall coal supply, raised its GDP growth target even as coal prices have dipped amid overcapacity.

"Our province is under strong pressure from the economic slowdown, but there is a large potential for further growth," Governor Li Xiaopeng said in a report to the Shanxi Provincial People's Congress.

Most of China's provinces have lowered their GDP growth targets for 2016 as the country seeks slower, but more sustainable growth. Shanxi is one of the few that adjusted it upward, even though its 2015 growth of 3.1 percent was among the lowest of all provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.

In his report, Li outlined ways the province will achieve its goal, including turning coal into clean energy, the integration of coal mining and power plants, the development of new coal-based materials and the production of aluminum. In addition to coal-related industries, he said the province will propel growth through the development of modern service industries, tourism and agriculture.

Xu Hongcai, a researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said Shanxi might meet its goal if it effectively adjusts its economic structure. The province has economic potential, but it must exploit its resources in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way, Xu said.

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