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Shaanxi sees new role as central hub

By Zhao Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-15 07:27

The central government should use more favorable policies to boost manufacturing in Shaanxi province, a key hub for the Belt and Road Initiative, national legislators from the province have suggested.

The Belt and Road Initiative, a development strategy proposed by the Chinese government in 2013, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt, which will link China with Europe through Central and Western Asia, and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which stretches from southern China to Southeast Asia, and even to Africa. The ambitious plan is estimated to benefit about 4.4 billion people in 65 nations, the government said.

"Shaanxi is the engine of the economy in China's western regions, but it is now highly dependent on the mining and energy industries. Most industrial products made in Shaanxi have a low level of technology. The province's exports make up a small proportion of its GDP," said Wang Xilin, vice-president of the Shaanxi Federation of Industry and Commerce and a deputy to the 12th National People's Congress, who submitted the suggestion to the 12th National People's Congress on behalf of several deputies from Shaanxi.

Wang said national legislators from Shaanxi hope that the central government can help the province strengthen its manufacturing sectors, including chemicals, automobiles, aviation, space, environmental protection equipment and intelligent devices. They also hope the government could encourage manufacturing companies to relocate laboratories and plants to Shaanxi instead of overseas.

The government also could accelerate its Western Regions Development Program, which has been carried out since 2000, and could encourage financial institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Silk Road Fund to engage in projects in the province, according to Wang.

Fang Weifeng, director of the Shaanxi Provincial Commission of Development and Reform and an NPC deputy, said the province plans to focus on manufacturing industries and will take advantage of international cooperation opportunities brought by the Belt and Road Initiative to foster its high-end industrial sectors.

The Shaanxi government will also propose to the central government that a reserve fuel base be built in the provincial capital of Xi'an to serve countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt, according to Fang.

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