Shanghai mayor admits problems but pledges a bright future for city

Updated: 2011-07-27 07:37

By Yu Ran (China Daily)

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Promises center on food prices, social security and fair income distribution

SHANGHAI - Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng has pledged to contain rapidly rising food prices and provide residents with better social security and higher incomes.

The city witnessed an 8.4 percent growth in GDP in the first half of this year, and the disposable personal income of urban residents increased by 12.4 percent in the same period, Han said on Tuesday while releasing the municipal government's half-year work report to the municipal people's congress.

Driven by the ambition of local authorities to transform the city into an international trade and financial center, Shanghai's exports increased by 17.6 percent in the half-year and total imports and exports grew by 21.3 percent, the same rate posted for the first half of 2010.

According to the report, 32 global companies set up their headquarters in the booming eastern metropolis and nine research centers were launched in the past six months.

"The city created some 398,000 jobs in the past half-year, which is a good sign that Shanghai can offer more job opportunities, better education, improved healthcare and more convenient transport and communication services," the mayor said.

Han added that the city has achieved its half-year targets and will continue its economic development and industrial upgrade.

Han said food prices in the city rose by 5.9 percent in June, the highest rise in the past 35 months. Prices maintained an average monthly rise of more than 4 percent over the past nine months.

"The key target for the next half-year is to control the prices of vegetables by increasing planting areas for leafy greens," he said.

To improve the living standards of local residents, the government will spare no effort to ensure both urban and rural residents will benefit from wider social security coverage and fairer income distribution.

The half-year report also said more attention will be paid to regulating the property market.

"We will ensure that affordable housing projects are completed on time with enough public service facilities established near the projects," Han said.

He added that the authorities will strengthen food safety inspections in an effort to eliminate the possibility of another food scandal.

China Daily

(China Daily 07/27/2011 page5)