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State Council support for regional zone to drive development

By Li Yang in Nanning | China Daily | Updated: 2013-09-02 07:39

State Council support for regional zone to drive development

Two months ago, the State Council highlighted the importance of the Pearl River-Xijiang River Economic Belt Development plan in its new national plan for regional development.

This distinction means that the economic zone is on its way to becoming a national priority, presenting Guangxi with new opportunities to push its growth to new heights, according to the local government.

Guangxi will prioritize the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone and the Xijiang River Economic Zone as the two engines of its future development. From 2009 to 2012, Guangxi invested more than 16.1 billion yuan ($2.56 billion) in constructing the golden waterway of the Xijiang River.

During this period of time, the inland port handling capacity of the river section in Guangxi rose from 54.96 million tons to 94.94 million tons. The volume of freight traffic on the river increased from 75.71 million tons to 149.78 million tons.

Premier Li Keqiang pointed out in his visit to Guangxi early July:

"Guangxi is the only provincial region with large ports in western China and has the ability and conditions to become a strategic regional pivot for all of southwest China to develop foreign-bound economy oriented toward ASEAN."

His visit to Guangxi sent a clear signal that China will tap into the potential of its vast hinterland and take advantage of its close cooperation with ASEAN to stimulate economic growth against the backdrop of a lingering global financial crisis.

Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region has maintained double-digit economic growth for 12 years consecutively. With the central government's powerful support and the hard work of 50 million people, Guangxi has become one of the most economically robust regions and one of the most attractive places for investors in China.

Guangxi is central to the China-ASEAN strategic partnership as well as the regional free trade area. The trade bloc of ASEAN nations has become the third-largest trade partner for China.

The cultural and person-to-person contacts between the two sides have also entered a new stage. ASEAN now occupies a very important position in China's foreign relations.

A population of about 15 million poor people live in nearly 100 national poverty-stricken counties located within the new economic belt zone of Pearl River and Xijiang River.

The central government's plan to spur the regional development of the whole belt will accelerate the economic growth of the backward regions, greatly increasing the incomes of those living in poverty.

The Pearl River-Xijiang River Economic Zone connects the less-developed parts of southwest China, rich in labor and natural resources, to the Pearl River Delta, which has a concentration of capital, knowledge and management talent. Guangxi is located in between, forming an important bridge between the two sides.

Guangxi connects the economic zones of ASEAN, South China and Southwest China together and has convenient transport conditions in water, air, sea and border areas.

As the only coastal region in West China, Guangxi has 1,595 kilometers of coastline, which gives the region not only rich oceanic and ecological resources but creates also huge potential for economic development .

The Xijiang River, a golden waterway, will necessarily play a leading role in Guangxi's economic rise with the support of the central government.

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