Tibet posts double-digit economic growth

Updated: 2007-01-14 09:25
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Tibethas notched up fast economic growth of over 12 percent for the sixth year in a row, a local high-ranking official said Friday.

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Although the finalgross domestic product(GDP) figure for last year has not yet been released, it is expected to reach 29 billion yuan (3.7 billion US dollars), ayear-on-yeargrowth of 13.2 percent, the highest in a decade, said Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, in a government work report at a meeting of the Regional People's Congress, the local legislature.

He attributed the rapid economic growth to expanding investment, consumption and foreign trade, which all grew by more than 17 percent last year.

The inauguration of theQinghai-Tibet railwaylast July, which made the "roof of the world" accessible by railways for first time in history, is believed to be a big boost to the region's development.

The reopening of border trade at the Nathu La Pass on the Tibet-India frontier, which also occurred last July, and the commissioning of Nyingchi Airport, Tibet's third airport after Lhasa and Qamdo, last September also helped, analysts said.

Qiangba Puncog hailed the rapid growth of the private sector in Tibet, saying that the number of self-employed business people and private businesses had reached 68,700 and 3,414 by end of 2006, up 11 percent and 29.8 percent, respectively, on a year earlier.

Taxes paid by private businesses reached 975 million yuan last year, up 41 percent, he said.

"The non-public economic sector has become an important force in boosting Tibet's economic development," he said.

"The social situation in Tibet has remained stable in recent years," he added.