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March 7, 2013

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Vehicle license plates costing too much, admits city's Party chief

SHANGHAI Party chief Han Zheng has admitted that vehicle license plates cost too much, and pledged to use the funds raised from the auctions for local residents.

"I agree that car plates are too expensive," Han told a group discussion of the Shanghai delegation at the annual session of China's legislature in Beijing yesterday.

Prices recently reached more than 80,000 yuan (US$12,698), enough to buy an economy car.

The Shanghai government started an auction for vehicle license plates in 1994, as part of moves to address the heavy traffic problem in the metropolis of 23.8 million residents.

Han promised to make public the income generated by vehicle license plates.

"The incomes are raised from the people and should be used to serve the people," Han said.

While agreeing license plates were expensive, Han said demand still exceeded supply.

"If we want to keep the prices in line, we have to grant more license plates," Han said.

"At present, Shanghai releases 9,000 plates each month. We hope to do the job better through enhancing supervision and improving the system," Han said.

Han also said new property restrictions announced last Friday by the central government were designed to promote healthy development of the industry and stifle unreasonable increases in house prices.

"It is a long-term mission and (we) believe the policies can lead the market to a sound way of growth," Han said.

Han said: "Shanghai is standing at a new point of growth, and we should rely on restructuring and innovation to drive that growth."

He said effective management of relationships among businesses, government, market and society was fundamental.

Responding to a reporter from Hong Kong on the limit on baby formula people can take to the mainland from Hong Kong, Han said both the government and the producers had a responsibility for food safety.

He called on the two cities to enhance cooperation in this regard and said domestic companies should draw a lesson and make improvements.

Han told a reporter from Taiwan that Shanghai was confident the city's cooperation with the island in both manufacturing and service sectors had a bright future.


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