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October 17, 2009

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West strategy to continue

CHINA has made great achievements in developing its western region in the last 10 years and it would stick to the West Development Strategy that was adopted in 2000, Premier Wen Jiabao said yesterday.

Wen also said the government was willing to continue cooperating with other economies in promoting development of the western region.

Wen made the remarks in a speech at the opening ceremony of the 10th Western China International Economy and Trade Fair and the Second West China International Cooperation Forum in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.

"Since last year, China's western regions have suffered the double blow of a big natural disaster and the global economic crisis. With a basket of measures to cope with the economic crisis, China continues unswervingly to push forward with the West Development Strategy," he said.

More than 43 percent of investment allocated by the central government to expand domestic demand and fight the financial crisis had been used for projects to improve living standards, infrastructure projects, post-disaster reconstruction and technological innovation in western regions, he said.

In the wake of the financial crisis, China rolled out a 4 trillion yuan (US$585.86 billion) economic stimulus package to finance massive projects nationwide.

In the first half, total gross domestic product in the western region grew at an annual rate of 11.8 percent, he added. Nationally, the economy expanded 7.1 percent over the same period.

The West Development Strategy policy was adopted in 2000 to help the underdeveloped west region catch up with the more prosperous east region.

The 12 western provinces, autonomous regions and municipality have a combined population of about 370 million. They include Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces.

This year, China planned to invest 468.9 billion yuan in the region.


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