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NDRC plans new growth belt along the Yangtze

9 October 2013
The central government strategy to develop a new economic belt along the Yangtze is picking up momentum following President Xi Jinping’s visit to Hubei province in July. The National Development and Reform Commission, together with the Ministry of Transport, gathered senior representatives of nine provinces and municipalities in Beijing on 23 September to kick start the planning process.

The local governments of Yunnan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu and Shanghai have been submitting their plans and data to help the NDRC produce a co-ordinated and coherent strategy. According to insiders, Chongqing and Wuhan have decided to follow the footsteps of Shanghai and apply for free trade zones in their cities.

The Yangtze strategic plan, once completed, will set the tone for China’s economic development for the next 10, 20 even more years, according to Shen Kaiyan, deputy director of the Institute of Economic Studies under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

She said that the regional differences between the interior and coastal cities are a great challenge for the central government and the Yangtze is the key to facilitate economic growth in the interior cities. That is why, according to experts such as Shen, the Ministry of Transport plays a vital part in the planning process.

Xu Shaoshi, chairman of the NDRC, was quoted as saying at the September meeting that the focus will be on developing cities in the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze and promoting economic development along the Sino-Pakistan and Sino-Indian borders, among other things.

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