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Hebei urges cement and steel firms to invest in plants abroad and in other provinces

Zheng Jinran
Updated: Mar 10,2015 8:58 AM     China Daily

Hebei will encourage steel, cement and other heavy industry companies to invest in production capacity abroad and in other part of the country in response to the huge pressure to reduce output in the province.

Many plants in Hebei are operating at reduced capacity because of the need to cut air pollution, and factories elsewhere could make up the shortfall.

However, the production capacity that is transferred should be of good quality, and the initiative should not simply move pollution elsewhere, Jiang Deguo, deputy governor of Hebei, said on March 9.

“We will pursue cooperation in technology and industrial development with other countries,” he added. “The provincial government will implement preferential policies to encourage companies to invest in other countries.”

Premier Li Keqiang supported the transfer of production capacity abroad and to western parts of China when he met the Hebei NPC deputies on March 7.

Such a move will promote industrial development, increase employment in the countries involved and optimize Hebei’s industrial structure, a win-win result, the premier said. However, he said it should not move pollution to the regions.

Jiang added, “We have found a new and promising way to optimize industry and support the economy.”

Hebei’s heavy industries are a major economic pillar in North China and the province is the country’s largest iron and steel production area, accounting for around 25 percent of total output since 2013.

The production of glass in Hebei accounted for 17 percent of the national total, and 5 percent of cement production takes place in the province, said Jiang.

These industries has been criticized as a major source of air pollution in a province that contains six of the 10 cities in the country with the worst air quality.

The province has shut thousands of outdated and polluting plants since 2013.