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Northeast to bottom out amid lackluster growth

Wang Yiqing
Updated: Nov 18,2016 9:28 AM     China Daily

The declining economy of Northeast China, which was once the country’s industrial base, is reaching a bottom and is less likely to decline sharply in the future, an official at the National Development and Reform Commission said on Nov 17.

Zhou Jianping, director of the commission’s department for revitalization of the northeast region, admitted the difficulties that provinces in Northeast China face, but pointed out some highlights of the region’s economic recovery, including rapid growth of emerging industries, stable employment and a good harvest.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, GDP growth in the three northeast provinces of Jilin, Heilongjiang and Liaoning lagged behind a majority of provinces and regions in the first quarter. Liaoning province was the only province to report negative GDP growth-minus 2.2 percent-in the first three quarters.

“The economies of Jilin and Heilongjiang are gradually recovering from last year, and Liaoning is expected to maintain economic momentum next year,” Zhou said.

The economic slowdown of Northeast China, once one of the most industrialized regions in China, has received wide attention from the central government.

A guidance issued by the State Council on Nov 16 advanced 14 policies, including deepening reform of administrative systems and State-owned enterprises, inspiring vitality and accelerating the upgrading of industries.

According to Li Pumin, secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, the guidance requires a provincial cooperation mechanism between Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang, and Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Guangdong, and a city-level mechanism between Shenyang, Dalian, Changchun, Harbin and Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Shenzhen.

“The mechanism aims to bring projects and investment to Northeast China through market cooperation and supports the effective connection of the region’s equipment manufacturing advantage and East China’s demand in order to enhance the core competitiveness of industries in Northeast China,” Li said.

“The governments in Northeast China should learn to use economic, policy, market and legal means more often to promote local economic and social development, while resorting to administrative means as little as possible,” Zhou added.