2012-06-19 (China Daily) - China will further increase investment in critical sectors as a means to support steady and rapid growth, said a top official from the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner.
"China will continue expanding investment in fixed assets in an appropriate way, ensuring investment in critical areas while avoiding excessive capacity," said Du Ying, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission.
"Future investment will tilt toward the western regions," he told China Daily in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on the sidelines of the UN's global sustainable development meetings.
The critical sectors for increasing investment include industrial-upgrading projects; infrastructure projects in transportation and water conservancy; large projects in agriculture and civil services concerning social security; poverty eradication and basic education, Du said.
The annual rate of the country's GDP growth in the first quarter slowed to 8.1 percent amid the dim external economic environment. The approval of recent infrastructure projects sparked speculation over a new round of stimulus measures to boost the economy.
Apart from investment, other effective measures need to be adopted to ensure sound growth this year such as the thorough implementation of a structural tax reduction to boost investors' confidence, fine-tuning credit policies to support growth and keeping exports steady, Du said.
China's economy has been facing downward pressure in the past months, but growth will remain steady by putting these effective measures into place, he said.
Du is also head of the preparatory committee of the Chinese delegation. The committee was set up in April, 2011, by 29 Chinese organizations to make preparations for the UN's conference on sustainable development.
China will prioritize economic restructuring in the development of western and central regions to ensure a sustainable development in the long run, he said.
The western and central regions have become two new growth engines as the eastern coastal areas have been dragged down by rising labor costs, weak exports and efforts to shift economic structure.
"The era has changed. Development of the western and central regions should avoid repeating the old path of the coastal areas by putting growth ahead of the environment."
The western regions have surpassed the eastern regions in both economic growth and investment growth after the financial crisis, according to experts.
Over the past decades, China has made lots of effort in pushing forward infrastructure construction in the country's western regions, officials said.
Landmark projects such as the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the West-East natural gas pipeline and the West-East power transmission have been completed.
A regional economic layout centered on the Chengdu-Chongqing, Guanzhong-Tianshui and Beibu Gulf economic zones has basically emerged.