Preferential policies in the pipeline to boost infrastructure construction
China is betting on its western development program to lead a new round of economic growth as the government is mulling "differentiated" policies for the region that will feature huge spending on infrastructure, Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday.
"We will roll out more preferential policies tailored for the western region concerning infrastructure projects, to accelerate the construction and upgrading of rail and road networks," he said.
He made the remark during a meeting with heads of the western provinces in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province.
His comments coincide with a policy announced by the State Council on Monday to prioritize railway construction in the country's central and western areas as well as economically underdeveloped regions.
Li was on a three-day inspection tour in Gansu, which started on Saturday.
China will try to maintain sustainable economic growth and improve people's livelihoods in the next decade, and the central and western areas provide adequate room for further growth, Li said, adding that healthy economic development in the western region holds the key to the country's overall economic health.
"Differentiated policies" should be drafted for the western region, he said.
China's economic expansion has decelerated in recent years, with GDP rising 7.5 percent in the second quarter, down from 7.7 percent in the first.
Despite the economic slowdown, China has pledged to keep growth within a "reasonable range" without a stimulus.
The government has also vowed to push forward with reforms, as the nation faces problems including unbalanced growth in eastern and western areas, a wealth gap between rural and urban areas, industrial overcapacity and pollution.