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Xi calls on Chongqing to promote high-quality development

Xi calls on Chongqing to promote high-quality development


Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visits an international logistics park in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, April 22, 2024. Photo :Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visits an international logistics park in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, April 22, 2024. Photo :Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed continued efforts to usher in a new stage in the development of China's western region, featuring well-coordinated environmental conservation, greater opening-up and high-quality development, when he chaired a symposium on promoting the development of Western China in Western China. new era in Chongqing Municipality, southwest China.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made an inspection tour in Chongqing from Monday to Wednesday. During his visit, he called on Chongqing to further deepen reform and opening-up at all levels and write its own chapter in the advancement of China's modernization.

These remarks and the inspection tour highlighted the great importance the top leader attaches to the development of the western region, which covers more than 70 percent of China's land area and is home to nearly 30 percent of the country's population. The region plays a vital role in China's pursuit of high-quality development and Chinese modernization, and holds great potential in various fields, economists said on Wednesday.

At Tuesday's symposium, Xi said China's western region has seen significant progress in eco-environmental conservation and restoration over the past five years, but the region's development still faces challenges. to difficulties and challenges, according to the Xinhua news agency.

The Chinese president said developing industries leveraging local strengths should be the main priority, adding that efforts are needed to adopt a region-specific approach in developing emerging industries and accelerate industrial transformation and upgrading. in the western region.

Highlighting the importance of greater opening-up, during his inspection tour in Chongqing, Xi also visited an international logistics park to learn about the municipality's efforts to accelerate the development of the new international trade corridor land-sea in western China, according to Xinhua.

The western region of China covers Chongqing, six provinces and five autonomous regions, including Sichuan in southwest China and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China, accounting for 21.5% of GDP Chinese. Although the region's development lags behind the country's eastern coastal regions, development has accelerated in recent years. Between 2019 and 2023, the region's combined GDP increased from 20.5 trillion yuan ($2.83 trillion) to 26.9 trillion yuan, with an average annual growth rate of 4.9 percent.

“Development in the western region has improved significantly in recent years in terms of infrastructure, industrial upgrading and people's livelihoods,” Hu Qimu, deputy secretary-general of the 50 Integration Forum, said on Wednesday. digital and real economies, at the Global Times.

In terms of industrial development, the western region has also experienced rapid development in recent years. The region is home to nine nationally strategic emerging industrial clusters in areas such as new materials and biomedicine, as well as five nationally advanced manufacturing clusters such as electronic information and aviation. The region's industrial added value increased from 5.8 trillion yuan in 2019 to 8.1 trillion yuan in 2023, according to official data.

Critical role, vast potential

Tuesday's symposium further highlighted the western region's crucial role in China's efforts to strengthen both security and development, as well as its enormous potential in areas such as advanced manufacturing and l high-level opening, economists said.

“The region's mission is not only to stimulate local industrial development, with many industries moving from the east to the west and to provide support in resources and other areas, but also to play a role more important in the country's opening-up efforts,” Dong Shaopeng said,” a senior researcher at the Chongyang Institute of Financial Studies at Renmin University of China told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Dong noted that there is still ample room for the western region to expand its opening-up by strengthening connectivity with countries and regions through land transportation corridors.

The Western region has developed multiple trade routes with countries and regions in Europe, Central Asia and Southeast Asia in recent years. The new international land-sea trade corridor, which connects China's western region with Southeast Asian countries, will be able to reach 490 ports in 120 countries and regions from January 2024, with cargo volume increasing by 21% over one year in 2023, according to a manager. data.

In addition, the western region also plays a crucial role in the China-Europe express freight train. Over the past five years, 35,000 China-Europe freight trains have been launched in the western region, accounting for 50.5 percent of the national total. With greater connectivity, the western region's total import and export volume reached 3.7 trillion yuan in 2023, an increase of 37 percent from 2019.

Greater connectivity and openness of the western region are of great importance to the country's efforts to expand high-level openness and strengthen both security and development, economists said.

“Although the capacity of land transport remains relatively low, its safety level is very high compared to maritime transport,” Hu said, noting that land transport corridors in the western region can better cope with geopolitical tensions. and provide a stable transport channel. of strategic resources in extreme circumstances.

Besides its great importance to China's long-term security and development, the western region is also crucial in the country's efforts to combat downward pressure and consolidate short-term economic recovery by boosting investment and domestic consumption, economists said.

“Whether from the perspective of responding to the international situation, or the overall coordination of development and security, or the current need to stabilize growth, it is imperative to stimulate the development of the western region,” Hu said, highlighting the huge potential in infrastructure investment and consumption in the region.

As the region's economic development has accelerated in recent years, infrastructure construction and consumption have also seen steady growth. For example, in the first quarter of 2024, Chongqing saw 4.4% growth in fixed asset investment, with growth of 16.7% in industries and 8.5% in infrastructure. Retail sales in the municipality also increased by 5.5 percent year-on-year, higher than the national growth rate of 4.7 percent, according to official data.




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