Planners target 'hot spots'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 December, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 December, 1997, 12:00am

Seven economic 'hot spots' have been identified by state planners for priority development next year.

They are information technology, residential markets, the environmental protection industry, infrastructure development, industrial equipment, rural commercial markets and marine resources.

Reports from the annual national planning conference said business that could create jobs for the country's growing army of unemployed would be encouraged.

'But the fundamental solution to our unemployment problem remains state enterprise reform and raising the quality of our economic growth and efficiency,' the China News Service quoted a conference report as saying.

Planners also agreed on tasks for next year that mainly focused on strengthening the country's agricultural base and sharpening its technological edge.

They decided to cap low-tech industrial development and restrict investment in upmarket property projects.

Although they suggested maintaining an adequately tight financial policy, they considered it was important to maintain a certain flexibility in the belt-tightening exercise.

Planners warned against measures that would fuel inflation and suggested following a price reform policy that would keep price increases at a low and stable level.

The news agency said they focused on how to adjust the structure of the economy and on solving contradictions in demand and supply in the four-day conference that began last Thursday.

Planners at the meeting said the adjustment was crucial because it occurred at a time when the nation had shifted from a sellers' market to a buyers' one and when traditional industries were struggling to upgrade.

'The adjustment is about how to raise the quality of our national economy and is different from past adjustments which emphasised increasing output and quantity,' the planners' analysis said.

The adjustment was also vital because China would lose its international competitiveness if its businesses failed to rise from downmarket manufacturing to high-value production in the technological age.