December 26, 2016 / 2:54 AM / 9 months ago

China encourages industries to go west, protect environment

A farmer picks cotton from a field in Hami, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, China, November 1, 2012. REUTERS/China Daily/File Photo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will encourage labour-intensive manufacturing industries located along the eastern coast to relocate inland, it said in a new 2016-2020 plan to develop the economy of its western regions.

The country’s cabinet, the State Council, approved the western development five-year plan on Friday, according to a notice published by China’s official government website late on Sunday.

China’s rapid economic development over the past four decades has been skewed heavily towards the eastern coast.

Beijing has been trying to correct the imbalance not only in order to promote growth in politically crucial and energy-rich western regions such as Xinjiang and Yunnan, but also to ease environmental pressures in eastern regions, including the congested and polluted Yangtze and Pearl river deltas.

Premier Li Keqiang, who chaired the cabinet meeting, said China would continue to implement measures aimed at reducing the tax burden in the west to cut the cost of doing business.

He also said the west must promote new forms of urbanisation and industrialisation and pay attention to protecting the environment, particularly its scarce water supplies, which have constrained development in large parts of the region.

Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Eric Meijer

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