October 18, 2016 / 11:37 AM / a year ago

China premier reaffirms support for flagging northeast

BEIJING, Oct 18 (Reuters) - China will rely on policy support and reform steps to drive the rejuvenation of its flagging northeast rustbelt, state radio quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying on Tuesday.

The government will take steps to spur private investment and “nurture new growth points in consumption” to help stabilise growth in the region, Li was quoted as telling a regular cabinet meeting.

“Policies and fiscal funds will tilt towards promoting employment and safeguarding pension payments,” Li said.

China has already rolled out a plan to revive its struggling northeastern provinces over the next three years, including 127 major investment projects, according to state media.

Provincial authorities must promote innovations, deepen reforms of state-owned firms and support public-private partnerships (PPP) in investment projects, Li said.

The northeast, made up of the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang, as well as the region of Inner Mongolia, has struggled to cope with resource depletion and an economic downturn that has devastated sectors like coal and steel.

Liaoning’s economy dipped 1 percent in the first half of 2016 from a year earlier, while economic growth in Heilongjiang was 5.7 percent and that in Jilin was 6.7 percent, according to local media.

China’s economy expanded 6.7 percent in the first half. (Reporting by China Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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