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China to boost economic reform in key industries

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BEIJING, March 23 (Xinhua) - China's cabinet has decided to push forward economic reform in key sectors, including energy and railways, as part of the goals the current government promised to achieve before it completes its tenure.

The State Council said Thursday that it has approved a reform plan for 2012 mapped out by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The government will deepen pricing reforms for resource products and work on implementing tiered electricity pricing for residential users, as well as create a market-based refined oil pricing mechanism, according to a document posted on the State Council's website.

The government is working on detailed measures to encourage private businesses to enter the railway, finance, energy, telecommunications and education sectors, the document said, adding that more resources will be used to foster financial institutions that can serve the agricultural industry and small-sized businesses.

China's interest rate formation mechanism will become more market-directed and a new stock issuance and retreat system will be improved, the document said.

The document said the creation of a reform plan for the railway sector is under way.

In the wake of global turbulence and pressing domestic demand for economic restructuring, China lowered its GDP growth target to 7.5 percent this year after keeping it around 8 percent for seven consecutive years,

By setting a slightly lower GDP growth rate, China hopes to achieve "higher-level, higher-quality development over a longer period of time," Premier Wen Jiabao said at the opening of China's annual legislative session earlier this month.

Analysts said slower growth targets leave room for deepening economic reforms, which they believe are vital for sustaining China's economic boom.

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