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China to give private investment price preferences

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BEIJING, July 5 (Xinhua) -- China's top economic planner said Thursday it will offer preferential energy and water prices to encourage private investment in public utilities projects.

The government will "implement supportive price policies for public utilities, such as urban water and gas supply and heating, low-income housing, railway and medical care, to fully mobilize the initiative of private capital entering those areas," the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement.

This will be done through deepening reforms of the pricing mechanisms for electricity, natural gas and water supply, the NDRC said.

It also vowed to take more forceful measures to reduce or exempt fees and charges on enterprises, regulate the pricing of financial services and make pricing and charging information more transparent to provide a better environment for private firms.

The move, part of government efforts to spur a slowing economy, came after the country opened its gates to private capital in state-dominated sectors including transport, finance, insurance and low-income housing in recent months.

Earlier this week, the central government pledged to strengthen guidance, beef up financial support and simplify customs clearance procedures to help private companies to invest abroad.

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