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East China province follows national trend and cuts GDP target

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JINAN, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- East China's Shandong Province has set a lower economic growth target for 2015.

At the annual meeting of the provincial legislature on Tuesday, Shandong Governor Guo Shuqing said that the province's annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth target would be lowered to 8.5 percent for 2015, from 9 percent last year.

Guo said that to even hit this target enormous effort was needed.

Last year, Shandong's economy grew at an annual rate of 8.7 percent, failing to meet the government's target. In the same year, China recorded 7.4 percent growth, its slowest in 24 years.

Like many other parts of the country, Shandong faces a great deal of downward pressure on its economy, with many lower-end manufacturers and heavy industries struggling and some regions finding it hard to cope with government debts.

Local authorities will continue to help ease excess capacity, relocate high-polluting factories in urban areas and encourage innovative policy to bolster the economy, Guo said.

The break neck growth of the past three decades was often achieved at the cost of the environment, increasingly a source of public outcry.

Over the past few years, measures have been taken to achieve quality growth while tackling pollution.

Last year, Shandong's average density of PM2.5, a major pollution indicator, fell 16.3 percent year on year, according to Guo.

Starting this month, many provincial-level regions will hold their annual legislative meetings, revealing GDP growth targets in their government work reports.

Most regions, including the southern bustling province of Guangdong, lowered their targets and Shanghai, the country's business and financial center, even scrapped it altogether.

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