|Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (L, front) shakes hands with a worker at a local under-construction sewage treatment plant in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Sept. 11, 2012. During an inspection tour of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region from Tuesday to Wednesday, Li Keqiang said developing the western regions is part of the country's efforts to stoke domestic consumption. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
BEIJING, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Vice Premier Li Keqiang has urged intensified efforts to develop the nation's vast western regions and deepen the opening-up of these areas.
During his inspection tour of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region from Tuesday to Wednesday, Li said developing the western regions is part of the country's efforts to stoke domestic consumption.
Li asked local governments to stabilize foreign trade, and encouraged companies to explore overseas markets, especially emerging ones, and keep pace with eastern and central China's manufacturing industries.
In his visit to a local under-construction sewage treatment plant, the vice premier said infrastructure projects including water and public transport systems are closely related to people's daily lives. "This is an effective investment project, which will help expand consumption."
Li called for more social capital to be invested in infrastructure projects, while asking local authorities to "increase returns on investment and avoid haphazard construction."
During his visit to a shanty town in the city of Shizuishan, Li pledged to renovate the areas and let the residents live in new buildings as soon as possible.
Shanty town renovation projects can not only improve housing conditions for poor people, but also stimulate consumption and investment, which will fuel economic growth, according to the vice premier.
He urged local governments to ensure quality construction and distribute low-income housing units to needy families fairly.