By Feng Jianmin
BEIJING, Feb. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- Reform will be the top priority for the city this year, Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong said yesterday, with construction of the free trade zone the most important of 21 major missions.
“2014 is the year of reform,” Yang said. “Now that we’ve settled on the missions, the key will be whether we have the spirit of innovation, whether we can take on the responsibilities and take real action.”
He was speaking at a conference where the 21 missions were outlined. They ranged from economic reforms, promoting industrial innovation, lifting living standards, and improving government.
“Success is 10 percent planning and 90 percent implementation,” Yang said. “We must specify responsibilities for every task and every government department. All departments should clarify the route map, timetable and people in charge of every mission.”
Shanghai will spare no effort in construction of the recently established China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone with a focus on innovative regulatory systems that comply with international practices, according to a statement released after the conference.
The zone officially opened on September 30, and is seen as playing a key role as China transforms the world’s second-largest economy to a consumption-driven model from one relying on exports and investments.
Zone managers promised in January to role out detailed measures to further facilitate foreign investment, implement ground-breaking financial reforms including interest rate liberalization, and simplify a list of banned activities for foreign investment.
Shanghai is to accelerate building its financial, shipping and trade services to qualify the city as an international hub.
The city has also pledged to enhance the fight against air pollution, cut energy use, and improve the public hospital system.
The government will make information more transparent and rules simpler as it seeks to shift to a better management style, the statement said.
Yang said that there would be a focus on correcting “any empty talk, procrastination, negligence of duties, and ambiguity, in the way the city government operated.
“Tough measures must be taken against the responsible people for every problem we find,” he said.
Shanghai reported a stable GDP growth of 7.7 percent last year, equal to the national economic growth.
The structure of the city’s economy continued to improve as the service sector expanded 8.8 percent, and it gained 1.8 percentage points to account for 62.2 percent of the overall economy.
The city’s disposable income of urban residents jumped 9.1 percent to 43,851 yuan last year. More than 600,000 jobs were created, keeping unemployment at 4.2 percent.
Shanghai was the slowest in terms of economic growth among China’s provinces and municipalities in the past few years, but it was among the first to show signs of recovery in the first half of last year.
Yang pledged last month that Shanghai would continue to be a pioneer of reforms in China, with its focus being on the quality of growth rather than its speed.
(Source: Shanghai Daily)