(2017-03-08)China's Shanxi province wants to cut its reliance on coal and develop other industries such as information technology and clean energy this year, senior provincial officials said on Tuesday.
Luo Huining, Party chief of Shanxi province and a deputy to the National People's Congress, said the provincial government will shift its developing priorities to new growth engines including the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the development of China's central and western regions and the Belt and Road Initiative.
Luo said: "We will expand our market share in manufacturing machinery, clean energy, industrial materials and agricultural products to both the domestic and global markets, in particular to countries in Africa and Southeast Asia."
The province has already set a target to invest up to 414.4 billion yuan ($60.08 billion) in more than 900 projects related to digital economy, high-end manufacturing equipment and pharmaceutical products between 2015 and 2017 to carry out supply-side reforms.
Supply-side reforms include a series of policies to improve the manufacturing and agricultural sectors, public services, increase environmental protection, maximize the quality and scale of production, and further opening-up of Chinese markets to foreign investors.
Wang Fu, vice-governor of Shanxi province and another NPC deputy, said: "To accelerate the economic structural adjustment, the provincial government will also encourage more private companies to venture into telecoms, energy and transportation infrastructure projects through the public-private partnership model."
To prevent potential risks caused by excessive mining and the low price of coal globally, Shanxi has closed 25 coal mines and cut total production capacity to 23.25 million metric tons in 2016.
The authority will not approve any new coal mine projects and plans to cut production capacity up to 100 million tons by 2020.
The National Development and Reform Commission posted a statement online on Tuesday, saying China plans to cut coal production capacity by 150 million tons in 2017.
The figure has slightly decreased from 2016 to ensure a sufficient supply of coal. The price of coal will be monitored to prevent abnormal fluctuation.
Ding Rijia, a professor at the China University of Mining and Technology in Beijing, said: "Local governments need to balance the relations between their local supply and demand, in case of the gap caused by the sudden cut and the inadequate supply of alternatives."