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City's new mayor 'fully confident’

Date: 2017/1/23 10:25:23

    SHANGHAI’S new mayor is “fully confident” about the city’s economic growth and says promoting reforms in the free trade zone and building strength in innovation are this year’s major targets.
    Ying Yong was elected mayor at yesterday’s session of the Shanghai People’s Congress.
    The 60-year-old has been the city’s deputy Party secretary since 2014 and executive vice mayor since September.
    His appointment followed the resignation of Yang Xiong, which was approved by lawmakers at Tuesday’s session. Yang, 63, was elected in 2013 and his term of office ended at this week’s SPC session.
    At a press conference following his election, Ying said: “What we want for Shanghai’s economic growth is good quality, high efficiency, optimal structure and sustainable increase. We are fully confident about Shanghai’s economic development.”
    He said the city’s GDP growth was 6.8 percent last year and the target for this year is set at around 6.5 percent.
    “This target incorporates factors including fiscal income and new jobs. It is active and appropriate,” Ying said. “Of course, to meet this target we have a lot of hard work to do.”
    Urban registered unemployment rate is to be kept below 4.4 percent, and public budgetary revenue is targeted to increase by 7 percent, compared to last year’s 16.1 percent growth.
    Overall research and development expenditure is to be kept above 3.8 percent as Shanghai builds its strength in technology.
    Ying pledged to further cut red tape with the city expanding a pilot program that separates business licenses from administrative permits.
    Ying said a total of 70 administrative approval items will be either simplified or eliminated this year, on top of 116 items streamlined last year.
    As part of the program, companies will be able to get businesses running without first obtaining administrative permits. He said Shanghai would work on further separating intermediate agencies, business councils, and trade associations from the government.
    Ying also said financial and institutional reforms carried out in Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone will continue in a prudent manner.
    In 2015, it was announced that 40 financial reforms would be tested in the zone. These include the liberalization of the capital account, expanding cross-border use of the yuan, continuing the opening-up of the financial service industry and accelerating construction of an international financial market.
    Ying also said the city will prioritize developing the Zhangjiang Comprehensive National Science Center as part of a mission to promote the city as a world-class innovation center.
    In building the city’s strength in innovation, Ying said the focus is to build the Zhangjiang center on the back of photon science and technology, life sciences, energy technology, artificial intelligence and other technological developments.
    He said the building of an innovation center with global influence is an important mission serving China’s development.
    Ying also said the city is formulating a guideline to regulate bike-sharing schemes.
    “Bike sharing is environmental friendly and makes it more convenient for local residents, but it also causes problems such as illegal cycling and parking which affects the city’s urban scenery,” the new mayor said.
    On air quality, Ying promised that residents would be able to see Shanghai’s “crystal sky” more frequently.
    “We have to be tough to accomplish the mission to curb the city’s air pollution,” he said.
    The average density of the city’s PM2.5 particles dropped to 45 micrograms per cubic meter in 2016 from 53 a year earlier. Heavily polluted days was also reduced to just two last year from eight in 2015.
    Emissions from vehicles and ships, power plants, coal boilers and dust from construction sites were the major causes to the city’s air pollution, Ying said.
    On health care, Ying said over 10 million residents now have family doctors, a scheme which will be further promoted.