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and China stands ready to be a responsible country with all these proacti〓ve measures," he said. The government will reform on its own services to cut red tape an〓d regulate emerging sectors or business models, Li said. He also promised that China wil〓l make adjustments in fiscal, financial and investment areas to guide support towards the〓 real economy, deepen reforms in state-owned enterprises and give private firms more acce〓ss to the market. BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Numerical targets to reduce coal and steel produ2


ction capacity have〓, for the first time, been set in the annual Chinese government work report. China will reduce〓 steel production capacity this year by around b


50 million metric tons and shut down at least 15〓0 million metric tons of coal production facilities, Premier Li Keqiang said Sunday in a govern〓ment work report to the fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress. Last year's gove〓rnment work report promised capacity-cutting in the two industries, but did not specify targets〓. In 2016, the country reduced coal capacity by 290 million metric tons and steel capacity by 〓65 million metric tons for steel, said the premier. Continued capacity reduction8

is in line wi〓th market expectations. DIFFICULT CUTS China is the world's largestE

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producer and consumer of 〓steel and coal, but gluts can have implications such as depressed commodity and materials price〓s, reduced profits of debt-ridden firmsE


, and increased non-performing loans that jeopardize fin〓ancial stability. While capacity cuts are necessary and have long-term benefits for the econom〓y, the process has not been without challenges. Capital-intensive industries present potential〓 investment, taxation and jobs for local governments, which in at least two cases broke capacit〓y-cutting rules set by the central government. Huada Steel in eastern China's Jiangsu Province〓 and Anfeng Steel in northern China's Hebei Province were identified by authorities in December〓 for violating capacity reduction efforts in the sector with "extremely bad influence." Thanks〓 in part to the efforts, China's bron

ader economic growth has showed increasing signs of stabili〓zing since the latter half of last year, with indicators such as factory prices and industrial 〓profits seeing significant improvements. "Overall, the negative impact on growth and employmen〓t is manageable," wrote UBS economist Wang Tao in a note on excess capacity. ZOMBIE ENTERPRISE〓S NEXT One key initiative in excess capacity reductions is to shut down "zombie companies," wh〓ich are loss-making, debt-laden, and dependent on government subsidies or bank loans. "We will〓 strictly enforce all laws, reguk

lations and standards on environmental protection, energy consu〓mption, quality, aL

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nd safety and make more use of market- and law-based methods as we work to ad〓dress the problems of 'zombie enterprises'," said the premier in the government work report. F〓or workers laid off because of capacity cuts, the central and local governments will allocate s〓pecial funds and take measures to ensure they find new jobs, Li said. CHANGSHA, Feb. 14 (Xiy


nhua) -- Nine people have been ki◆lled in an explosion in a coal mine in central China'◆s Hunan Province. The entrance of Zubao Coal Mine ◆where a blast occurred is seen in Lianyuan City, cent◆ral China's Hunan Province, Feb. 14, 2017. At least e◆ight people were confirmed dead after the blast hit t◆he coal mine at 1:371

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