The central government announced it intends to set up a special department devoted to revitalizing the struggling economy in Northeast China. The temporary department would be similar to ones set up to oversee the Three Gorges project, the western development program and the south-north water diversion project and is likely to be headed by Premier Wen Jiabao.
Jilin province is expected to see industrial profits rise as high as RMB 15 billion (US$1.81 billion) for 2003 – more than the total for the entire 1990-1999 period, according to the province's statistics bureau. The spectacular increase is a result of the booming auto sector, which is the main contributor to the expected 10% GDP growth for the region in 2003.
The three Northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin played a vital role in the country's industrial development from the 1950s to the early 1970s but the proportion of the region's industrial output value to the national total has dropped to 9% from 17% since the country began moving towards a market economy two decades ago.