Leaders from nine provinces and two special administrative regions announced that they formed a regional economic policy forum to combat the economic dominance of Shanghai and the Yangtze delta. The Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Cooperation and Development Forum, which is supported by Beijing, has a population on par with the European Union and will focus on reducing inter-provincial trade barriers. It includes Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Regions, special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau and the provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Hainan and Sichuan. Analysts said that Beijing's support for the forum, which would have been difficult to imagine a decade ago, was made possible by national tax collection schemes implemented under Zhu Rongji which reduced the capital's dependency on the provinces for tax revenue.
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