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FDI Grows 107.9% in Sichuan Despite Quake Impact

Foreign direct investment into southwest China's Sichuan Province grew 107.9 percent in the first half despite the impact of the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in May, the local authority said on Friday.

Foreign businesses invested US$1.8 billion in Sichuan from January to June, Sichuan Provincial Commerce Department statistics show.

The province approved 184 new foreign-funded businesses in the first six months, down 12.8 percent from a year earlier. But the contractual capital stood at 4.2 billion dollars, up 207.5 percent, statistics show.

The May 12 quake inflicted heavy losses to Sichuan, but the province's "productive capabilities, material foundation and economic fundamentals" did not suffer fundamental damages, a commerce department spokesman said.

"After the quake, many foreign businesses still pay attention to Sichuan's development, eye the investment environment here with optimism, and increase their investment," he said.

Representatives from about 60 multinationals issued a written proposal late last month after a two-day trip to the quake zone, calling for active participation in rebuilding Sichuan and creating more job opportunities there.

Kenneth Macpherson, managing director of Diageo Greater China, said Sichuan was recovering and developing, and the quake did not make him lose confidence in the province. He pledged to continue to invest in Sichuan.

The May 12 quake centered on Wenchuan County has left nearly 70,000 dead and more than 18,000 others listed as missing.

(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2008)

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