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Report: 10% of GDP Comes from Sea

China's seas generated 2.09 trillion yuan (US$270 billion), or just over 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) last year, according to a report on the country's marine economy in 2006.

The report, issued by the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), said last year's output value of marine industries, including fishing, transport, oil and gas exploitation, tourism and shipbuilding, rose 13.97 percent year on year. The growth rate was 3.3 percentage points higher than that of the country's economy.

The main pillar supporting the rapid growth of the marine economy was the development of a regional economy along the coastline, said the SOA.

The gross production by the Yangtze River Delta Region and Bohai Bay Rim Area each grew more than 650 billion yuan (US$83 billion), with the regions' combined output values accounting for about two-thirds of the national total.

He Guangshun, deputy director of the National Ocean Information Center, said that the marine economy was currently above the world average.

There has been a strengthening of the capability of China's harbors, and the country now has half of the world's top 20 international facilities.

The marine industry employed 29.6 million people last year, 1.8 million more than in 2005, the report said.

But He said there is still plenty of room for growth.

"This is the first time statisticians have adopted the methodology of GDP accounting to describe the growth of the ocean economy," Wang Dianchang, director of the policy, laws and regulation department of the SOA, said.

In the new accounting process, the output value of ocean-related industries and marine education, research and development, management and service have been added to the traditional economy of oceanic industries, Wang said.

"The reform was necessary for the further development of the marine economy," Wang said. "The updated accounting system is expected to improve the management of marine resources."

The report also included figures for the marine economy's development from 2001 to 2005, saying that the output value of marine industries increased at an annual rate of 18 percent from 930 billion yuan (US$119 billion) in 2001 to 1.8 trillion yuan (US$231 billion) in 2005.

China has more than 4 million sq km of sea areas, and more than 1,400 harbors and 210,000 cargo ships.

(China Daily April 10, 2007)

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