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China Attaches Importance to Agricultural Work Next Year

The Chinese government will focus on infrastructure construction in rural areas and protecting arable land next year, according to an executive meeting of the State Council or cabinet presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao Friday.

"The agriculture sector is of crucial importance to economic development and social stability," noted the meeting.

The three-day Central Economic Work Conference that ended Wednesday cited a weak agriculture sector as one of the five key concerns of the government.

The government should raise investment in the agricultural sector by a large margin, secure grain supply, increase farmers' income and step up efforts to develop modern agriculture next year, said the meeting.

The other four major problems are overheating risks, inflation pressure, the arduous nature of energy conservation and emission reduction tasks and prominent issues on welfare of the general public.

The meeting also highlighted the importance of protecting arable land.

In a similar development, China is set to quintuple tax on the use of arable land for non-farming purposes starting from Jan. 1, 2008 in a bid to protect farm land and better control land supply, according to an ordinance released by the State Council recently.

The meeting also reviewed the draft decision by the State Council on adjustments of national holidays and leave on memorial days, which will take effect after further modifications.

(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2007)

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