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Wang Rong Makes Commitments to Foreign-invested Enterprises

Wang Rong, Member of Standing Committee of CPC Provincial Committee and Secretary of Suzhou Municipal Party Committee, visited a number of foreign-invested enterprises yesterday morning, extending New Year Greetings to them and collecting comment and suggestions on further improvement of investment climate in a pro-business approach. Wang called on concerted efforts from all quarters to build up the most favorable area for investment with high-level services and optimum gains for enterprises. He pledged that marked improvement would be seen in 2006 in power supply, HR availability, transport, and urban management, and that a better working and living environment would be created for investors in Suzhou. Present at the discussion and visit were Wang Jinhua, Deputy Secretary of CPC Suzhou Municipal Committee and Secretary of SIP Party Working Committee, Zhou Weiqiang, Member of Standing Committee of Municpal Party Committee and Vice-mayor of Suzhou, and other leaders of Suzhou Municipality.

Wang Rong and other municipal leader first paid a lunar New Year visit to the Japanese Canon (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. in Suzhou New District, giving warm greetings to the leaders and employees. They made a round of the plant to see the products, and made inquiries on the research and development. Then the group went to Emerson R&D (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., where they gave New Year greetings to the staff and visited the labs and compressor workshops. Wang expressed full support for the R&D projects, especially those environment-friendly projects, in policies and loan allocations.

Present at the following discussion were leaders from 20-odd enterprises, such as AU Optronics, Andrew Telecommunications, the Dow Chemical, and Sanyo Energy, etc. Many of the company leaders contributed their fast growth in the past few years to the highly efficient government service, adequate infrastructure, and the excellent investment climate, and made positive suggestions and comment on further improvement of investment climate.

The suggestions put forward by the foreign-invested enterprises boiled down in the following 3 aspects:

Firstly, the speed of customs clearance and logistics operation should be further raised. 20% of the air cargo from Hong Kong to Shanghai are received by AU Optronics, but if the goods failed to arrived in time due to bad weather or lack of cargo space, production would be adversely affected. A complement measure was therefore recommended that international air cargo be made available from Wuxi Airport. The leaders from Taiwan-invested electronics enterprises also called on increased cargo flights to ensure production since 25% of laptop computers around the world are being manufactured in Kunshan. The passenger flight from Shuofang Airport to Taiwan was started on Jan. 27, with only one flight daily, whereas there are more than 200,000 working expatriates and their families from Taiwan, and the tickets are hardly available during the lunar New Year holidays.

Secondly, attention should be paid to the training and recruitment of high-quality personnel for enterprises. The R&D department leaders of Emerson complained that it was hardly possible to find suitable candidates from the local institutions of higher learning for R&D projects of the enterprise, and the advanced vocational schools could meet only 25% of the demands for technicians. It was not rare that candidates chosen by enterprises eventually preferred working in Shanghai instead of Suzhou.

Thirdly, improvement needs to be made in power supply, transport, and social order. The leader of the Dow Chemical said that power failure, which seriously affected production, should be avoided as far as possible.  Leaders from Sumitomo Rubber and Canon Co. commented that public transport are falling behind the demand in the development zones, and many enterprises had to hire coaches for pickups of employees, which was unsafe. Train tickets posed as a big problems for workers from other parts of the country during the Spring Festival, and queuing for tickets during work shifts very often proved to be vain attempts. Assistance from departments concerned are needed to solve the transport problem.

The leaders of the departments concerned at the discussion gave immediate responses to the issues raised. Responsible members from the customs explained that reform was being carried out to break the limits of jurisdiction areas and to exercise unified management of all ports within the Yangtze delta region, which would greatly benefit the enterprises. The power supply department assured the enterprises that the problem of scanty supply would be basically solved this year and the level of management would be improved. The transport department told the attendants at the discussion that a major focus this year would be on the transport conditions in development zones and rural areas, and that highway transport would played a supplementary role during the Spring Festival holidays.

Wang Rong listened to the comment and suggestions of the enterprises in earnest, and promised that efforts would be made to meet the requirements of the enterprises. As for the airport, a consensus was already reached between the provincial and municipal governments to convert Shuofang Airport into South Jiangsu Airport, and to open up international flights. Education campaigns and strict management would be imposed to improve the awareness of the citizens in abiding by traffic regulations, apart from increasing transport facilities. Wang also told the enterprise leaders that issues concerning talents and R&D are a focus of attention on the part of the government. A series of measures would be taken to attract more talents with joint efforts of the enterprises, and related policies are being formulated, such as in funds and other areas, to encourage R&D enterprises, and to push forward the scheme of "made in Suzhou".

Jan. 27, 2006

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