XI'AN, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang urged local governments Tuesday to accelerate industrial restructuring and development in western regions and boost domestic consumption to offset the impact of the global downturn.
Li made the remarks during an inspection tour of the country's northwestern Shaanxi Province, which ran from Sunday to Tuesday.
He urged local authorities to take measures to achieve smooth, relatively rapid economic growth this year. He urged the Chinese people to be confident in coping with uncertain times.
"Equipment manufacturing is a sector of strategic importance. Local governments should do more to implement industry stimulus plans, promote innovation and build up large domestic companies," he said.
Li urged companies to develop new technology, new products and foster new industries to become more competitive.
He also called on local governments to sincerely apply policies aimed at helping farmers buy household appliances to stimulate consumption, as potential demand in western and rural areas was huge.
As of Feb. 1, China's more than 900 million farmers became eligible for subsidies equal to 13 percent of the price of designated home appliances. The subsidy was originally offered in a pilot program in three provinces in 2007.