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China to invest 1.6 trillion renminbi in infrastructure projects

China plans to invest 1.6 trillion renminbi (RMB) (US$260 billion) in infrastructure projects in a bid to arrest the growth slowdown in its economy, International Business Times said11 Mar 2015

China will invest over 800 billion RMB in the construction of 8,000km of railway tracks and a further 800 billion in 84 water conservancy projects in 2015, the news site said, citing a work report submitted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the National People's Congress.

China already has 16,000KM of high speed railway track, International Business Times said.

The announcement also included measures to reduce red tape, facilitate public-private partnerships and reduce foreign investment restrictions, Xinhua, the Chinese state-owned news agency reported.

The government will build an additional 7.4 million new urban apartments for low-income residents and renovate 3.66 million substandard rural houses, Xinhua said.

China recently cut interest rates for the second time in two months, in an attempt to bolster the slowing economy, and lowered its growth target to around 7% in a move to a slower, hopefully more sustainable 'new normal' economy, Reuters reported.

Li warned that China may face more economic difficulties in 2015 than last year, with domestic investment, consumption and the international market all under pressure, Xinhua said.

Spending priorities will include agriculture, improvements to living standard improvements and environment protection, while the use of taxpayers' money will come under greater scrutiny. Li promised that the budgets and accounts of all levels of government would be made public, Xinhua said.

Government funds must be used to better to "maximise their effectiveness", rather than sitting idle, according to Xinhua.