China Seeks $320 Billion for Campground, Sewer Systems

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China issued a call for private investment in nearly 2 trillion yuan ($322 billion) worth of projects including garbage-treatment plants and sewers under a push to boost demand and revive economic growth.

The National Development and Reform Commission listed 1,043 public-private partnerships for investment on its website Monday, complete with contact information for each project. They include a 50 billion yuan subway line in Beijing and a 20 million yuan center to handle medical waste in the southwestern city of Guilin.

The announcement adds details for a public-private partnership initiative that Finance Minister Lou Jiwei promoted to curb lending to local governments while supporting much-needed infrastructure. Growth in China’s fixed asset investment slowed to 12 percent in the first four months of 2015 from 17.3 percent a year earlier, and the economy is projected to grow at 7 percent, the slowest since 1990.

China’s State Council said last week it would encourage such partnerships for public housing as well as for energy, transport, water-conservation, education and other sectors as it tries to replace government debt with private debt.

The PPP model’s ability to shore up investment and tame local governments’ debt load depends on private companies’ willingness to participate. The NDRC is also considering whether to relax limits on local government financing vehicles securing loans for infrastructure investment.

While many of the investment projects listed by the NDRC are linked to roads, schools and hospitals, some may raise eyebrows. In Jiangsu province, the city of Yangzhou is seeking 500 million yuan for a camp ground with hot springs, 100 recreational-vehicle parking spots and 20 wooden houses.

— With assistance by Xiaoqing Pi

(Corrects to billion in headline and first paragraph.)
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