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Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps leads nation for foreign trade growth

  Northwest China's Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, transformed from military troops 51 years ago, did 2.76 billion U.S. dollars worth of foreign trade in the first 11 months of last year, posing a year-on-year rise of 68.5 percent.

  A spokesman for the bureau of commerce with the corps predicted that its total imports and exports would be sure to exceed 3 billion US dollars in 2005, and the increasing rate would be 52.3 percent, the highest among all provincial-level regions in the country.

  An overwhelming majority of the corps' foreign trade was made up by border trade with countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, said the spokesman.

  In the meantime, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps approved 17 new overseas investment projects ranging from textiles, food and beverages, planting and processing, to wholesale and retail business last year, up by 75 percent. It had an inflow of 46.41 million U.S. dollars of overseas capital in the same year.

  The central Chinese government decided to turn most parts of the military troops there into a production and construction corps shortly after founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

  Over the past 51 years, the corps, which shoulders the dual task of production and security, has transformed the vast bare wasteland into new oasis and built a number of modern towns, including Shihezi and Wujiaqu.

  To date, the corps has a population of 2.54 million, more than 1,500 enterprises and a complete system of education, scientific research, culture, health, finance and insurance.