4. Determinedly working to deepen reform and opening up, and strengthening the internal vitality of economic and social development
We gradually improved the system of transfer payments and set up a rudimentary mechanism for ensuring basic funding for county-level governments. We comprehensively carried out VAT reform. The reform of prices of refined oil products and related taxes and fees was implemented smoothly. Trials were launched for the reform of resource taxes, and the corporate tax systems for domestic and overseas-funded enterprises were unified.
The reform to convert large state-owned commercial banks to stockholding companies was smoothly completed, and the reform of policy-based financial institutions and rural credit cooperatives is well underway. We steadily resolved the issue of floating non-tradable shares of listed companies; successfully launched the ChiNext stock market; and introduced stock index futures and securities margin trading. The market for government bonds developed steadily. We deepened the reform and opening up of the insurance industry. Orderly progress was made in reforming the mechanism for setting the RMB exchange rate, and the trials of settling cross-border trade accounts in RMB were constantly expanded.
Positive progress was made in the reform to turn state-owned enterprises (SOEs) into stockholding corporations and the reform of the system for managing and overseeing state assets. We accelerated reform of the postal system. A series of policies were formulated and implemented to promote the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and encourage nongovernmental investment, the environment for the development of the non-public sector of the economy constantly improved, and economic entities under diverse forms of ownership developed side by side.
The breadth and depth of our openness to the outside world constantly increased. Total import and export volume grew by an average annual rate of 15.9%, and the structure of imports and exports constantly improved. Our trade surplus decreased for two consecutive years, and the year-on-year decrease was 6.4% in 2010. The utilization of foreign capital further improved. The pace of enterprises "going global" increased noticeably: outward foreign direct investment reached $220 billion and the total volume of contracts to build foreign projects and provide overseas labor services reached $335.2 billion.
We energetically participated in the reform of global economic governance and the development of mechanisms for regional cooperation, and our multilateral and bilateral economic and trade cooperation continued to deepen. The scale of our foreign aid continued to grow. Opening to the outside world strongly stimulated economic development and restructuring, increased employment, attracted advanced technology and managerial expertise, and greatly improved China's international standing.
5. Accelerating the development of social undertakings and genuinely ensuring and improving the people's wellbeing
We constantly worked to keep economic development in line with social development, and plan development with a view to improving the wellbeing of the people. We gave high priority to employment in economic and social development. We improved vocational training and employment services; helped college graduates, rural migrant workers and urban residents who have difficulty finding jobs to find employment; and helped ex-soldiers find jobs and settle down. We implemented the Labor Contract Law and the Law on Promoting Employment, raised minimum wages, and promoted harmonious labor relations.
We achieved breakthroughs in the development of the social security system for both urban and rural residents; basic pension insurance for urban workers was put under unified planning at the provincial level; a method was devised to transfer pension insurance coverage for workers moving to other provinces; and there was an average 10% increase per year over the last seven years in the basic pension for enterprise retirees. In addition, the trial of a new type of pension insurance for rural residents has been extended to 24% of all counties. We actively yet prudently carried out the reform of the pharmaceutical and healthcare systems, and completed a basic medical insurance system for non-working urban residents and a new rural cooperative medical care system, which benefit 1.267 billion urban and rural residents.
We achieved complete coverage of the subsistence allowance system; basically put in place an urban-rural government assistance program; and made continued progress in programs related to social welfare, preferential treatment and arrangements for entitled groups, charities, and people who are physically or mentally handicapped. Moreover, the national social security fund now stands at 781 billion yuan, over 580 billion yuan more than five years ago. We devoted great efforts to constructing low-income housing and redeveloping run-down areas, and as a result, 11 million poor households were able to move into new homes. We worked tirelessly to ensure everyone has access to old-age care, medical treatment, and housing.
We formulated and implemented the National Medium- and Long-Term Plan for Education Reform and Development. Government spending on education nationwide totaled 4.45 trillion yuan, and grew at an average annual rate of 22.4%. We made urban and rural compulsory education free so that all children of school age can receive an education at no cost. We fully implemented the system that links the salaries of teachers in compulsory education to their performance. Secondary vocational education was made free for students from poverty-stricken rural households and low-income urban households and students whose majors are related to agriculture.
We accelerated the implementation of the government financial aid system for students, and government investment increased from 1.8 billion yuan in 2006 to 30.6 billion yuan in 2010. The system was expanded from institutions of higher learning to secondary vocational schools and regular senior secondary schools, and has helped fund the education of 21.3 million students and provided living expenses for over 12 million students living on campus while receiving compulsory education. We accelerated the renovation of dilapidated primary and secondary school buildings in rural areas and the development of vocational education infrastructure. We improved the overall quality of higher education, and enhanced the innovation capacity of colleges and universities.
We formulated and implemented the National Medium- and Long-Term Plan for Scientific and Technological Development. The central government allocated 619.7 billion yuan for science and technology, an average annual increase of 22.7%, which resulted in a series of major achievements. Great efforts were made to improve the services provided by community-based medical and health care facilities. A special fund was included in the state budget to renovate or build 23,000 town and township hospitals, 1,500 county hospitals, 500 county traditional Chinese medicine hospitals, and 1,000 county maternity and childcare hospitals, as well as to build 2,400 community health service centers. We formulated and implemented the National Medium- and Long-Term Plan for Human Resource Development. We smoothly attained population planning objectives. Important progress was made in the reform of the cultural management system.
Development of the system of public cultural services noticeably accelerated, and the culture industry developed vigorously. Philosophy and the social sciences, the press and publishing, radio, film and television, and literature and art all flourished and advanced. The construction of urban and rural public sports and exercise facilities was accelerated, and the national fitness program has taken root. We comprehensively improved the legal system and smoothly implemented the fifth five-year plan to educate the public about the law. We made innovations in and strengthened the administration of society and maintained social harmony and stability.