China has policy tools to anchor economy, says Li

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Premier Li Keqiang greets the media as he attends a news conference in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. [China Daily]

China is set to achieve its annual economic growth target while pushing forward supply-side reform, Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday.

The country has policy tools in place to anchor the economy if "it slides below the appropriate range", he told a news conference.

Li said there is still ample room for investment to boost the economy — in the underdeveloped central and western regions, for example.

New growth engines will be cultivated to make up for the weakening role of traditional sectors in contributing to economic growth, he said.

"We will develop 'the new economy' — that is, we will foster new growth engines to help promote economic restructuring."

These new engines include not only emerging industries such as the Internet, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and e-commerce, but also state-of-the-art manufacturing, such as intelligent manufacturing and customized production, the premier said.

Traditional growth engines tend to weaken as an economy matures, which has happened in many countries, especially developed ones. This calls for new emerging industries, together with traditional sectors, to promote economic growth, he said.

China has seen an economic slowdown in the first two months of the year as growth in both industrial production and retail sales dipped.

Uncertainties in global markets, such as weak demand and financial market volatility caused by interest rate decisions taken by the US Federal Reserve this year, have also added pressure on China.

"The Chinese economy still has a lot of potential (for growth)," Li said. "There will be no hard-landing as long as the reforms continue."

China has decided to launch supply-side reform — an initiative to lower barriers to production through such measures as tax cuts and shedding overcapacity — to stimulate economic vitality.

The country will not falter in carrying out its reform agenda while ensuring that growth is not seriously affected, Li said. "One thing is for sure — we are determined to push ahead with our reform agenda."

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