Li: China maintains momentum in growth

By Wang Zhiyong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, April 2, 2012
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Despite having set a lower target growth rate of 7.5 percent, Vice Premier Li Keqiang said China maintains the momentum of economic growth.

"China's economic fundamentals are good and the momentum of economic growth has not changed," Li said "It has the ability to maintain stable, relatively fast economic growth in the long run."

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia annual meeting 2012 Monday in Hainan. [Wang Zhiyong/]

Li made the remark in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia annual meeting, which gathers government and business leaders on China's southern tropical island of Hainan.

The Chinese government had scaled back its economic growth target to 7.5 percent earlier this year, down from the 8 percent that the world's second-largest economy had maintained as a minimum growth target in the previous eight years.

Li said China will accelerate the shift of its economic base away from exports and investment, and move its focus to consumption and trade balance.

In the coming years, Li said China would strive to increase imports and strengthen the protection of intellectual property. The country would continue to deepen reforms of financial and capital markets, making them more market-oriented.

"China will treat domestic and foreign companies equally as it seeks to become a transparent and fair market," he said.

The country's top priority is to spur domestic consumption to maintain relatively strong economic growth, the vice premier said. "China's urbanization will provide the greatest potential for boosting domestic demand."

Continuing in his speech, Li said China would focus on improving the living standards of the Chinese people by extending healthcare coverage, providing low-income housing and expanding efforts to alleviate poverty. He said China would strive to increase people's income level at a same pace as the GDP growth rate, letting everybody to enjoy the benefits of the reform and opening-up.

At the end of 2011, half of China's population has become urban dwellers. Every percentage point increase of the nation's urban population translates to over 10 million people moving from into cities. "That's a great steam for China's long-run growth," Li said.

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Monday urged China to further reform its banking system and develop its capital markets to help the Chinese public's savings to benefit from the fast-growing economy.

"Capital market development is essential to the rebalancing of China's economy and essential to the prosperity," he said on the sidelines of the Boao Forum.

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson attends the Boao Forum for Asia annual meeting 2012. [Wang Zhiyong/]

Fan Gang, a Chinese policy expert, said he predicted that China's growth in 2012 to fall between 8.3 and 8.5 percent. In the last decades, China's actual growth rate has always been well above its goals.

Fan also said that much work was still needed for China's readjustment of its structure. Besides the economic fields, China should shrink its government operation cost. He said that in one of his researches, he found that government cost almost at all levels has been growing faster than the GDP. "That should be changed," Fan said.

Fan Gang, a renowned Chinese economist, attends the Boao Forum for Asia annual meeting 2012. [Wang Zhiyong/]

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