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Hu: Stable growth tops economic agenda
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Chinese President Hu Jintao said Friday the top priority of the country's 2009 agenda on economic development is to maintain a "stable and relatively fast growth", amid the grim global economic downturn.

"We will ensure a quality and fast growth of the national economy next year," Hu said while sitting down with personages outside the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) to seek their advice on the country's economic development.

He said the country would pursue an "all-round and sustainable" growth that stresses both quality and efficiency.

The world's fastest growing economy saw its growth slow sharply to nine percent year on year in the third quarter, the slowest pace in five years, as a result of slower export and investment growth.

The president said the country would continue to practice "active" fiscal and "moderately loose" monetary policies next year, and would in the meantime strengthen and improve macro controls according to changing conditions.

Such proactive policies is a transition made earlier this month against adverse global economic conditions from the earlier "prudent" fiscal and "tight" monetary policies aimed at curbing inflation and averting overheating.

He stressed the importance of boosting domestic demands, saying the country would bring consumption to play a bigger role in driving the economic growth, and the expansion of consumer spending would receive more prominent emphasis.

China would also increase its investment in rural areas, agriculture, and farmers "by a large extent" to guarantee the development of the agricultural sector and ensure the output of grain and other farm produce, according to the president.

Hu said the country would continue to promote economic restructuring. China has been working to reduce its heavy reliance on exports and investment over the past years.

"The country needs to take the challenges of the ongoing global financial crisis as opportunities to accelerate industrial restructuring to create new growth and foster other competitive edges," he said.

China would continue with its reform and opening up, Hu said. "The country will lose no chance to introduce reforms that can promote the development at the right time, and will take note of bringing the market into full play in allocating resources."

The country would actively develop the export-oriented sector and step up the diversification of exporting markets, Hu added.

He also said the country would stick to improving people's living conditions and building a stable society. The country would adopt "more active" employment polices next year, Hu said.

He pledged to improve urban and rural social security systems and vowed intensified efforts in supervision and inspection of food, drug and work safety.

"The country has great potential in economic development and has also accumulated strong capabilities to withstand risks over the past 30 years of reform and opening up," Hu told the non-Communist people.

The non-CPC personages said they endorsed the CPC and government's judgement on current situation as well as plans on next year's economic development. They also offered suggestions on economic issues such as the fight against the financial turmoil, and macro control measures.

(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2008)

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