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Wen: China to further deepen reform and opening-up
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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Saturday China would continue to further reform and opening-up "through theentire process of modernization drive."

Wen made the remark in a speech delivered at the opening ceremony of 2008 Summer Davos in north China's Tianjin Municipality. The two-day Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2008organized by the World Economic Forum has drawn some 1,400 participants, including business executives, officials and scholars from nearly 90 countries and regions.

"The reform and opening-up brought a fundamental change to the closed, backward and ossified situation that existed in China for years," he said in his speech titled "Reform and Opening-up - the Eternal Driving Force for China's Development".

The country kicked off the reform and opening-up scheme exactly30 years ago, when the country was in a "closed or semi-closed state" with the economy "on the brink of collapse".

The shift from a highly centralized planned economy to a socialist market economy has helped the country to achieve 30 years of continued fast growth. Statistics showed that China's GDPcontributed to more than 5 percent of the world's total last year,up from a much smaller proportion of about 1 percent in 1978.

Wen said the country's changes over the past three decades would not have been possible without reform and opening-up.

But the economy and society still faced some problems that cannot be neglected, including development imbalances between urban and rural areas as well as regional differences, the extensive growth pattern of the economy and the pressure from population, resources and environment. "Corruption is also a serious problem," Wen said.

He said the solution to these issues depended on continued commitment to reform and opening-up.

The country would continue to deepen economic reform and promote political restructuring, and at the same time "deepen and broaden opening-up" to achieve the intended goals, the premier said.

At the current stage, it was particularly important to accelerate reform of the price-setting mechanism of resource products, and further deepen reform to build the shareholding system in state-owned enterprises, he said.

The government would also better public finance and transfer payments systems, push forward reform of value-added tax, improve compensation systems for use of resources and damage caused to theecosystem, and carry forward reform of the resource tax system, headded.

Wen said the country would promote stable and sound developmentof the capital market. "We will improve the RMB exchange rate regime and gradually make the RMB convertible under capital accounts," he added.

There have been persistent calls from the country's trading partners to demand appreciation in the Chinese currency, as they said the "undervalued" currency had given Chinese exporters an advantage over others.

The premier also pledged to improve democracy and the legal system through reform endeavors in the political area, and to protect democratic rights of citizens and achieve social equity and justice.

"We will create conditions that allow people to criticize and supervise the work of the government more effectively," he said. "We must ensure that our education system can meet the needs of thepeople, and every child can afford to go to school and receive good education."

China would also further improve the social security system covering both urban and rural areas at a faster pace, he added.

The country would remain actively involved in economic globalization, and continue to play a constructive role in the international trade system, he said.

He also promised to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights and provide a better environment for foreign businesses inside the country.

(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2008)

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