Chinese economy to maintain sustained, healthy growth: premier

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The Chinese economy would maintain its sustained and healthy growth and China would stay on the path of reform and opening up, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wrote in an article published in the Financial Times Monday.

Under the headline "China will stay the course on sustainable growth," Li sought to dispel fears China's economic slowdown will lead to a sharp decline - or even a hard landing - and whether China's reform program will be derailed by complex social problems.

"Shortly after it took office in March, the new Chinese government made clear its policy was to sustain economic growth, improve people's well-being and promote social equity," Li wrote.

And the Chinese government would take a "holistic" approach in pursuing steady growth, structural readjustment and further reform rather than continue with the old model of high consumption and high investment, he wrote.

Referring to reform as the driving force, Li said China would continue to streamline government and delegate power, press ahead with structural changes and grow economic sectors under diverse ownership.

"We will advance reforms of administrative management, fiscal and tax systems, financial sectors and pricing," he wrote. ' Stressing the role of opening up in facilitating development, the Chinese premier pledged to "explore new ways to open China to the outside world."

"We will continue to support the Doha round of World Trade Organization talks, work for the signing of bilateral free trade agreements, upgrade the China-Asean Free Trade Area, and provide a level playing field and a better legal environment for foreign investors," he wrote.

Li identified the expansion of domestic demand as a key focus on China's path toward sustained and healthy growth.

He pointed out China's 1.3-billion population made up a huge domestic market and urbanization offered huge potential for long-term domestic demand.

While focusing on consumption, Li also proposed maintaining a reasonable scale of investment, with priority given to energy conservation, environmental protection, railway projects in the central and western regions, and municipal facilities.

The Chinese premier was aware of the difficulties in the process of urbanization, in which more than 100 million people are set to be absorbed into cities over the next decade or so.

"This will be an extremely complex process of economic and social change, requiring a new policy approach aimed at balanced development," he wrote.

On measures adopted to avoid excessive economic fluctuations, Li said the Chinese government had defined the "upper and lower limits" of the reasonable range of economic performance.

"With a gross domestic product growth rate of around 7.5 percent, the 'lower limit' is intended to ensure steady growth and employment," he wrote. "With the consumer price index at around 3.5 percent, the 'upper limit' is meant to prevent inflation."

In his article, Li expressed confidence in Asian countries' ability to avoid financial risks.

"Asian countries have learnt the lessons from the past and significantly enhanced their capabilities to fend off risks," he wrote. " China is confident that Asian countries are now better placed to cope."

The Chinese premier also stressed China's role as a responsible power on the world stage.

Though a developing country with a "myriad of tasks and challenges," Li wrote, China would "assume greater responsibilities and obligations in international affairs commensurate with its own conditions." Endi

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