Li delivers economic reform vow

Updated: 2014-01-18 00:39

By ZHAO YINAN (China Daily)

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Concrete policies and tangible results on the way, premier says

Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Friday that China will launch concrete policies and obtain tangible results in economic reform this year.

He told economists and business leaders that to keep the economy running within “a well-defined reasonable range” the country will continue to use the strategy that helped it to maintain growth momentum last year.

Li made the remarks at a seminar where the government sought opinions from experts and corporate leaders on the State Council's annual Government Work Report.

He is expected to deliver the report, which wraps up his work in the first year as premier and maps out major economic policies for 2014, at the session of the National People's Congress, the top legislature, usually scheduled for March.

China won't release its 2014 economic targets until they are approved by the NPC.

But Chinese economic officials agree that the so-called reasonable range would mean, in year-on-year terms, a rise in gross domestic product growth of above 7 percent, inflation no higher than 3.5 percent, not too rapid an increase in credit expansion, and moderate growth in foreign trade.

The Beijing-based National Academy of Economic Strategy, a division of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, recently forecast that the nation's GDP growth will rise to 7.8 percent in 2014, slightly up from the 7.6 percent expected for 2013.

A combination of proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy, which worked in 2013, will be maintained in 2014, the academy said.

Some economists pointed out that China is still facing downward pressure on growth, inflationary risk and difficulty in industrial upgrading.

Li welcomed their suggestion that under such circumstances the government should improve efforts on reform and in fine-tuning its macro-economic policies.

Li said China will make a careful study of upside and downside factors at home and in the global economy and seek experts' views on general trends and emerging phenomena.

The Chinese leadership announced a comprehensive reform plan in November at the Third Plenum of the Communist Party of China's 18th Central Committee.

Since then, expectations have been running high as to how these initiatives will be carried out.

Li said the focus of China's economic reform in 2014 is to rebalance the relationship between the government and the market.

He said China will “remove misplaced government functions” to control matters that the authorities should have controlled but failed to do so.

Such action will build up the regulatory environment for fair competition in the marketplace, the premier said.