Premier calls for deepened reform

Updated: 2013-04-15 01:30

By Hu Yuanyuan (China Daily)

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Vision needed to make policies for long-term issues, Li says

China should promote economic transformation and upgrading through deepened reform while maintaining stable economic development, Premier Li Keqiang said over the weekend.

Li made the remarks while presiding over a seminar on macroeconomics, foreign trade, finance and real estate attended by entrepreneurs, scholars and industry experts.

"Overall, the Chinese economy had a smooth start in 2013. But many uncertainties, both at home and abroad, still persist and make the overall situation quite complicated," Li said.

The consumer price index, the major gauge of inflation, grew 2.1 percent in March from a year earlier, compared with 3.2 percent in February, the National Bureau of Statistics said last week.

China's imports rose 14.1 percent from a year earlier, which trade officials attributed to stronger domestic demand. Meanwhile, exports grew 10 percent year-on-year despite still weak global demand, a performance that boosted officials' confidence they can achieve the 2013 trade growth target of 8 percent.

But the producer price index decreased 1.9 percent from a year earlier, reflecting operational difficulties and pressure on profit growth in the industrial sector amid weak market demand.

"To better grasp the curve of the economy, it is imperative to strengthen foresight," Li said, adding that this will be crucial for the sustained development of the economy.

Macroeconomic decision-making, according to Li, requires keeping a steady footing and eyeing long-term economic upgrades.

While effectively coping with short-term problems and maintaining stable growth, more effort should be made to improve the quality and benefits of development, with a focus on promoting economic restructuring and upgrading, expanding employment and increasing people's incomes, he added.

Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at the Industrial Bank, said government leaders have noticed short-term concerns but put more attention on long-term problems, especially the construction of a sound system.

"That makes us more confident in the country's development in the coming 10 to 20 years," Lu said.

Li said the impetus for sustained development lies in deepening reform, urging targeted policies to cure not only "symptoms" but deeply rooted problems in the economy.

"If temporary policies have to be carried out, they should not set up barriers for promoting market-based reform in the future," Li said, calling for making long-term effective policy arrangements to unleash the dividends of reform and boost the sustained development of the economy.