Growth focus

Updated: 2016-03-11 08:08

By Andrew Moody(China Daily Europe)

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Growth focus

Premier Li's assertion dispels negativity about Chinese economy and charts clear direction

The Chinese premier's insistence that China was not giving up on growth swept away much of this year's negative sentiment about the world's second-largest economy.

Li Keqiang made clear in his keynote speech delivering the Government Work Report to the National People's Congress in Beijing on March 5 that the country had no alternative but to "forge ahead".

"The next five years is an important period to overcome the middle-income trap and there will be many challenges and risks," he said.

"We have to focus on economic development without any hesitation and push ahead with development in a scientific way and deal with the challenges properly."

The premier set a target for 2016 growth of between 6.5 percent and 7 percent, using a band rather than a precise point for the first time in more than 20 years as the goal.

He also indicated that fiscal policy would be an important instrument to drive growth with the central budget deficit target being raised from 2.3 percent to 3 percent - the highest since the formation of the People's Republic of China in 1949 and deficits first being allowed in 1979.

The premier also placed major emphasis on supply-side structural reforms and, in particular, the biggest shake-up of China's state-owned enterprises since that of former premier Zhu Rongji in the 1990s.

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