Wen calls for confidence in economy

Updated: 2011-12-21 08:02

(China Daily)

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SUZHOU, Jiangsu -Premier Wen Jiabao has appealed for confidence in the country's economic development while warning against a "complicated and severe situation" facing the Chinese economy.

"Chinese economic growth has maintained good momentum in general but still faces some new circumstances and new problems," Wen was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency during his visit to East China's Jiangsu province.

"We should see favorable conditions strengthen our confidence but also realize the complicated and severe situation to get ready to address difficulties and challenges.

"As in 2008, we are now encountering difficulties which can be overcome through hard work," Wen said during his tour of eastern Jiangsu province on Sunday and Monday.

Wen's comments came a week after the country's annual central economic work conference, which set economic policy guidelines for the coming year.

China will seek stable and relatively fast economic growth in 2012 amid the "extremely grim and complicated" global outlook, according to a statement issued after the closure of the three-day meeting.

In Jiangsu, Wen toured companies and organized six seminars with local officials and entrepreneurs in Changshu, Kunshan and Suzhou.

Wen pointed to declining exports and shrinking profits in the manufacturing sector to highlight the severe situation facing the Chinese economy.

The premier also stressed that the combination of weak external demand and rising costs as well as the co-existence of slower economic growth and high prices add to the difficulty for macro-control.

China's economic growth has been slowing all year. Its GDP growth slowed to 9.1 percent in the third quarter from 9.5 percent in the second quarter and 9.7 percent in the first quarter.

To tackle the challenges, Wen said, the country will boost domestic demand while stabilizing external demand and keeping its export policies such as export tax rebates "basically stable" in the coming year.

Efforts should also be made to enhance domestic enterprises' competitiveness, promote the transfer of industry to the western regions, and develop the international market.

He said China will stick to, and further improve upon, the opening-up policy and welcome foreign enterprises to invest in the country, adding that the country will protect intellectual property rights and implement a fair and open bidding approach in terms of government procurement.

Wen demanded efforts be made to encourage private investment in sectors such as railways, public facilities, finance, energy, education and healthcare. He also called for more financial support for the private sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.

China Daily-Xinhua

(China Daily 12/21/2011 page2)