Li plots course ahead

Updated: 2013-09-11 08:31

By DING QINGFEN in Dalian, CHEN JIA in Beijing, CHEN WEIHUA in Washington and CHEN JIA in San Francisco (China Daily)

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China will strive to generate more jobs in coming years by launching additional reform policies and placing greater emphasis on the service sector's role, Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday.

Li highlighted the government's task of assuring people's livelihoods, saying this to a great extent means providing jobs.

The premier's remarks came as he met a group of global business executives before the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2013, or the "Summer Davos", in Dalian.

Li stressed that China is able to tackle difficulties and challenges in the course of its economic development, as reform can release the "biggest bonus" to boost the market's vitality.

Instead of taking short-term stimulus measures to bolster the economy, China has focused on reform polices and economic restructuring to boost growth, with these measures having some effect.

Main economic indicators such as the Purchasing Managers' Index have suggested positive signs, the premier said.

The manufacturing PMI, which reflects factory production activity, rose to 51 in August from 50.3 in July, indicating the fastest expansion of the industry in 16 months.

Li said China will be able to achieve long-term and healthy growth based on three basic factors: huge potential for domestic demand in the industrialization and urbanization process; reform to eliminate obstacles in the government management system; and improvement in growth quality and efficiency based on increasing people's incomes and consumption.

Li said the government will adopt a long-term, proactive employment policy, accelerate the service industry and promote occupational training to keep the labor market stable.

"For the government, the top priority is to ensure sufficient employment," he said.

On Monday the Financial Times published an op-ed piece by Li where he laid out a roadmap for China's economy in the coming years. The Chinese economy "will maintain its sustained and healthy growth and China will stay on the path of reform and opening up", wrote the premier.

Bob Berring, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said the Chinese premier set out quite an "ambitious" agenda.

"While it is easy to point to the challenges that China faces in the future — as all major nations are challenged — Li has put the world on notice of China's plans," said Berring. "Transparency and realism reside in this ambitious construct. China is trying to prepare for the future."

Li emphasized that reform remains the "driving force" and China will continue to streamline government and delegate power, press ahead with structural changes and grow economic sectors under diverse ownership. "Government will leave to the market and society what they can do well while concentrating on those matters within its purview," noted Li.

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