China faces 'formidable challenges', says Li
Updated: 2015-03-05 10:30
By Li Xiang(chinadaily.com.cn)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a government work report on the opening day of the third session of the 12th National People's Congress in Beijing, March 5, 2014. [Photo/china.com.cn]
Structural problems have become "tigers on the road" holding up China's economic development, Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday, urging comprehensive reforms and transformation of growth model.
The difficulties China will encounter this year may be more formidable than those of last year, Li said in his report on the work of the government at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress.
"Growth in investment is sluggish...while there is no sign that the international market is about pick up significantly...Maintaining stable growth is becoming more difficult," Li said.
China lowered the target for GDP this year, setting it at around 7 percent while keeping consumer price index, a gauge for inflation, at around 3 percent, according to the report.
Li said the goal is sufficient to maintain enough jobs and is appropriate for China to upgrade its economy and achieve long-term prosperity.
The government also pledged to create more than 10 million jobs in the urban areas this year.
Li highlighted popular entrepreneurship and innovation as new engines to spur growth while pledging to increase supplies of public goods and services.
Encouraging people to start their own business is crucial for job creation and increasing personal income, Li said, adding that it will also help improve upward social mobility and equity.
Meanwhile, Li said that China will continue to implement proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy.
The government budget deficit for this year is projected at 1.62 trillion yuan, accounting for 2.3 percent of GDP, higher than last year's 2.1 percent. Broad monetary supply is forecasted grow at 12 percent, according to the report.
Li also vowed that the government will take a slew of measures to reform the financial sector so that it can better serve economic growth.
The government will broaden market access for private capital and encourage private investors are encouraged to establish small and medium-sized banks, according to Li.
Li said the government will further liberalize interest rate and make steady progress to make the yuan freely convertible under the capital account including setting up pilot program to allow individual investors to directly invest in overseas markets.
In the meantime, the government will continue to deepen reform of State-owned enterprises through mixed ownership and market-base orientation, Li said.
Regarding foreign trade, Li said the government will increase imports and exports by 6 percent. Beijing will also expand trials in cross-border e-commerce and increase the share of service trade in the country's foreign trade.
In Li's work report, fighting pollution continues to be a priority as the government pledged to cut energy intensity by 3.1 percent and reduce emission of major pollutants.
Li also reiterated zero tolerance for corruption, vowing to build a law-based and service oriented governance of the country.