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Chinese Vice Premier underscores growth target, int'l co-op amid crisis

Updated:2009-03-23 09:33:50

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang said here Sunday China is confident and capable of achieving its 2009 economic targets and will strengthen cooperation with the international community to fight the global financial crisis.

Despite the financial crisis impact that increased difficulties for economic operations, "the fundamentals of Chinese economy and its good outlook in the long term have not changed," said Li at the opening of the China Development Forum 2009.

China has set an 8-percent target for annual economic expansion this year after diminishing foreign orders dented exports and slowed growth to a seven-year low of 9 percent year-on-year in 2008.

To boost domestic consumption and growth, the government will exert itself to tackle issues of immediate concern to ordinary Chinese citizens such as employment, education, health care, housing and environmental protection, said Li.

The country will speed up the building of a social security system covering both urban and rural residents and gradually perfect the social safety net that guarantees people's basic livelihood, he said. "This helps adjust income distribution and raise people's spending capabilities."

In addition, Li pledged stronger moves in reforming pricing, taxation and financial mechanisms to remove "institutional barriers" on the way of development.

Reform plans must be well-implemented, said Li. They included an 850 billion-yuan (124 billion U.S. dollars) medical reform plan and a comprehensive value-added tax (VAT) reform to cut enterprise and individual burdens by approximately 500 billion yuan this year.

Li also promised to maintain a stable scale of foreign trade and use of foreign capital, saying China will further open up and make use of markets and resources both at home and abroad.

China's foreign direct investment fell for the fifth consecutive month in February to 5.83 billion U.S. dollars, down 15.81 percent year-on-year. Its foreign trade was 124.95 billion U.S. dollars last month, down 24.9 percent year-on-year.

"While managing its own affairs well, China is willing to join hands with other countries and play an active role in international cooperation against the financial crisis," said Li.

The continuous growth of China's economy not only concerns the wellbeing of 1.3 billion Chinese but is also a great contribution to the world economy, he told the forum.

He called on all countries to take actions together to promote future growth of the world economy, saying the crisis should bring about "profound thinking about the world economic development and the human kind's future destiny".

People of insight in all countries should dig the deep roots of the global financial crisis and explore effective ways of preventing the crisis from spreading and avoiding a replay of such crises, said Li.

The China Development Forum 2009 runs in Beijing from Saturday to Monday with the theme of China's Development and Reform in the Global Financial Crisis.



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