Business / Economy

China 'still set for healthy growth'

By Li Xiang, Zhao Yinan (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-10 05:54

China 'still set for healthy growth'

Premier Li Keqiang talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday with representatives of the third summit of the Global CEO Council. [Photo by Wu Zhiyi / China Daily]

Premier Li meets heads of leading global companies

Premier Li Keqiang said China is confident of keeping its annual growth rate around 7 percent for a fair period of time by persisting with its reform and opening-up and tapping its huge potential.

While meeting with international business leaders on Tuesday, Li said conditions still exist for China to sustain its growth at a "medium-to-high level" despite the economy's current slowdown.

Li said he drew his confidence from the fact that large areas are yet to be developed in central and western China, reflecting the gap between the relatively industrialized coastal areas and those regions.

"If the Chinese economy could expand at around 7 percent this year, it would translate into an incremental volume of about $800 billion," he said.

The premier made the remarks when meeting with members of the Global CEO Council in Beijing. The council, an organization set up in 2013 by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, includes 14 global corporate leaders from the manufacturing, natural resources, energy, machinery, agriculture, finance, banking, pharmaceutical, aviation, engineering, logistics and information technology sectors.

Li admitted there will be "twists and turns" as foreign companies try to expand business in China, but he said China's opening-up into a better-integrated global economy will not be held back.

Foreign-invested companies in China should be one of the powers maintaining the medium-to-high growth of the Chinese economy, Li said. Additionally, in a bid to attract more foreign investors, the Chinese government will further open market access, provide better financial services and step up intellectual property rights protection, Li said.

"Sectors in high-end manufacturing and the service industry in particular will be opened wider to foreigners," he said.

Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and chief executive of Alcoa, the largest US producer of aluminum, said he looked forward to China's push to upgrade its economy. He added that he believed there are tremendous opportunities for his company to cooperate with China in automotives and aerospace, which are seeing increasing demand for lightweight metal and materials.

"Premier Li is a very distinguished economist and he has very valid views … And I think it is decently well understood that the current administration wants to change the pattern in China to have a more consumption- and innovation-driven and more value-added economy," he said.

Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive of US investment bank Goldman Sachs Group, said he anticipated further liberalization of the Chinese economy.

"Every day I wake up to another announcement about another liberalizing move. I think it is important for China to do so," he said.

Blankfein said that the idea of economic cycles, which China is not immune to, should be taken into consideration.

"China has achieved a very high growth rate at some cost … so growth has to be absorbed, mistakes have to be corrected and bad investments have to be written off in order to have another stage of rapid growth," he said.

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