Wen reiterates confidence amid economic gloom

Updated: 2011-12-21 06:50


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NANJING - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called for the country to maintain confidence that it can weather challenges amid a "complicated and tough" outlook of economic development.

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

Elaborating on the grim situation, Wen said the growth of China's exports has been slowing and the pace of the slowdown has accelerated, especially in the past three months. Meanwhile, the profit margin of the country's manufacturing industry has been squeezed and some enterprises have even fallen into the red.

He noted that the country is also facing shrinking external demand, rising costs and pressure from both slowing economic growth and high inflation, which makes macro-economic regulation more difficult.

Despite emerging challenges, however, the current momentum of China's economic development is "generally good," Wen said.

China's economic growth has been slowing all year but remains above the global average. 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 keep 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 country's western regions, and develop the international market, especially in emerging economies, he said.

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 also demanded efforts be made to encourage private investment in sectors such as railways, public facilities, finance, energy, education and health-care.

Furthermore, he urged banks to take concrete action in better serving the real economy and asked financial institutions to enhance support for enterprises while improving management in order to control the capital bubble and prevent risks.

Wen said the southern parts of Jiangsu should engage in a comprehensive development strategy to build the province into a forefront of the country's opening-up drive.