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Laid-off workers a priority as China cuts overcapacity, Premier says

By SU ZHOU | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-03-15 13:10

Helping laid-off workers find new jobs is the most important issue for China as it works to reduce industrial overcapacity, Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday.

"Last year, the central government set up a 100 billion yuan ($14.4 billion) fund to help workers and also asked local governments to set up similar funds," he told reporters after the close of this year's National People's Congress session. "Assistance has already been provided to 720,000 laid-off workers."

The premier said efforts to cut overcapacity will be extended this year to coal-fired power generation.

Together with the people who are still to be re-employed from 2016, he said China will need to help about 1 million workers this year.

"The key is to continue generating jobs," Li said. "Thanks to the initiative of massive entrepreneurship and innovation, many jobs have been created, while traditional drivers of growth have been upgraded, which is also generating job opportunities."

He pledged that China will continue to make effective use of central government funds and push local governments and companies to fulfill their social responsibilities.

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