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'Rapid growth' expected this year
By Xu Binglan (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-08 05:55

China is facing favourable internal and external conditions in 2006 for another year of rapid growth, said economists participating in the annual plenary session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee (CPPCC).

To ensure sustainable growth in the long-term, the country needs to address fundamental institutional problems, such as excessive government intervention in economic activities, to promote a market-oriented approach in economic management, the economists said yesterday at a press conference.

Qiu Xiaohua, a CPPCC member and deputy commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics, said domestic factors concerning economic growth are in "good shape."

Investment, exports and domestic consumption, which worked as the main engines driving the Chinese economy in recent years, will continue to grow steadily, supporting the entire economy on the fast track, he said.

China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 9.9 per cent in 2005. This year's target is 8 per cent, according to Premier Wen Jiabao's government work report.

Qiu said the problem of the short supply of oil, coal and electricity, which troubled growth in the past few years, has been eased thanks to government macro adjustment measures.

"This, together with a bumper grain harvest for two consecutive years, has created a relaxed environment for the stable growth of our economy," he said.

The global economic environment is also said to be positive despite high oil prices and uncertainties at international financial markets.

Wu Jinglian, a CPPCC member and a renowned researcher at the State Council Development Research Centre, said the country should seek to allow market forces to play an even bigger role in resource allocation for its next stage of reform and development,

It is claimed government officials still have too much control over the allocation of resources and they often use the power in resource allocation to pursue high growth, disregarding the distortions their practice causes the economy.

Malpractice such as this must be rectified, Wu said.

(China Daily 03/08/2006 page3)

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