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Wen: China 'able to achieve' 8% growth
Updated: 2009-03-05 09:13

BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- China will be able to achieve the economic growth target of about 8 percent in 2009, if proper policies and measures are taken, said Premier Wen Jiabao in his government work report to the parliament's annual session Thursday.

"As long as we adopt the right policies and appropriate measures and implement them effectively, we will be able to achieve this target," Wen told the Second Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC).

It is the fifth year in a row for the country to target an eight-percent growth.

"In China, a developing country with a population of 1.3 billion, maintaining a certain growth rate for the economy is essential for expanding employment for both urban and rural residents, increasing people's incomes and ensuring social stability," said Wen.

Full coverage:
 NPC and CPPCC 2009

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China's economy cooled to a seven-year low of nine percent last year, and broke a five-year streak of double-digit expansion, as the global financial crisis takes its toll on the world's fastest growing economy.

China is under great pressure to actualize the targeted eight-percent growth, which is essential for the populous developing nation, although the country outperformed the target in the previous four years.

With the global financial crisis still unfolding, Wen said 2009 could be "the most difficult year for China's economic development since the beginning of the 21st century."

Last time when the country was confronted by a similar crisis, China's economy expanded by 7.8 percent in 1998, in the wake of the Asian financial crisis.

Some analysts have put their forecasts of 2009 China growth below eight percent. The lowest projection is 5 percent.

The Chinese economy slowed to 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter, the worst slowing in nine years, as the global downturn sapped demand for Chinese exports, which comprise about 40 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

In a bid to achieve the growth target, Wen said the country would implement a proactive fiscal policy and a moderately easy monetary policy. The government will increase its spending and expect banks to issue five trillion yuan in new loans.

The government would also actively boost domestic demand, continue to proceed with the economic restructuring and independent innovation and accelerate the transformation of the development pattern, strengthen the position of agriculture as the foundation of the economy, and make arduous efforts to promote export, according to the Premier.

Wen pledged that this year's government work would give high priority to dealing with the global financial crisis and promoting steady and rapid economic development.