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Q&A: China's economic growth and transition


Updated: 2016-03-16 12:32:01


Q&A: China's economic growth and transition

Premier Li Keqiang greets journalists attending the news conference after the closing meeting of the fourth session of China's 12th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 16, 2016. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/chinadaily.com.cn]

Xinhua News Agency

: Some people are worried that China's growth might fail to reach the target or even below 6.5 percent. What's your view?

Li Keqiang: You raised a big question. But it is impossible for me to agree that China cannot achieve the growth target this year. The weak world recovery has taken its toll on the Chinese economy, which is deeply engaged in the world economy. China's economic transition is under way and its deep-rooted problems are emerging. The downward pressure indeed is increasing. But one prominent feature is greater divergence among regions and industries.

The other day I read a foreign media report saying that one visit to a heavy industry left the impression of depression, while the next stop to a technology park left the impression that the economy is growing at a double-digit rate. This is in line with my last year's field trip conclusion: hope and challenges coexist. If we look at the "fundamental" and "big trend", hope outweighs challenges.

We are fully confident about China's long-term growth prospects. This confidence is not groundless, because we believe that there will not be a hard landing as long as we stick to the reform path. There is still huge potential for China's markets; the general public has unlimited creativity. The government has overreached its aims in many aspects of economy, which hindered the gains of productivity; we are also not doing a sufficient job in ensuring a level playing ground . I believe through reform we can stimulate more vitality in the market, and greater vigor of the people. The wisdom and hard work of our people, if well tapped, is enough to withstand downward pressures.

The deregulation and tax cuts of the past few years will unleash the vitality of the market. Meanwhile, new forces of economic growth drivers are taking shape in a way that beats expectations. Despite the slowdown over the past few years, the employment condition is not bad. Last year we created more than 13 million jobs in the urban area. In the first two months of this year, the service sector grew 8.1 percent. Among them, there is high-tech research development, which is giving a push to the upgrade of traditional industries, an area where there is so much work we can do. We are in the midst of pushing ahead with deindustrialization and urbanization. New-style urbanization is the large domestic demand, especially in central and western regions, where there is enormous room for effective investment. If we combine the "fostering of new drivers" and "upgrading of old engines" and make them the "double-engines" of the Chinese economy, it will go through the pass of difficulties and leap to the plateau of hope.

Under uncertain world economic prospects, instability is adding. But we have ample reserves of policy instruments. Last year, despite a six-year low in world growth, we managed to reach our previous target. We realized that in the absence of all-out stimulus measures, instead we have chosen the path of structural reform, which is tough but sustainable. There will be small and short-term volatility down the road, but in case there is any sign that the economy will slide beyond an appropriate range, we have the reserves of innovative macro-adjustment measures to stabilize expectations.

The "stress test" we have been through, in another way, is a precious experience. I believe that under the leadership of the CPC central committee with Xi Jinping as general secretary, as long as the new vision we have deployed unites the people's efforts, we will be able to deliver a good start to the 13th five-year plan, which will bring a warm breeze to the world.