China’s economy is facing considerable pressure due to the slowdown but the government has a host of policies to halt the slide, Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday said as he tried to allay fears about flagging growth in the world’s second largest economy.
Addressing a press conference at the end of the 10-day meeting annual of the legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), Li said the new GDP target of around 7 per cent set for this year is not easy to meet.
“This year we set the anticipated GDP target approximately 7 per cent. It is true that we have adjusted downward our GDP target but it will by no means easy for us to meet this target,” he said.
The NPC is often referred as the “rubber stamp parliament” for its routine endorsement bills proposed by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
China registered 7.4 per cent growth last year, slowest in 24 years. A recent IMF forecast said China’s growth rate would further decline to 6.8 this year and 6.3 next year, for the first time behind that of India’s.
Li said because China’s economic aggregate is expanding and its size now is valued at about USD 10 trillion which is equivalent to the total economy of a medium sized country.
“I recognise that there is considerable downward pressure on China’s economic growth and we still face multiple challenges. This requires that the government must strike a proper balance between maintaining steady growth and making structural adjustments,” he said.
Referring to the concerns and worries about slow growth in China, he said, “We must ensure Chinese economy operate within a proper range”.
“If our growth speed comes close to lower limit of the proper range of economic operation and affects the employment situation and people’s livelihood incomes, we are prepared to step up targeted macro-economic regulation to boost the current market confidence while at the same time maintain continuity about our microeconomic policies to anchor long term market expectation,” he said.
“The good news is that in the past couple of years we did not resort to massive stimulus measures for economic growth. That has made it possible for us to have fairly ample room to pursue economic regulation and we still have host of policy instruments at our disposal,” he said.
The parliament session also showcased the country’s massive anti-graft campaign which consolidated power base of President Xi Jinping both in the party and powerful military.
In his press conference, which was telecast live, Li skirted issues like Tibet—which witnessed unrest in the form of self-immolations, calling for return of the Dalai Lama -- and Xinjiang which is facing major crackdown in view of increasing militancy fomented by the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).