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Li vows steps to maintain growth(2)

2014-07-05 10:35 China Daily Web Editor: Yao Lan

The premier called for more private sector participation in urban renovation and railway projects in central and western regions, as well as energy and environmental protection projects. He also urged the private sector to introduce more healthcare and pension service products.

Li said the government would focus on targeted policy fine-tuning, including tax reduction and monetary support to the agricultural and service sectors, to ensure that the 7.5 percent annual economic growth target can be achieved.

"The government is still confident and has enough ammunition to boost the economy," said Fan Gang, a noted Chinese economist, during a recent forum held by Singapore-based OCBC Bank.

"The Ministry of Finance was actually behind their fiscal spending schedule in the first half, yet the economy is already growing at nearly 7.5 percent. With a better global economic climate expected in the second half, there will be an uptick in growth," he said.

'China facing complex challenges'

Though China is unlikely to see a hard landing this year, it still faces several complex economic challenges, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, deputy prime minister and finance minister of Singapore, said on Friday.

"China has the most competent and capable economic team among the major economies, but is faced with the most complex challenges. They are moving in a direction that is farsighted, but all along the way, there are risks," he said during the DBS Asian Insights Conference 2014 in Singapore.

Unlike other economies, China has to take serious note of social disruptions while restructuring its economy.

"Major restructuring usually means you take a hit. You go through retrenchment before you come out. That's what happened to Greece, Spain and Portugal. But China can't afford to take that dive in growth, because the risk of social disruption is a very serious one," he said.

Moving ahead with all the reforms also requires a major alteration of the relationship between the central and provincial governments, he said, because China is actually many different economies combined into one, if people look at the nature of its provinces.

"The central government has to take on more expenditure, and the provinces need more revenue so that they don't need to rely on shadow banking and land sales," he said.

Apart from that, China has to deal with a heavy legacy while moving toward economic marketization.

The financial crisis in 2008 has led to burgeoning credit in certain sectors. Shadow banking is a significant problem that cannot be unraveled easily. Another part of the legacy is the entrenched interests in the State-owned sector. That will shape reform all along the way, he said.

"If the nation can achieve three quarters of what has been set out (in the reform agenda), that's a transformation in China and a huge plus for Asia and the world's economy," he said.


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