Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a press conference after the closing meeting of the second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 13, 2014.[Xinhua]
BEIJING - Premier Li Keqiang said on March 13 that China’s economy has “tremendous potential and resilience” and the country is able to keep its economic growth in a proper range.
“We gained good experience in handling economic development last year and the Chinese economy has tremendous potential and resilience,” Li said at a press conference held after the annual parliamentary session ended. “So I believe that we have the ability and conditions to keep the economic operation in a proper range this year.”
The central government decided to keep China’s economic growth target for 2014 unchanged at around 7.5 percent and inflation at around 3.5 percent while seeking to rebalance the country’s growth model through deepening reforms.
Looking back on 2013, Li noted that the biggest challenge was the increased downward pressure on China’s economic growth, acknowledging “very limited space for maneuver in carrying out fiscal and monetary policy” and “multiple tough choices in exercising macro-control.”
He cited a negative growth in central government revenue at one point, “money squeeze” in the financial sector and a slump in the growth of power consumption and cargo transport volume, as well as some concerns over China’s economic “hard landing.”
In the face of challenges, the central government held its ground and pursued creative thinking in ways of exercising macro-economic control, according to Li.
“When confronted with mounting challenges, one needs to show guts; to tackle a difficult situation, one needs to have wisdom,” the Premier stressed.
“We set a proper range for China’s economic operation, and that is to say, we worked to ensure that GDP growth and employment would not slide below the lower limit, and inflation would not exceed the upper limit,” he said.
“We focused our efforts in boosting reform and making structural adjustment to ensure that the market will play a strong role,” he said.
This year, the government is going to confront serious challenges, some of which may be even more complex, the Premier noted. He outlined the tasks of ensuring steady growth, ensuring employment, averting inflation and defusing risks.
The government also needs to raise the quality and efficiency of China’s economic development and tackle pollution and save energy, he added.
“So we need to strike a proper balance amidst all these goals and objectives. This is not going to be easy,” Li said.
Li emphasized the need to be prepared, citing a Chinese proverb that “only a sharpened axe can cut through firewood.”
“We need to face up to the difficulties and challenges and make the most of the favorable conditions. This holds the secret of our success,” he said.