Premier Li Keqiang takes part in a discussion with Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) members who are experts in the fields of economics and agriculture and are attending the 3rd session of the 12th CPPCC National Committee, in Beijing, March 4. [Photo/People.cn]
The Chinese government has noted the austere circumstances of the economy and will overcome difficulties with more pro-growth policy, Premier Li Keqiang said on March 5, ahead of a keynote speech to give the economic outlook for the year ahead.
Li said the Chinese economy performed “pretty well” last year, which he described as a “hard-won accomplishment”. He made the comments during a meeting with members of the economy and agriculture groups of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory body.
As the premier is due to deliver the Government Work Report on March 5 to map out the government’s social and economic development targets for this year, experts said his visit to the economy group shows that economic development is the government’s priority this year.
In a two-hour, closed-door discussion with the CPPCC National Committee, Li listened to seven representatives’ speeches, briefly commented, and then gave a wrap-up speech.
The premier did not answer reporters’ questions after the meeting. However, he did greet everyone by saying, “Happy Lantern Festival”, marking the traditional Chinese holiday that will fall on March 5 this year.
As he joined the group discussion of CPPCC members, Li also pledged to fully implement the “Four Comprehensives” strategic blueprint in order to realize economic and social development targets.
The “Four Comprehensives” refers to a political concept, initiated by President Xi Jinping, that comprises “comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepening reform, comprehensively advancing the rule of law, and comprehensively strictly governing the Communist Party of China”.
In accordance with the “Four Comprehensives”, Li said, China should make greater efforts to stabilize growth, expand effective demand and withstand downward pressure, in an effort to keep economic operation within a proper range.
Reform shall be pushed forward, with a focus on cutting government red tape, reforming the tax and financial sector, and reforming State-owned enterprises and assets, Li added.
He promised to inject vigor into the market by promoting mass entrepreneurship and innovation. The premier also emphasized economic restructuring by offering more public goods and services to the people and boosting consumption related to information and tourism.
The representatives speaking at the session have expertise in industries including telecommunications, banking, agriculture and the private economic sector. According to China Central Television, speakers at the meeting included Guo Guangchang, chairman of Fosun Group, China’s largest non-State-owned conglomerate, and Xi Guohua, chairman of China Mobile, the country’s largest 4G mobile network operator.
“Some speakers have called for more easing in monetary and housing policies,” said Zhang Li, chairman of Guangzhou-based R&F properties and a CPPCC National Committee member.
Other members said Premier Li did not give a specific reply to their request during the meeting, while highlighting Free Trade Zone projects and emphasizing stronger efforts to help companies go global.
Dong Dasheng, former deputy auditor-in-chief and also a CPPCC National Committee member, said: “Some senior executives said they need simplified approval procedures regarding overseas investment and getting money back to China. Premier Li assigned the task to People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan during the meeting.”
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