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Premier stresses strengthening weak links, deepening reforms

Updated: Sep 6,2016 9:22 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Premier Li Keqiang has called for more efforts to strengthen “weak links” and deepen reforms for economic restructuring and to improve people’s incomes.

He called for faster implementation of projects in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) that are of national or strategic importance to removing the “weak links” of the economy and reducing inequality between urban and rural areas, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting.

The Premier urged further reforms, including reducing red tape and delegating power to lower authorities to shore up private investment.

Given low commodity prices, China should take advantage of cheap raw materials and ramp up fiscal spending in poverty relief, small and medium-sized water conservation facilities, infrastructure projects and new industries, Premier Li said.

Rural power grids, telecom infrastructure and other economic weaknesses were also highlighted during the meeting.

Premier Li said the expansion of effective investment, partly through establishing a three-year investment plan for major projects, was needed. Meanwhile, it is important to stick firm in reducing excess and outdated production capacity, he added.

To stimulate private investment, local governments should continue to streamline administration, Premier Li said.

Private investors will see less restrictions on infrastructure investment and enjoy equal treatment with public institutions in education, medical service and old-age care, according to the meeting.

Premier Li also called for innovative financing and the better use of idle money.

Public-private partnerships will be promoted, and commercial banks will be prompted to improve credit management to meet finance demands in emerging sectors. Businesses will be encouraged to raise funds by selling bonds and transferring equities.

The government will also initiate a raft of projects that produce cash flow and stable returns to attract private investment, Premier Li said.

In addition, China will roll out measures to utilize foreign capital, promote practices in free trade zones, create a negative list for foreign investment and relocate processing industries to less-developed central and western regions.