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Premier urges new drive to spur economic growth

XING ZHIGANG and CHEN JIA
Updated: Oct 15,2015 10:34 PM     China Daily

[Photo/Xinhua]

Premier Li Keqiang has called for intensified efforts and stronger support to turn the manufacturing sector into a new driving force for economic growth.

The appeal came as he warned against the fallout from sluggish industrial growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

“We should really have a sense of urgency … as it is the outstanding problem for us to address at present,” Li told dozens of ministers from central government departments and eight provincial-level heads.

He acknowledged that lackluster and poor performances in some sectors, including traditional industries, have added to downward pressure on the economy.

[Photo/Xinhua]

The Premier delivered his warning on Oct 13 at a seminar on the country’s economic situation and as the National Bureau of Statistics prepared to release the growth rate for the third quarter.

The Premier stressed that the “Internet-Plus” initiative should be used well to help upgrade and transform traditional industry and sharpen the manufacturing sector’s competitive edge.

The “Internet Plus” initiative was proposed in July to encourage the integration of the Internet into traditional sectors.

Central government departments should also introduce financial measures to support the manufacturing sector, Li said.

[Photo/China News Service]

Huang Qunhui, head of the Institute of Industrial Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think tank, suggested the manufacturing sector’s growth target could be lowered as long as it was still within a reasonable range.

“A more important task is to increase the quality of industrial production, and this year will be key to promoting the transformation,” he said.

“The expected result is that emerging strategic industries such as new energy and biotechnology will play a significant role in supporting the manufacturing sector,” Huang said.

[Photo/China News Service]

Learn from overseas, domestic companies told

Domestic manufacturers should learn from their overseas counterparts to produce more products that are popular among Chinese customers, according to Premier Li Keqiang.

Chinese companies should catch up to help promote a consumption upgrade and further stimulate economic growth, he said.

Li, attending a seminar on the third-quarter economic situation, was speaking after media reports said pharmaceutical products topped shopping lists as Chinese tourists flocked to Japan over the National Day golden week holiday at the start of this month.

In contrast, the most popular items during the May Day holiday for these visitors were heated toilet seats and rice cookers.

There had been few predictions that Chinese visitors would sweep through Japanese stores to buy goods such as medicines this time after rushing for toilet seats during the May Day holiday, the premier said.

He added that Chinese manufacturers should take better advantage of the Internet to upgrade their products and spur market demand through e-commerce.

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