Chinese Premier Li says China wants growth that brings real benefits to people

CHINA is confident of meeting its economic growth target this year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday, even as he acknowledged the more "complex" economic challenges facing the world's second largest economy as it embarks on a slate of ambitious reform to overhaul its economy.

But while China had announced an economic growth target of "about 7.5 per cent" this year at the opening of the National People's Congress (NPC) - China's parliament - last Wednesday, Mr Li said it was a target that allowed for flexibility as the livelihood of the people was of greater concern.

GDP growth must be backed by healthy job creation and an increase in incomes, he emphasised.

"The lowest level of growth acceptable is one that can ensure fairly full employment and needs to help increase people's incomes," Mr Li told reporters at a press conference after the closing ceremony of the NPC on Thursday. "We are not preoccupied solely with GDP growth. The growth we want is one that brings real benefits to the people, helps raise the quality and efficiency of economic development and contributes to energy conservation and environment protection."

He also acknowledged the pessimistic reports that have highlighted rising risks this year such as shadow banking and a credit boom that threatens to derail China's growth, but said the risks were under control.

While defaults are sometimes unavoidable, Beijing would step up monitoring to make sure regional and systemic financial risks do not surface, Mr Li added.

"We are confronting serious challenges this year and some of them are even more complex ," he said. "But we have gained good experience in handling economic development last year. The Chinese economy has tremendous potential and resilience and we have the ability and conditions to keep economic operations within the proper range this year."

esthert@sph.com.sg

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