The Straits Times
Published on Nov 08, 2012

China's Hu stresses importance of economic development


BEIJING - China has to accelerate its economic restructuring, stressed President Hu Jintao in his opening speech at the Communist Party's national congress, noting that "development is the key to solving all our problems".

As China's GDP growth slows from an average of over 10 per cent over the past decade to an expected rate of below 8 per cent this year, the world's No. 2 economy is under pressure to find new growth drivers.

China's top leaders have pledged reforms to accelerate the economy's shift from exports and state-led investment to domestic consumption and more value-added production, especially by private enterprises.

In his wide-ranging speech, Mr Hu said that China's development is still unbalanced and needs to become more sustainable.

"Economic reform will be key to restructuring," he told more than 2,000 delegates attending the 18th Party Congress.

The Chinese leader affirmed the role of the state in the economy, where state-owned enterprises have become dominant in various sectors such as oil and resources, though he also pledged opportunities for "fair participation" for the non-state, private sector.