China's new premier promises to accelerate economic reform
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang promised Sunday to accelerate economic reform and sustain the nation's rapid growth during his expected 10 years in power, dpa reported.
"I've often said that reform pays the biggest dividend for China because there is still room for improvement in our socialist market economy," Li said in his first press conference since he became premier on Thursday.
"There is great space for further unleashing productivity through reform and there is great potential to make sure the benefits of reforms will reach the entire population," Li said at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.
"We need to pursue market-oriented reforms," he said following the closing of the National People's Congress, the ruling Communist Party's annual parliament.
New leaders appointed this week saw maintaining economic growth, improving people's livelihood and safeguarding social justice as their three top tasks, Li said.
To meet its target of doubling per capita gross domestic product from 2010 to 2020, China's annual economic growth must average about 7.5 per cent.
"This is not easy, but we have a lot of favorable conditions and enormous domestic demand," he said. "The key is to facilitate economic restructuring and foster new growth engines."
The party issued a series of measures last month designed to reduce income inequality and promote consumption as part of its rebalancing of the world's second-largest economy away from its reliance on exports and investment in infrastructure.
It planned to raise incomes in urban and rural areas, focussing on helping the poorest people, expanding the emerging middle class and building a stronger social welfare system, Li said."The [ministerial] reform is about curbing government power," Li said, adding that he expected it to be "painful."
He said the government aimed to scale back its economic activities and "leave to the market and society what they can do well."
China's annual economic growth slipped from 9.3 per cent in 2011 to 7.8 per cent last year, the slowest expansion since 1999.