Li Keqiang meets the press after conclusion of annual legislative session

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives at his press conference after the closing meeting of

the second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great

Hall of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Liu Weibing

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang greets journalists upon arriving at his press conference after the

closing meeting of the second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC)

at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Zhang Duo

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (center) arrives at his press conference after the closing

meeting of the second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC)

at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Zhang Duo 

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attends a press conference after the closing meeting of the second

annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People

in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Wang Peng

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (center) speaks at a press conference after the closing meeting

of the second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great

Hall of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Shen Bohan 

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a press conference after the closing meeting of

the second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great

Hall of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Chen Jianli

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese Premier: 

China to continue search for missing jet

even with only “a glimmer of hope”

 

 

By Gui Tao

 

China will not give up its efforts in searching for a missing Malaysia Airlines flight with 154 Chinese aboard “as long as there is a glimmer of hope,” Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday of March 13.

Li made the remarks at a press conference shortly after the conclusion of China’s annual legislative session.

“We will not give up any suspected clue that is being found,” he said. “We are also looking very closely at all suspected clues showing on satellite images.”

His remarks came after a Chinese satellite found three floating objects at a suspected site of the missing plane.

The satellite images, which are being analyzed, showed that the objects on the South China Sea were spreading across an area with a radius of 20 kilometers.

Li said that the Chinese government has asked all relevant parties in the ongoing massive international search to enhance coordination to investigate the cause and to locate the missing plane as soon as possible.

The Chinese government has activated a comprehensive contingency response and search operation, according to the premier.

Currently there are eight Chinese vessels in the related waters and another one is on its way towards the respected waters, he said, adding that 10 satellites are now being used to provide information and technological support.

“The Chinese government and Chinese people are all deeply concerned about safety of the plane,” he said. “We are all eagerly awaiting news about the plane, even a slightest piece of good news.”

Flight MH370 carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members vanished on March 8 on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing after losing contact with air traffic control in waters between Malaysia and Vietnam.

The international search for the missing flight, which has so far involved at least 40 ships and nearly 40 aircraft from 12 countries, entered its sixth day Thursday, but the whereabouts of the Boeing 777-200 remains unknown.

Li also said the incident will not affect China’s opening-up policy, in response to a question raised by a journalist.

 

 

A journalist asks questions at the press conference of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after the

closing meeting of the second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress

(NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Zhang Yuwei  

 

A journalist asks questions at the press conference of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after the

closing meeting of the second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress

(NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Jin Liangkuai

 

A press conference of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is held after the closing meeting of the

second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall

of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Shen Bohan

 

A press conference of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is held after the closing meeting of the

second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall

of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Wang Peng

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li promises 

to promote social fairness, 

improve people’s livelihood

 

 

By Gui Tao

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday said that his government will give a priority to the promotion of social fairness and the improvement of people’s livelihood.

“We need to meet people’s basic living needs, to provide the last resort for people to fall back on in case of special difficulty, and to promote social fairness,” Li said at a press conference shortly after the conclusion of China’s annual legislative session, calling them three major tasks for the government this year.

“Those topics related to people’s livelihood presents priority on the government’s work agenda,” he said.

Li said the government will endeavor to make China’s medical insurance and basic old insurance schemes “truly portable and transferrable” to further expand their coverage in urban and rural areas.

The government is going to explore the possibility of raising the basic pension benefits at a proper time, he said.

The premier urged all the government employees to put the special needs of the people, such as those who run into special difficulty because of serious illnesses or sudden disasters, on the top of their mind.

“The government needs to take more effective measures to ensure equal opportunities in finding jobs and to level the playing field for people who want to start their own business,” Li said.

He also said that the government needs to pay particular attention to education to ensure fairness at the very starting point.

“This year we have set the target of raising the proportion of rural students from poor areas enrolled in key universities and colleges by over 10 percent,” he said.

The premier also vowed to further improve the poorly built and low performing schools in China’s poor areas.

“The government needs to create conditions to ensure that each and every individual has an equal shot at a better life through hard work and that fairness and justice are truly realized even at the most primary level of society,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li: 

China able to keep economic

operation in proper range

 

 

By Zuo Wei

 

Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday that China’s economy has “tremendous potential and resilience” and the country is able to keep its economic growth in a proper range.

“We gained good experience in handling economic development last year and the Chinese economy has tremendous potential and resilience,” Li said at a press conference held after the annual parliamentary session ended. “So I believe that we have the ability and conditions to keep the economic operation in a proper range this year.”

The central government decided to keep China’s economic growth target for 2014 unchanged at around 7.5 percent and inflation at around 3.5 percent while seeking to rebalance the country’s growth model through deepening reforms.

Looking back on 2013, Li noted that the biggest challenge was the increased downward pressure on China’s economic growth, acknowledging “very limited space for maneuver in carrying out fiscal and monetary policy” and “multiple tough choices in exercising macro-control.”

He cited a negative growth in central government revenue at one point, “money squeeze” in the financial sector and a slump in the growth of power consumption and cargo transport volume, as well as some concerns over China’s economic “hard landing.”

In the face of challenges, the central government held its ground and pursued creative thinking in ways of exercising macro-economic control, according to Li.

“When confronted with mounting challenges, one needs to show guts; to tackle a difficult situation, one needs to have wisdom,” the Premier stressed.

“We set a proper range for China’s economic operation, and that is to say, we worked to ensure that GDP growth and employment would not slide below the lower limit, and inflation would not exceed the upper limit,” he said.

“We focused our efforts in boosting reform and making structural adjustment to ensure that the market will play a strong role,” he said.

This year, the government is going to confront serious challenges, some of which may be even more complex, the Premier noted. He outlined the tasks of ensuring steady growth, ensuring employment, averting inflation and defusing risks.

The government also needs to raise the quality and efficiency of China’s economic development and tackle pollution and save energy, he added.

“So we need to strike a proper balance amidst all these goals and objectives. This is not going to be easy,” Li said.

Li emphasized the need to be prepared, citing a Chinese proverb that “only a sharpened axe can cut through firewood.”

“We need to face up to the difficulties and challenges and make the most of the favorable conditions. This holds the secret of our success,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li: 

China to better handle relations

between government, market

 

By Du Jie

 

Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday that the Chinese government will better handle the relationship between the government and the market, so as to add new impetus to the Chinese economy and boost the creativity and dynamism from all sides.

Last year, the Chinese central government took streamlining administration and delegating power to lower-level governments as the top priority on the reform agenda, Li told a press conference after the conclusion of the annual legislative session.

He said that the central government has abolished or delegated to lower-level governments 416 items previously subject to the review and approval of the State Council, or China’s cabinet.

“This has sent out a very strong signal that we need to loosen strait-jacket over businesses and truly enable the market to play its role,” Li said.

The number of newly registered businesses increased by 27.6 percent last year, among which newly registered privately-held businesses increased by 30 percent. This was the highest in over a decade, the premier revealed.

“This shows that streamlining administration and delegating power is a powerful tool in energizing the market and stimulating social creativity,” he said.

It was decided at the third plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China that the market will play a decisive role in allocating resources and government should play its role. “So streamlining administration and delegating power is a very important starting point,” Li said.

He emphasized that the market economy is one based on the rule of law. “We need to ensure that market energies can do anything that is not prohibited by the law, and government departments must not do anything unless it is mandated by the law.”

He also said that delegating power does not mean the government will stay out of everything, and that he hopes to combine both delegating power and tightened oversight.

“The government in this way will have extra energy to focus its attention on pursuing creative and better macro-control,” he said.

Li said he is aware that in the course of delegating power, there have been such practices as midway obstruction or delegating power getting stuck in the last mile.

But he added: “How can an arrow shot be turned back? We’re most determined to see the reform through.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li says

GDP target flexible, stresses employment

 

 

By Cheng Jing, Zuo Wei and Zhang Zhengfu

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday said there is a level of flexibility for the government’s growth target at around 7.5 percent this year, stressing rather the importance of creating enough jobs.

“We are not preoccupied with GDP growth,” Li stressed when asked on the lowest growth rate that the government can live with at a press conference following the conclusion of the annual legislative session.

“The growth that 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 said.

Li’s elaboration came after the government announced last week that the country will target an unchanged growth of around 7.5 percent in 2014.

It also vowed to keep inflation at around 3.5 percent and create 10 million more urban jobs to ensure the registered urban unemployment rate does not rise above 4.6 percent.

At the conference, Li underscored the importance of a proper growth to deliver enough urban jobs while leaving room for the six to seven million migrant workers to seek employment in cities.

China’s economy grew 7.7 percent last year, well above the government goal, but a set of data that pointed to softening manufacturing activity in recent months has renewed concerns on the growth outlook of the world’s second largest economy.

In response to the concerns, Li emphasized that China’s economy has “tremendous potential and resilience”, and the country has the ability and conditions to keep its economic operation within a proper range.

The premier noted a spate of complex challenges for this year, including enhancing the quality and efficiency of economic development, tackling pollution and saving energy.

“So we need to strike a proper balance amidst all these goals and objectives. This is not going to be easy,” Li acknowledged.

“We need to face up to the difficulties and challenges and make the most of the favorable conditions. This holds the secret of our success,” he said, citing a Chinese proverb that “only a sharpened axe can cut through firewood.”

Although China’s 7.5 percent growth target is the same as previous years, its importance is fading as many believe the government will no longer view the figure as the necessary minimum as it usually did in the past.

Senior leaders and officials have on various occasions backed up the macro-economic control strategy featuring the idea of “a proper range,” — a lower limit to ensure steady growth and job creation and an upper limit to avert inflation, which was first proposed by Li in July.

Finance minister Lou Jiwei joined the chorus last Thursday, calling for more comprehensive understanding on the country’s growth target instead of merely fixating on the 7.5-percent figure.

GDP growth, inflation and employment are all key factors that should be taken into consideration when assessing economic conditions, Lou told a press conference, adding that a growth of 7.3 percent or 7.2 percent can still be counted within that range.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese premier pledges

financial reforms, social fairness  

By Gui Tao

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday vowed to make financial and fiscal reforms a priority in the country’s overall reform agenda, but also promised to promote social fairness and people’s livelihoods to bridge the widening wealth gap.

During a press conference lasting nearly two hours shortly after the conclusion of China’s annual parliamentary session, Li responded to a wide array of concerns, ranging from the ongoing search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight and air pollution, to debt risks and the country’s relations with the United States.

Almost a quarter of the questions raised by journalists were related to China’s economic development and reforms.

Li, the first senior central government leader to hold a doctoral degree in economics, answered the questions with his characteristic ease and expressive hand gestures.

He said China’s growth target of around 7.5 percent in 2014 is “flexible,” but also underscored the importance of a proper growth to deliver enough jobs.

Li emphasized that China’s economy has “tremendous potential and resilience,” and that the country has the ability and conditions to keep its economic operations steady.

“We will press ahead with fiscal, tax and financial reforms as our priorities this year,” he said, adding that the ultimate goal is to fully energize the market and the creativity of society.

To achieve the goal, the Chinese premier said, the government will better handle the relationship between the state and the market, allowing latter to play a “decisive” role in the allocation of resources and making the government play a better role.

Li’s latest pledges came as China’s economy is shifting into a lower gear and focusing more on quality development.

Its development dilemma is reflected by its sizzling property market, corruption and the bouts of choking smog that have become more common in recent years.

“Corruption is a natural enemy of the people’s government,” Li told the press conference, reiterating his “zero-tolerance” approach to corrupt officials, no matter who they are.

He vowed tough measures and regulations to fight pollution and a differential approach to curb speculation in the housing market.

The premier downplayed the risk in China’s government debt, saying it is generally within control. But he also admitted that China has set a timetable concerning regulation over shadow banking.

Three major tasks Li said his government faces this year are to meet people’s basic living needs, to provide a safety net for people to fall back on in case of special difficulty, and to promote social fairness.

Regarding its relations with the United States, Li said that the world’s two largest economies should expand common interests while respecting each other’s core interests and major concerns and properly managing differences to raise the level of the bilateral relationship.

“The wise people will seek their common interests, while the unwise ones will focus on their differences,” said Li, citing a Chinese saying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li:

Fiscal, tax, financial 

reforms high on agenda

By Zhang Zhengfu

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday that fiscal, tax and financial reforms had been set as a priority on the country’s overall reform agenda in 2014.

“In the course of comprehensively deepening reform, we certainly need to be focused on key reforms and initiatives and we need to see breakthroughs in key areas,” Li said.

“We will press ahead with fiscal, tax and financial reforms as our priorities this year,” said the premier at a press conference shortly after the conclusion of China’s annual legislative session.

The authorities will continue to streamline administration and delegate power to ensure that the market fully play its role in an effective and well-regulated manner, he said.

The premier also listed reforms in other areas, including taking new steps to ease the tax burden of micro-and-small businesses, deepening reforms of state-owned enterprises, and vigorously developing mixed-ownership economy.

Market access would also be eased, especially in the service sectors, such as healthcare, old-age support and financial services, so as to bring greater competition in the market, he said.

“The ultimate goal of all the reforms is to fully energize the market and the creativity of society,” said the premier.

He warned that, “In the course of reforms, the vested interests will be shaken and some people’s cheese will be moved.”

However, the country would “carry out the reforms without hesitation” in order to further release the dividends of reform and bring greater benefits to the people, he added.

Since last year, the State Council had convened 40 executive meetings, 30 of which were directly related to reform topics, according to the premier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li:

China’s debt risks within control

 

By Cheng Jing

 

China has attached high attention on government debt and risks in this area are generally within control, Premier Li Keqiang said at a press conference on Thursday.

Citing an official audit of government debts last year, Li said the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio is still below the internationally recognized warning line.

China’s mounting government debt is considered as a latent danger to financial stability, and the country has started to take steps to address the issue.

After two months of nationwide audits, the National Audit Office disclosed that governments at various levels were liable for a total direct debt of 20.7 trillion yuan (3.4 trillion U.S. dollars) at the end of June, up 8.6 percent, or 1.63 trillion yuan, since the end of 2012.

While the level is within control, Li cautioned that the problem should not be overlooked, promising to take further regulatory steps, including putting the debt under budgetary management, to strengthen oversight.

In China, local governments are not legally allowed to borrow funds on their own. The fiscal funds they receive from the central government and other sources of revenue, such as taxes, cannot meet their funding needs either, forcing them to use back-door approaches for funding that involves state-owned firms and local government financing vehicles.

“We will keep the front open and block side doors,” Li stressed at the press conference following the conclusion of the annual legislative session.

His comments on Thursday followed reform plans unveiled in his government work report last week to overhaul the current financing scheme for local governments.

“We will establish a standard financing mechanism for local governments to issue bonds and place local government debt under budgetary management,” said the government report delivered by Li at the opening of the annual session of the National People’s Congress.

To guard against and defuse debt risks, China will also implement a comprehensive government financial reporting system, according to the report.

The premier also said Thursday that authorities has set a timetable for implementing the Basel III accord in tightening regulative measures over shadow banking.

Regarding the defaults of financial products, Li said avoiding a few individual cases would be difficult, but efforts must be taken to make sure regional and systemic financial risks do not occur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li: 

Timetable set for implementing Basel III

By Zhang Zhengfu

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday that the authorities had set a timetable for implementing the Basel III accord in tightening regulative measures over shadow banking.

“Concerning financial risks such as shadow banking, we are tightening regulation and have set a timetable for implementing the regulative measures under the Basel III accord,” Li said.

He made the remarks at a press conference shortly after the conclusion of China’s annual legislative session.

As to whether China has set too high capital adequacy ratios for banks, Li said, “We are a developing country, but this is what we have to do, and we cannot let today’s stepping stone become tomorrow’s stumbling stone.”

“It is indeed difficult to avoid a few individual cases, and we must tighten monitoring and deal with the problems timely to make sure regional and systemic financial risks do not occur,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li:

China to curb housing speculation

 

By Wang Cong

 

China will take a differential approach to regulate the housing market, and curb speculation and investment-oriented purchases, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said here on Thursday.

At a press conference held at the end of China’s annual parliamentary session, Li said China will support people’s reasonable needs for housing and will increase the supply of ordinary commercial housing in the market.

A long-term mechanism will be built to ensure steady and sound growth of the housing market, the premier said.

Li said the goal of the government on the housing issue is to provide adequate housing for the entire population, noting that some 100 million Chinese still live in the poor, run-down areas in the cities.

He said the government will redouble efforts to overhaul the run-down areas this year, pledging to rebuild 4.7 million shanty houses.

More government-subsidized housing such as public rental houses will be built, and efforts will be made to ensure such housing will be distributed equitably, he said, adding that “a small action is more important than a thousand words.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li: 

China needs tough measures,

regulations to fight pollution

 

By Cao Kai

 

China needs both tough measures and tough regulations to fight pollution, Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday.

Li made the remarks at a press conference shortly after the conclusion of this year’s parliamentary session.

Polluters, which harm both nature and human health, will be severely punished, said Li, when responding to a question about smog that frequently blanketed Beijing and some other major cities since winter.

Watchdogs which turn a blind eye to polluting activities and fail to perform their duties will be held accountable, Li added.

“To declare a war on smog doesn’t mean we are declaring a war on nature. Rather, we are going to declare a war on our own inefficient and unsustainable model of growth and way of life,” he said.

Last year, the State Council issued a ten-point action plan on the prevention and control of air pollution.

China now conducts PM 2.5 monitoring in 161 cities across the country, the most extensive scale among all the developing countries, according to the premier.

China also set a 3.9 percent reduction target for cutting energy intensity this year on top of a 3.7 percent reduction it achieved last year, which is equivalent to cutting coal burning by 22 million tonnes, said Li.

Li admitted there are complex causes for smog and to tackle this problem takes time.

Li called for the government, businesses and every individual of society to act together and make consistent efforts to win the tough battle against smog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese premier vows

“zero-tolerance” to corruption

 

By Ren Ke

 

China will show “zero-tolerance” to corrupt officials no matter “how senior his position is,” Premier Li Keqiang said at a press conference Thursday after the annual parliamentary session concluded.

“China is a country under rule of law. No matter who he is, and how senior his position is, if he violates Party discipline and the law of the country, he will be punished to the full extent, because everybody is equal before the law,” Li said.

“Corruption is a natural enemy of the people’s government,” Li said. “We must put the exercise of power and the use of public money under institutional checks.”

Li said the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government are firm in will and determination to fight corruption, and “that is our consistent position.”

Since its 18th National Congress, the CPC has been steadfast in combating corruption and holding corrupt officials accountable, Li said, adding that visible progress has been made in this regard and the Party and the government will carry forward this campaign with perseverance.

Li said that the government will continue to streamline administration and delegate government powers.

The government will step up its efforts for the release of “a list of powers” and define a clear boundary for the exercise of power to ensure that power is not abused, he said.

The government will also carry out comprehensive audit in those areas which are of high concern to the public, such as the revenues on the transfer of land use rights and transfer of mining rights, according to Li.

“We will take institutional steps to ensure… corruption will have nowhere to hide,” Li said.

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li stresses

confidence in Hong Kong’s

competitive edge, prosperity

 

 

By Fu Shuangqi

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang expressed his confidence Thursday in Hong Kong’s competitive edge and ability to maintain prosperity.

The central government’s policy toward Hong Kong and Macao is consistent and clear-cut, said Li at a press conference after the annual parliamentary session ended.

“We will continue to support Hong Kong in maintaining and elevating its status as an international financial, trading and shipping center,” he said.

The mainland’s reform and economic upgrading will open tremendous chances to Hong Kong, Li said.

The mainland is opening up its service sector, in which Hong Kong has a strong leading edge, he said, citing an old Chinese saying that a pavilion that is close to the pond will get the moonlight first.

“With Hong Kong people’s enterprising spirit, I have confidence that Hong Kong will keep its competitive edge and maintain prosperity amid future competition,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li calls for

new progress in mainland-Taiwan ties

By Wang Cong

 

Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday called for new progress in relations between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

At a press conference following the conclusion of the annual parliamentary session, Li said people-to-people exchanges and business cooperation are important components of ties across the Taiwan Strait.

“I hope to see even greater, new progress in cross-Strait ties this year,” Li said.

Li said a record 8 million visits were recorded between the mainland and Taiwan last year, adding that he wished such good momentum could be kept in the future.

He also hoped that follow-up talks on implementing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), a wide-ranging cross-Strait economic pact signed in 2010, could bear fruit earlier, “so that greater benefits can be delivered to people and businesses of both sides.”

Li noted that press from both the mainland and Taiwan selected the Chinese character “jin” – or “progress” in English – as their respective word of the year.

“This (selection) shows the trend of peaceful development of cross-Strait ties and represents the common wish of people on both sides,” Li said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li:

China to enhance common interests,

narrow differences with neighbors

 

 

By Fu Shuangqi

 

China will enhance common interests and narrow differences with neighboring countries for the sake of peace and stability, said Premier Li Keqiang here Thursday.

China has unwavering commitment to pursuing peaceful development and unshakable will in safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity, both for the sake of upholding stability and creating a favorable environment for its development, said Li at a press conference after the annual parliamentary session ended.

As a developing country, China needs a favorable neighboring and international environment for its modernization drive, he said.

“When neighbors interact with each other, it is only natural that sometimes they will run into problems of some kind or another,” Li said. “As long as they respect each other, properly manage differences and pursue mutual benefits, there will be harmonious sound instead of jarring noises.”

Peace and friendship and peaceful coexistence represent common aspirations of all people in China and its neighboring countries, he said.

As long as China and its neighbors together improve common interests and narrow differences, they will bring greater benefits to their people, he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li:

China, U.S. should expand

common interests

By Li Laifang

 

China and the United States should expand common interests while respecting each other’s core interests and major concerns and properly managing differences to raise the level of bilateral relationship, Premier Li Keqiang said here Thursday.

The Sino-U.S. relationship is in essence the one between the largest developing country and the largest developed country in the world, Li told a press conference after the conclusion of the annual legislative session.

Last year, President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama had a meeting in California and reached consensus of building a new model of major-country relationship between China and the United States.

The new model of relationship has a defining feature of non-conflict and win-win cooperation, Li said.

Due to different historical and cultural backgrounds and development stages, it is natural for the two countries to have some differences on certain matters and frictions in cooperation, but these are just “pains” amid growing cooperation, Li said.

“As long as the two sides respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, properly manage their differences and engage in equal consultations, and in particular, continue to expand their common interests, the two countries will be able to further raise the level of their relationship,” said Li.

The common interests between China and the United States far outweigh their differences, said Li, adding the volume of bilateral trade registered over 520 billion U.S. dollars last year.

“There is much more that we can do to further unleash the potential of Sino-U.S. cooperation. We need to make the most of our complementarity,” said Li.

“The wise people will seek their common interests, while the unwise ones will focus on their differences,” said Li,citing a Chinese saying.

Whatever change may take place, it should be conducive to both countries and the sound and steady development of Sino-U.S. ties, said Li.

“China and the U.S. need to focus more on common ground in pursuit of long-term benefits,” Li said.

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Li: 

China, EU trade disputes can be solved

 

By Fu Shuangqi

 

China and the European Union (EU) can work out a solution to their trade disputes through mutual respect and proper consultations, said Premier Li Keqiang here Thursday.

Being each other’s biggest trading partners, it is natural that the two come across some trade frictions, said Li at a press conference held after the annual parliamentary session ended.

“As long as the two sides respect each other and engage in proper consultations, problems can be solved,” Li said, citing last year’s trade dispute case of photovoltaic products as a successful example.

Trade disputes are individual cases and account for a small percentage in the two-way trade, he added.

Both China and EU are strong advocators of multipolar world and greater investment facilitation, so it is an irresistible trend that companies from the two sides enter each other’s market and invest mutually, he said.

Li expected that China and EU can carry on the negotiation of an investment treaty in a fair, reciprocal and facilitating way, so that there will be greater mutual investment and deeper economic integration between the two sides.

Speaking of the export to EU, Li promoted China’s equipment industry at the press conference, saying that Chinese companies can deliver the equipment for building high-speed railways and nuclear plants in the fastest way and at the minimum cost.

China is upgrading its economy, including the export, he said.

“We can’t just export toys, apparel and shoes,” he said.

The export of Chinese equipment is mutually beneficial for all partners, he said, adding that Chinese producers can test and improve their products through international competition while many Chinese equipment have components outsourced globally and use technologies bought abroad.

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (right) gestures to journalists after his press conference following

the closing meeting of the second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress

(NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Pang Xinglei 

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gestures to journalists after his press conference following the

closing meeting of the second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress

(NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Xiao Yijiu 

 

Journalists work at the press conference of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after the closing meeting

of the second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall

of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Jin Liangkuai 

 

Journalists work at the press conference of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after the closing

meeting of the second annual session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress (NPC)

at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on March 13, 2014.   Photo by Jin Liwang

 

 

 

 

 

 

OVERSEAS MEDIA:  

More confidence needed

in Chinese economy

 

Shuai Anning

 

Concern has resurfaced in recent months that data pointing to softening Chinese manufacturing activity indicate the world’s second largest economy may be headed for a hard-landing.

However, the 7.5 percent growth target set by the Chinese government for 2014 helped stabilize market expectations, especially on overseas markets, foreign media reported.

French newspaper Le Figaro said it was reassuring to the international community that a major engine of the global economy maintained steady growth.

Cora Jungbluth, a project manager at Bertelsmann Foundation, said a growth rate of 7.5 percent was still quite an aggressive target, considering the global and domestic economic situation.

“We set a proper range for China’s economic operation, and that is to say, we worked to ensure that GDP growth and employment would not slide below the lower limit, and inflation would not exceed the upper limit,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a press conference Thursday after the annual parliamentary session ended.

However, as some analysts pointed out, a booming world economy not only requires steady growth in China, but also the cooperation of other countries.

The structural problems facing the emerging economies should not be exploited by the developed ones as excuses to offload their responsibilities in reform, and it is unfair to expect the emerging economies to over-exert themselves in order to drive the world, according to some analysts.

Li Guangrong, chairman of Tehua Investment Holding Co., Ltd, said the remodeling of the world needed the efforts of different countries, as well as an international relations and regulation system focused on collaboration and mutual benefit.

Yet, China indeed faces deep-rooted structural imbalances, and the factors that might lead to a structural slowdown are emerging. The question as to how to manage the risks while retaining the growth momentum has become the concern of overseas media.

A comment piece published in English newspaper The Financial Times said China eventually would re-balance its economy and turn to a more sustainable mode. The sooner the transformation started, the smaller the risks would be in the process, it said.

Justin Yifu Lin, economist and former chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank, in an article on the Financial Times’ Chinese website, wrote it was not unexpected China’s economy was slowing. Compared to other countries, China had performed better when exposed to the same external shock.

The Chinese economy enjoyed a late-developing advantage, by which China could transform its potential to solid growth through persistent technological innovation and industry upgrade, Lin said.

In Li’s government work report earlier this month, he mentioned using innovation to support and lead economic structural improvement and upgrading, pushing China’s industry to a higher position in the global value chain. As the structural adjustment continues, the domestic demand it releases will bring more opportunity to the world and provide more benefit.

As some foreign scholars pointed out, the international community should learn to tale a more positive and sensible view of the Chinese economy. What China and the rest of the world are engaging in is not a zero-sum game, but a win-win situation.

Pessimistic views of the Chinese economy is a misreading and misjudgment of the country’s economic situation and of no help to the global market and economy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW POST   updated on March 14, 2014

 

 

COMMENTARY

 

China’s new growth story:

an uphill journey

 

 

By Zhang Zhongkai and Xu Xingtang

 

The curtains of China’s annual parliamentary meetings drew to a close, charting a clear course as the world’s second largest economy sails towards fresh waters with a reform-determined leadership at the helm.

The growth targets are set. The way to the end mapped out. But what kind of journey will China’s growth experience in 2014?

The story will not be the epic of the stellar growth seen during the past three decades. Gone are the days when double-digit GDP growth was easy to achieve with low-cost and abundant labor, easy credit and massive investment.

The leadership has realized the necessity and immediacy to steer the country’s economy from investment-led expansion to consumption-fuelled growth.

Will it be a thriller? Some observers may favor this but that is the least possible script of China’s future growth.

An economic hard landing with bursting property bubbles, chaos caused by runaway shadow banking and festering local government debt is a common fantasy among some observers. However, a Titanic-like crash scene is unlikely to take place as the risk-sensitive government has realized the gravity of the situation and taken drastic measures to rein in further worsening.

No doubt the journey ahead is going to be bumpy with the spectres of the above-mentioned haunting.

So China’s growth story this year is more likely to be an uphill journey, with treasures to hunt and barriers to cross.

China has targeted its GDP growth at around 7.5 percent and CPI at about 3.5 percent this year, generally in line with last year’s target.

But these growth indicators are not the only treasures to hunt. More advantages and benefits from the ongoing and upcoming reforms on all fronts will provide the biggest surprises.

The financial sector is one of the key reform priorities outlined in the government work report. Bosses of the country’s financial watchdogs said on Tuesday that China will liberalize deposit interest rates, roll out deposit insurance and set up private banks, all of which will rejuvenate the whole economy.

However, barriers are in the way. The country has to be aware of domestic traps of overcapacity, financial and debt risks and environmental degradation, while weathering the impact of volatile global financial markets. It is set to be an uphill journey.

The knack for hurdle-leaping is reform.

Reform is the top priority for the government’s work this year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said last week, four months after a key meeting in November outlined a wide-ranging reform package.

“How can an arrow shot be turned back?” Li said at Thursday’s press conference. It might sound cliche, but painstaking reform seems to be the only path that China can take to juggle its different priorities.

Like all adventures, it takes guts and wits to carry on the journey. With utmost determination and concrete actions to push reforms, we will see a fascinating yet difficult balancing act of growth and reform, and hopefully a happy ending.

 

 

 

 

 

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