Tianjin (People’s Republic of China) – September 10, 2014 – Despite stresses in the global economy, China will avoid any sharp drop in growth, Premier Li Keqiang of China told more than 2,000 business, government and civil society leaders from over 90 countries participating in the opening session of the eighth World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions.
“The Chinese economy is highly resilient and has ample space to grow,” he said. “The reform measures we have taken are good for now and make a hard landing less possible.” In the first half of this year, China’s economy grew by 7.4%, with inflation at 2.3%, Li said. “While we have seen growing downward pressure on the economy, more jobs have been created thanks to reforms that have been taken.”
In his address, the premier told participants that important reforms are in progress, including the simplification of business registration, streamlining administration and targeted tax reductions. These measures will spur growth, particularly in the services sector, agriculture and private enterprises, he said. Recognizing the theme of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions – Creating Value through Innovation – Premier Li underscored the importance of innovation in driving the transformation of China’s economy from its focus on manufacturing for export and fixed-asset investment to a more balanced and sustainable consumption-driven model.
“China’s reform and opening up over the past three decades has itself been a great innovation drive,” the premier observed. “Just imagine how big a force it could be when a working population of 900 million all become enthusiastic about entrepreneurship, innovation and creation. The blood of innovation can flow unhampered in society.” Small and medium-sized enterprises must have easier access to capital, he added. “We need to be sure there are adequate financial services to meet this need to encourage innovation.”
Responding to a question from Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, about the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, which was launched a year ago, Premier Li said that the pilot initiative is showcasing the progress of China’s reforms and is a clear statement that China wants to open up more to foreign investment. “I want to emphasize that all types of enterprises will be treated as equals and that China’s doors will open even wider,” he pledged.
Earlier, in introducing the premier, Schwab said that “the world has changed so much over the past 35 years, and China’s leadership has consistently shown the vision, the determination and the innovation required to master the challenges which it has faced.” He concluded: “China has a significant influence in shaping the world today and will continue to have a tremendous role in strengthening our collective global future.”
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