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Xi Optimistic about China's Economic Fundamentals

Despite downward growth pressure and recent financial market volatility, President Xi Jinping on January 18 said that the country's long-term economic fundamentals remain sound.

Xi made the remarks at a symposium attended by ministers and provincial officials, adding that the new normal would be the major characteristic of the economy during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), and a necessary course the economy must go through to realize higher, more balanced development.

Xi said that as the economy expands, the growth rate will moderate, thus, its structure must be adjusted while the engines of growth must be shifted.

China's economy rose 6.9 percent in the third quarter of 2015, slowing slightly from 7 percent in the second quarter and its lowest quarterly growth since the global financial crisis.

The economy has entered a new stage of slower but more resilient growth, which Xi calls the new normal. The essence of which is an improved economic structure that relies more on domestic consumption, the service sector and innovation.

China is scheduled to release growth rates for the last quarter and the whole of 2015 on January 19.

Xi said innovation should be made the pivot of economic development, which would help foster new engines of economic growth.

He urged officials to stabilize short-term growth and plan for longer-term development, and coordinate development among different regions and the urban and rural areas.

Supply-side structural reform will advance economic restructuring by means of reform measures, while reducing noneffective and low-end supply as well as expanding effective and medium-to-high-end supply to boost productivity, Xi said.

A series of policy measures, especially those focusing on scientific and technological innovation, development of the real economy, and people's livelihoods, should be used to address the problems with the supply side of the economy, he added.

Supply-side structural reform should focus on both supply and demand and facilitate the decisive role of the market in allocating resources, Xi said.

It is crucial, Xi said, to cut overcapacity, promote industrial regrouping, reduce cost for enterprises, develop strategic emerging industries and the modern service sector, and increase the supply of public goods and services.

Presiding over the symposium, Premier Li Keqiang said the economy faces increasing downward pressure amid complicated international conditions.

Li called for a focus on the implementation of supply-side structural reform, identify fresh driving forces for development, and transform and upgrade traditional driving forces.

Senior leaders Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli were also present at the symposium.

(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2016)

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