Downward pressure and regional imbalances getting stronger, Li warns
Premier Li Keqiang has urged support of the real economy, focusing on the manufacturing and service sectors, as well as small and private businesses, by further reducing the taxes and fees they face.
The premier also said that macroeconomic policies should be maintained, with timely adjustment to serve market entities and guide stable market expectations.
Li made the statements when presiding over a meeting last week on local and national economic developments in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province. Top government officials from seven provinces and autonomous regions reported on their local economic situations and proposed suggestions for national policymaking.
The premier said China has taken targeted and timely measures to tackle challenges arising from increasing uncertainties in domestic and international contexts to ensure stable economic development and accomplish targets set for this year.
However, downward economic pressure is getting stronger, as are regional imbalances, Li said. He called for full awareness of possible difficulties and conflicts and the firm deepening of reform and opening-up to keep economic operations stable and promote high-quality development.
China's GDP rose by 6.5 percent in the third quarter of the year compared with the same period last year, lower than the 6.8 percent in the first quarter and 6.7 percent in the second quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said. The bureau also said on Friday that the official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, an economic indicator showing industrial expansion, fell to 50 in November, 0.2 percentage points lower than October. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
Li said domestic consumption should be appropriately expanded to unleash its potential, and effective investment should be boosted. Thresholds for private investors should be further lowered while major projects that aim to promote economic development and improve people's livelihood should be started as soon as possible, he said.
Government at all levels should make employment a priority, because it can increase wealth and spur social stability, Li said. He also urged government to think from the perspective of market entities and push forward with administrative streamlining while endeavoring to build a highly effective, stable and transparent business environment for fair competition, which he said is a key solution to overcoming challenges in economic development.
In addition, China should stimulate the vitality and creativity of its rich human resources, which is beneficial to maintaining stable economic development, the premier said.
At the end of the meeting, Li called on State Council departments to provide an environment conducive to local development and said local governments should adopt policies that are in line with local conditions. By doing so, the Chinese economy can be kept in a reasonable range, ensuring promising, long-term development, he added.