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China starts parliament session amid global crisis, calls for confidence to combat downturn
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10:13, March 05, 2009

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Thursday called on the nation to strengthen conviction for victory while he envisaged "arduous and formidable" tasks in 2009 as the country tried to keep economic growth amid a global downturn.

Delivering a work report to the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's parliament, Wen said he believes the country will be able to keep its economic growth at about 8 percent in 2009 despite worsening world economy.

China's economy grew 9 percent in 2008, the lowest since 2001.

Wen acknowledged that 2009 will be the most difficult year for China's economic development since the new millennium, as demand continues to shrink on intentional markets.

But he told nearly 3,000 lawmakers the projected growth rate was proposed based on China's need and ability.

"In China, a developing country with a population of 1.3 billion, maintaining a certain growth rate for the economy is essential for expanding employment for both urban and rural residents, increasing people's incomes and ensuring social stability," Wen said.

"As long as we adopt the right policies and appropriate measures and implement them efficiently, we will be able to achieve this target," he said.

Other key economic and social targets in Wen's report included creating more than 9 million jobs in cities, controlling urban registered unemployment rate under 4.6 percent and keeping the rise of Consumer Price Index (CPI) at about 4 percent.

Listing key government tasks for the year, Wen said to deal with the global financial crisis and promoting steady and rapid economic development is "a high priority of the government."

"Continuous drop in economic rate due to the impact of the global financial crisis has become a problem affecting the overallsituation," Wen said.

In his 35-page work report, Wen outlined a package plan to cope with the tough economic situation, which included huge government investment, tax reform, industrial restructuring, scientific innovation, social welfare and promoting employment.

Wen said the government will adopt "a proactive fiscal policy" and significantly increase government spending to expand domestic demand.

The government has proposed a 4-trillion yuan (585.5 billion U.S.dollars) two-year investment plan, for which the central government has pledged 1.18 trillion yuan.

Wen said a total of 908 billion yuan of the central government investment this year will go to projects aiming at improving people's lives, Wen said.

Those projects covered low-income housing, education, health care and culture, energy conservation, environmental protection, technology innovation, key infrastructure construction and post-earthquake reconstruction.

"We must channel government investment to areas where it best counteracts the effects of the global financial crisis and to weak areas in economic and social development, and no government investment will be made in the regular processing industries," Wen said.

Source: Xinhua


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