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China expects robust growth in consumption despite global recession: minister
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13:45, March 10, 2009

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China's Commerce Minister Chen Deming said Tuesday the country is expected to see robust growth in consumption against the global economic turmoil.

Given the 1.3 billion population, the country has a great market potential, especially in the countryside, he said at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress, China's legislative body.

The country's more than 800 million farmers will create a huge market, the minister told reporters.

"Consumption growth has been very stable as far as I can see," said the minister, "and government measures to promote sales and expand consumption have begun to take effect."

China's retail sales reported increases in the first two months, though the sales have been expanding at a slower pace, according to the minister.

Premier Wen Jiabao said last month that consumption rose 18 percent year-on-year in January, which is a further deceleration from 19 percent in December and down from a high of 23.3 percent in July.

The country is scheduled to release the February retail sales figure on Thursday.

He said the country would work on improving the social security net, increasing people's disposable income, and also on people's culturally- and traditionally-inherent spending habits in boosting consumer spending.

"The country has made strategic arrangements in all three areas to boost the spending," said the minister.

China is aiming to establish grocery stores with standard services in all of the country's villages in five years, and also help farmers to sell their produce, he said.

In cities, the government will accelerate the service industry, and have convenient services make their way into every urban community and every household, Chen said.

In addition, China will develop diversified forms of commercial services and promote more consumption among urban population, he added.

"So we expect that China's domestic consumption will continue to report fast growth in the foreseeable future," Chen said.


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