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Ex US commerce secretary praises China's shift to service sector

(Shanghai Daily)

09:33, June 08, 2013

The Chinese government has come up with some "good" prescriptions after identifying the country's growth problems, said former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson today.

"The priority of the Chinese government right now is to re-invigorate the reforms," Paulson said at the Fortune Global Forum 2013 now being held in Chengdu, western Sichuan Province. "The reforms should be accelerated to address daunting challenges such as too much savings, excessive reliance on investment, and a rapidly aging population.

"The Chinese new leadership has been doing well in recognizing the problems," Paulson said, adding that it is correct for the country to try to shift the gear to the service sector.

But more efforts should be done to further open the markets, especially the financial market, and to force state-owned enterprises to engage more in competition as well as to boost the private sector where jobs come from, he said.

"To grow 7 percent or 7.5 percent in GDP, it really does not matter that much," Paulson said.

The Chinese government has lowered this year's growth target to 7.5 percent from 8 percent in the previous eight years, showing more tolerance for a slower growth rate amid calls for faster economic restructuring.

The country's new leadership is expected to unveil a new round of economic reforms later this year, including possible policies for tax-sharing with local governments, transfer of land ownership, and decentralized government.

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