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Premier delivers pledge on reforms

By CHEN JIA in Beijing and JOSEPH BORIS in Washington (China Daily)

08:05, July 11, 2013

Premier Li Keqiang has vowed to continue focusing on reforms and creating fresh growth engines, displaying unusual tolerance for slower economic growth.

As long as the economy is kept within a reasonable range of growth, the government will be able to make a more focused effort on reform and generate new power for growth in the long run, he said on Tuesday.

His comments came a day before the announcement of a surprise drop in June exports. The decline adds to fears the economic slowdown will worsen.

Exports fell 3.1 percent in June to $174.3 billion, the lowest level since October 2009, the General Administration of Customs said on Wednesday. Imports slid 0.7 percent to $147.2 billion last month.

But when Li met provincial governors from western China in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Tuesday, he said the economy is still proceeding within a reasonable range, without the growth rate falling too low and inflation running too high.

The country is still making steady progress on economic growth and the main indicators are within the reach of this year's target, Li said.

The target for GDP growth for 2013 is 7.5 percent, while that for inflation is no more than 3.5 percent.

Li stressed that China is at a stage where "only economic transformation and upgrading can support sustainable and healthy development".

Macroeconomic policies should balance growth and reforms, considering both short- and long-term goals and avoiding sharp fluctuations in economic development, he said.

Li vowed in particular to support small- and micro- entrepreneurs, as they provide the most employment opportunities.

He also called for enhanced financial support for central and western regions, encouragement for private investment and the continued elimination of outdated production.

Economists said the risk of a further cooling in the world's second-largest economy stems from weaker exports, stubborn industrial overcapacity and a fast-growing debt ratio.

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