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Premier Li Keqiang focuses on consumption

By DING QINGFEN (China Daily)

08:32, March 26, 2013

Premier Li Keqiang explains his late arrival to a meeting of business leaders of major companies who attended the China Development Forum on Monday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (China Daily / Wu Zhiyi )

$10 trillion boost for imports as premier guarantees fairness

Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday that China is likely to import as much as $10 trillion worth of commodities and services in the next five years to boost domestic consumption.

Li renewed the nation's pledge to maintain its open policy, and promised a further opening up of services and industries related with energy-saving and environmental protection.

In response to concerns expressed by multinational companies about the investment environment, Li also pointed out that the government will ensure foreign businesses fair access to the market and a level playing field in terms of competition.

Li was speaking during a meeting with representatives and executive officers from about 100 multinationals who attended the two-day China Development Forum in Beijing.

During the forum, the delegates submitted a report on how foreign businesses could get involved in facilitating the world's second-largest economy in achieving sustainable and stable growth amid the European debt crisis. The report consists of six parts; innovation, urbanization, financial and bond markets, industrial upgrades and business climate.

"China will expand its opening-up policy, and the nation needs to promote domestic consumption through continuing to open up its markets," Li said in his closing remarks.

The nation will prioritize opening up its service sector to foreign companies, he said. "It (opening-up) has to be realized step-by-step."

Energy-saving and environmental protection are other key areas where domestic companies lag behind their foreign peers and requires "cooperation" with them, he added.

At the first press conference after taking up his post earlier this month, the newly elected premier said the highest priority for China is to maintain sustain-able economic growth and he pledged to advance economic reform including tapping the potential of domestic demand.

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