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Former Australian FM praises China 7 pct growth forecast

(Xinhua)    16:42, March 05, 2015

SYDNEY, March 5 -- Former Australian foreign minister Bob Carr said on Thursday that China's new economic growth target of 7 percent will still bring great benefits to the world's most populous nation.

Carr's comments follow the opening meeting of the third session of China's 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in which Premier Li Keqiang warned of the "formidable difficulty" in 2015.

Li stressed his confidence in the ongoing reform and delivered the annual government work report, which set this year's economic growth target at 7 percent.

Carr, who is now director of the Australia-China Relations Institute, told Xinhua that China will still add more value to its economy at 7 percent, than ever before.

"Some people say China is growing slower than the past, but growing even at 7 percent is adding more dollars to its economy than it was a few years ago when it was growing at 10 percent," Carr said.

"It is growing at a bigger base at a lower rate but at a bigger base adding more dollars to the economy when percentages were higher."

Carr said Chinese economic growth is being steered successful by the Chinese leadership.

"This is a planned outcome, it's a more mature economy and more mature economies grow more slowly in percentage terms than countries that are just coming out of undeveloped status," Carr said.

Carr said Australia was interested in the key issues coming from the NPC including economic planning, environment policy, foreign policy, anti-corruption campaign, and strengthening of rule of law.

"Anyone that's interested in what's happening in China has to focus on the anti-corruption drive and the comprehensive law reforms," he said.

"This congress is a very important annual event in China. For Australians it is confirmation of all that President Xi Jinping told us when he was here late last year."

"His visit was very successful. He spoke of his vision of strong and prosperous China and spoke about what that would mean for Australia and that was symbolized by the free trade agreement(FTA)."

Carr said China is on a track to build a prosperous, mainly middle class society by 2030 with 860 million more people claiming middle class status than there are today.

"That is a huge opportunity for Australia. That is vast market for Australian food stuffs and for Australian services like education and tourism. It is very good news for Australia," he said.

Carr said the most important opportunity is for economic integration between China and Australia.

"I'd like to see more Chinese investment in Australian food production that means those Australian products will guarantee for a market in China. The FTA has enormous opportunities for Australia. As China becomes more middle class, the opportunities will be vast."

Carr did not think there were major barriers in the China- Australia relationship.

"Certainly China has different political values from those of Australia. It is the first time we have had such a close relationship with a country that has different system of government from our own. That means we have to work harder at understanding one another," he said.

"President Xi's visit last November was a good example of how both countries can commit to a new win-win relationship."

The Australian-China Relations Institute (ACRI)is a think tank dedicated to the relationship between Australia and China.

"We take a positive and optimistic view of that relationship. We do research and carry out opinion polls and we aim to illuminate for both sides what the relationship is," Carr said. Enditem

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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