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China signals focus on reforms

Beijing, March 5, 2014

China provided its strongest signal yet that it will shift toward balanced and clean economic growth, promising to reduce the pace of investment to the lowest in a decade and wage a "war on pollution".

In a State of the Union style address to China's annual parliament meeting that began on Wednesday, Premier Li Keqiang said Beijing aims to grow the world's second-largest economy by 7.5 percent this year, the same as last year's target. Analysts have said maintaining the target after years of breakneck expansion signals that Beijing will remain focused on reforms and rebalancing the economy.

Li said enacting reforms was his first priority even as he keeps an eye on growth. Idle factories will be shut, and work on a new environmental protection tax will be sped up to create a greener and more balanced economy powered by consumption rather than investment, he said. - Reuters




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