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China projects 8 percent growth in 2010

BEIJING, March 5 (UPI) -- China's economy this year is expected to grow about 8 percent from last year, while inflation is held at 3 percent, Premier Wen Jiabao said Friday.

Presenting his government work report at the opening of parliament's annual session, Wen said the country expects a "crucial but complicated" year for economic recovery, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

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The 8 percent growth target will focus on "transformation of economic growth pattern and adjustment of economic structure," he said.

Wen said while the environment for development will be better than last year, China "will still face a complicated situation" resulting from the global financial crisis. However, the Xinhua report quoted experts as saying the growth target will be achieved.

Senior economist Zhuang Jian at the Asian Development Bank said while China struggled last year to meet the 8 percent target, it will be easier to achieve this year as conditions improve at home and abroad.

"Growth is not a priority. Even 9 percent or 10 percent of growth are within reach in the short-term, but that is no longer desirable since China has learnt from the financial crisis that the previous model is not sustainable," Zhuang said.

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China's gross domestic product rose 8.7 percent in 2009 from 2008, more than the government's 8 percent target.

The inflation target of 3 percent takes into account factors such as price fluctuations of major international commodities and big increases in domestic money and credit supply, Wen said. The target compares with a decline of 0.7 percent last year resulting from slowdown and declining prices.

"The 3 percent target is mild, which eases inflation fears," Zhuang said, Xinhua said.

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