Wen sets 7.5 percent growth target in 2013

March 5, 2013 at 1:29 AM
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BEIJING, March 5 (UPI) -- Outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao, inaugurating China's annual Parliament session, Monday set an economic growth target of 7.5 percent for this year.

Delivering the government's work report at the opening of the National People's Congress, Wen said inflation would be kept at around 3.5 percent in 2013, and promised to create more than 9 million new urban jobs and keep urban jobless rate at or below 4.6 percent, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The current Parliament session is important as China's new leadership, chosen last November under the Communist country's once-in-a-decade leadership transition, will take full charge.

Xi Jinping, currently the new general secretary of the Communist Party and leader of the powerful seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, will also take over as the country's president during the current session, succeeding Hu Jintao.

Li Keqiang, an economist, will succeed Wen Jiabao as premier.

Xinhua said nearly 3,000 NPC deputies from across the country attended the opening session.

"Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as general secretary, let us unite as one and work hard to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," Wen said in presenting his report.

His report said the government will work to ensure the per capita income of the citizens increases in step with economic growth.

While saying China remains "in an important period of strategic opportunities," Wen also warned of difficulties and problems facing China, including "unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development" and "increasing conflict between the economic growth and environment" as well as the conflict between downward pressure on economic growth and excess production capacity.

"The development gap between urban and rural areas and between regions is large, and so are income disparities between individuals," Wen noted, adding the government has not fully carried out the transformation of its functions and some areas are prone to corruption.

Suggesting the new Cabinet change the country's growth model, Wen called for expanding domestic demand as a long-term strategy for development. China's export-driven economy has come under pressure due to the global economic crisis, and policymakers want to reduce reliance on exports.

He also encouraged the next government to be led by Xi to deepen reform and opening up with "greater political courage and vision."

On Monday at a panel discussion, Xi, regarded as a reformist, urged boosting innovation-powered development to make China an economic heavyweight.

He said Chinese people should strengthen confidence in innovation and reform the ways in which research and development systems are managed.

In the past, Xi has also spoken strongly about rooting out official corruption at all levels.

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