China's reforms reducing hard landing risk: Premier Li

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks during a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Tianjin, China.
Kim Kyung-Hoon | AFP | Getty Images
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks during a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Tianjin, China.

China's structural reforms are improving the quality of the country's economic growth and helping reduce the risk of a hard landing, Premier Li Keqiang told the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum in Tianjin Wednesday.

"Instead of adopting strong economic stimulus or easing monetary policy, we have vigorously promoted reform and economic readjustment," he said.

"The measures…enable us to prevent major [growth] fluctuations and make a hard landing even less possible."

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China's economy expanded an annual 7.5 percent in the second quarter after growing 7.4 percent in the first quarter, its slowest pace in six quarters. Beijing has set a 7.5 percent growth target for the full year.

Li said while China's economy faces downward pressure, "growth is within the proper range even if it is slightly higher or lower than the 7.5 percent," reflecting flexibility around the growth target.

He stressed the government's key focus remains on rebalancing the economy and job creation, not short-term fluctuations in economic indicators.

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Despite the economic slowdown between January and August, unemployment was kept around 5 percent in 31 big and medium sized cities., he said. More than 9.7 million urban jobs were created, 100,000 more compared with the same period last year.

"We have introduced reforms to investment financing, taxation and logistics systems, and further opened the gate for the development of the service sector and other emerging industries. All the measures have been vital in fostering and increasing job opportunities," he said.

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Reform agenda

Over the next four months, deepening fiscal and financial sector reform will be a top priority for Beijing.

Among the initiatives, he government plans to start encouraging non-state-owned banks to set up in China" and continue its efforts for developing a multi-tiered capital market.

The government will also continue to focus on "tackling deep-seated structural problems, increase the supply of public goods, increase efficient investment, household consumption and nurture new growth areas."

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Foreign investment climate

Premier Li also pledged to maintain a policy of stability towards foreign investment amid increasing criticism over the country's protectionist measures.

''We will improve our business environment to attract more foreign businesses and investment," he said.

China has embarked on an antitrust campaign in recent months, investigating dozens of foreign enterprises including heavyweights like Microsoft and Audi.

A report by the U.S.-China Business Council released last week showed that 86 percent of its member companies are concerned about Beijing's anti-monopoly enforcement activity, with 30 percent fearing it will be used against them.