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Frankness encouraged at opinion-soliciting symposium

Updated: Jan 17,2019 5:19 PM

The government must listen to the complaints of the people and the market and encourage them to speak out to achieve consensus and motivate society, Premier Li Keqiang said at a symposium to solicit advice for the 2019 government work report on Jan 15.

The symposium was attended by mostly experts and business leaders. “Straightforwardness is all right,” the Premier said.

Yu Yongding, a scholar from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, suggested the government speed up infrastructure investment, implement more positive financial policies, and put preventing economy slowdown as the top priority. “Without the necessary growth rate, every index will go down, as well as structure adjustment and economic system reform,” he said.

Ma Huaide, vice-president of China University of Political Science and Law, said a supervision mechanism should be established in the government system, to target dereliction in the process of building governments under the rule of law.

Tao Dong from Credit Suisse suggested the government work report emphasize boosting investors’ confidence, giving definite expectations of the market.

Hearing their suggestions, Premier Li said the economy will remain within a reasonable range, with fluctuations, but no drastic ups and downs are allowed.

China will stick to the basic principle of seeking progress while maintaining stability, continue supply-side structural reform, encourage innovation and improve macro-control, the Premier said. Reform and opening-up will be promoted, and so will high-quality development.

Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, said the government should make more efforts to cut taxes, develop the capital market and financial system, and improve government administration.

Ma’s speech was appreciated by the Premier, who said that during the opinion-soliciting period of the report, voices from the public and market should be given timely feedback in policy adjustment.

Premier Li spoke in depth with Liu Mingzhong, chairman of China First Heavy Industries, and Chen Tianshi, founder and CEO of Cambricon Technologies Corp, about Northeast revival, SOEs’ reform and AI industries, and he urged related departments to take follow-up actions.

After the discussion, the Premier offered an analysis on the pros and cons of the current economic picture. With President Xi Jinping’s leadership and full efforts in implementation of the State Council’s decisions, China’s economy has achieved great progress, he said.

Despite the progress, downward pressure also indicates people’s lack of confidence in certain fields, which had a negative impact on market expectations, the Premier said. So attention should be paid to cope with any challenges arising from that.

“The key to relieve downward pressure is to stimulate the market’s vitality through optimizing the business environment, especially for private enterprises, small and micro-sized enterprises, and emphasizing the role of innovation in transforming the traditional businesses mode in SOEs,” said the Premier.

“The new industries, new forms of businesses and new models driven by market demand have become main sources of additional employment, contributing a third of the economic growth. Meanwhile, inclusive and prudent supervision are also called for to ensure healthy growth under the market with new drivers.”

Premier Li also said domestic potential should be further unleashed through targeting urgent needs for people’s well-being, upgrading public services to promote infrastructure investment and encourage more domestic consumption.