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China’s economic planner confident of 6.5% annual growth

Updated: Mar 6,2018 1:18 PM     Xinhua

Head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) He Lifeng (C), deputy heads of the NDRC Zhang Yong (2nd R) and Ning Jizhe (2nd L) take questions during a news conference on innovation and improvement of macro-economic control and promotion of high quality development for the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 6, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — China’s economic planner expressed confidence in achieving the 6.5 percent annual growth target on March 6 as domestic consumption is expected to become a stronger force driving economic development.

The 6.5 percent growth target set in this year’s Government Work Report is “attainable” through hard works, said He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, citing China’s economic momentum, resilience, sustainability and market potential.

With further development in emerging industries and modern services, consumption is likely to contribute around 60 percent to economic growth in 2018, He told a news conference on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the 13th National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature.

In 2017, consumption contributed 58.8 percent to growth, nearly four percentage points higher than five years ago.

Investment will contribute one third to this year’s growth as China will also push forward investment, especially on the real economy, he said.

For foreign trade, he said it will grow steadily and support 8 to 9 percent of economic growth as long as the world economy keeps a stable growth.

Through efforts like hosting the first China International Import Expo this year, China is determined to open wider to the world and increase consumption of its fast-growing middle-income group, he said.

He also expected further progress in the supply-side structural reform on basis of sound achievements in tasks like capacity reduction. Industries including plate glass, cement and electrolytic aluminum will be target of the country’s next stage of capacity cuts.

The country’s economy expanded 6.9 percent year on year in 2017, picking up for the first time in seven years and well above the government target of around 6.5 percent.

China has slashed over 50 million tonnes of ineffective steel capacity and 250 million tonnes of coal last year, both outperforming annual targets.

Another 30 million tonnes of steel capacity and 150 million tonnes of coal capacity will be cut in 2018, according to the government work report delivered to the annual legislative session on March 5.