China can cut its economic growth target to 7 percent next year without hurting its labor market, the World Bank said on Wednesday even as it urged Beijing to get rid of rigid growth objectives.
At its thrice-yearly review of the Chinese economy, the World Bank warned China against carrying its “ambitious” 2014 economic growth target of 7.5 percent into next year, saying that such a move would detract from the government’s reform plans.
After 30 years of breakneck, double-digit economic expansion that lifted millions of Chinese from abject poverty but also polluted the nation’s air, land and waterways, China wants to retool its economy to generate slower but better-quality growth.
But the quest to let market forces supplant state planning in running the world’s second-biggest economy would require China to live with less frenzied economic growth rates and income rises, a point stressed by the World Bank.
“Our policy message is the focus should be on reforms rather than meeting specific growth targets,” Karlis Smits, a senior economist at the World Bank office in Beijing, told reporters at a media briefing.
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