Chinese leaders have affirmed their commitment to a “new normal” of slower economic growth next year and promised to promote market-oriented reforms and help the poor.
An official statement Friday following an annual planning meeting led by President Xi Jinping gave no growth target for 2015. But private sector economists expect it to be lowered to 7 percent from the 7.5 percent level of recent years.
The statement listed five goals, including keeping the economy stable and finding new sources of growth, making industry more efficient, speeding up agricultural development and raising incomes. It warned China faces “downward pressure” on growth due to weak global demand and “increasing difficulties for business.”
The plan is the latest stage in efforts by communist leaders to steer the world’s second-largest economy to more sustainable, environmentally friendly growth based on domestic consumption and technology instead of trade and investment.
Growth tumbled to a five-year low of 7.3 percent in the quarter ending in September, barely half the 14.2 percent high of 2007. Chinese leaders have expressed confidence they can manage the slowdown but, in a sign they might worry it is deepening too sharply, unexpectedly cut interest rates Nov. 22 in an effort to prop up growth.
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