|Premier Wen says "stabilizing growth" is top priority|
BEIJING, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Premier Wen Jiabao said Tuesday that stabilizing economic growth is the most pressing matter currently facing China.
Policies and measures to stabilize economic growth currently include boosting consumption, diversifying exports and promoting investment, Wen said while meeting representatives from research institutes and companies on Monday and Tuesday.
The emphasis on investment to shore up growth comes as the world's second-largest economy is being challenged with slumping external demand and low consumption at home.
Wen said the structure, quality and cost-effectiveness of investment should be given greater importance, adding that investment should be used to improve livelihoods and help the country develop scientifically.
China customs said Tuesday that exports rose 11.3 percent year on year to 180.21 billion U.S. dollars in June, slowing from 15.3 percent in May. Imports increased 6.3 percent to 148.48 billion U.S. dollars, also down from the 12.7-percent growth registered a month earlier.
"As a developing nation, China needs to maintain a certain level of economic growth so as to provide a foundation for economic and social development, as well as the improvement of people's livelihoods," the premier said.
The country's economic growth expanded 8.1 percent in the first quarter of the year, marking the slowest quarterly growth in almost three years. Statistical authorities are scheduled to release economic growth data for the second quarter on Friday, with analysts expecting a growth rate of 7.5 percent.
Wen reiterated the government's priority of stabilizing growth after the State Council, or China's Cabinet, first talked of prioritizing growth stability in May amid fears of decelerating growth in the coming months.
Wen said that while internal and external economic factors are complicated, China needs to strengthen its confidence in stabilizing growth.
Company representatives who met with the premier came from the auto, investment, commercial trade, logistics, e-commerce, new energy and real estate sectors. Wen said their opinions will help the central government create macroeconomic policies that better suit reality.
Wen encouraged the enterprises to attach more importance to the research and development of new technology and the cultivation of newly-emerging industries.
He said reforms for fiscal and financial policies should be carried out alongside efforts to stabilize growth.
The country will continue to implement proactive fiscal policies with a focus on structural tax reductions in order to reduce tax burdens for small- and micro-sized firms, according to Wen.
Wen also called for improved implementation of government guidelines to encourage private investment in state-monopolized sectors such as railways, municipal infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, health and education.
Wen said economic restructuring and the transformation of China's economic growth pattern should be pushed forward so as to make economic growth more vigorous and sustainable.
China's central bank announced surprise cuts in the benchmark interest rate for the second time in a month earlier this year to stabilize growth.