Li Keqiang

Chinese premier takes economy’s temperature in talks with entrepreneurs and economists

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 January, 2017, 9:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 January, 2017, 11:34am

Premier Li Keqiang has solicited opinions from company bosses and economists before drafting the fourth annual government work report for his first five-year tenure as he offered a glimpse into the thinking of the country’s economic affairs.

According to Xinhua, the premier underscored the importance of improving the foreseeability and ensuring accuracy in policymaking during the meeting with the business elites and government think tankers on Friday, pledging to maintain a stable economic growth despite grappling with stern challenges from geopolitical risks and downbeat mood.

“We must cement our confidence while enhancing risk awareness to be prepared to the opportunities and challenges,” he said. “We will do our utmost to achieve a stable economic growth with efficiency and quality.”

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The world’s second-largest economy is expected to face a depreciating yuan, a weaker export, uncertain global commodity prices, and a potential trade friction with the United States after President-elect Donald Trump comes to power.

In the annual government report, the cabinet led by the premier is supposed to review the economic movements for the past year and map out new policy directions for the coming 12 months.

The report will be presented to the National People’s Congress during the annual session in March.

It will be the fourth report for Li’s first five-year term since he was elected the mainland’s top economic policymaker in 2013.

The year of 2017 will be the crucial period for Li, the first Chinese premier to hold a doctorate in economics, to achieve the goal of transforming the mainland economy into a new pattern driven by consumer spending, rather than exports and investment.

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Beijing is currently focusing on containing capital outflows with a series of foreign-exchange controls.

The domestic economy is also mired in a high debt ratio surrounding the local governments and a slumbering stock market which makes it difficult for companies to seek direct financing.

The premier, a strong advocate for using internet technologies to bolster consumer spending and enhancing business efficiency, continued to support the growth of e-commerce businesses.

A highlight of the meeting is that Hu Weiwei, chief executive of Mobike, an internet-based start-up offering bike-sharing services, was given a chance to share his views with the premier.

It is believed that part of the suggestions by the economists and business executives will be studied by the cabinet in compiling the government report.