Monday 29 December 2014

Days of breakneck growth over as China vows to wage 'war' on pollution

Published 06/03/2014 | 02:30

Chinese stewardesses pose for photos in front of the Great Hall of the People during the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing.

CHINA has sent its strongest signal yet that its days of chasing breakneck economic growth are over, promising to wage a "war" on pollution and reduce the pace of investment to a decade-low as it pursues more sustainable expansion. In a State of the Union-style address to an annual parliament meeting that began yesterday, Premier Li Keqiang said China aimed to expand its economy by 7.5pc this year, the highest among the world's major powers, although he stressed that growth would not get in the way of reforms.

In carefully crafted language that suggested Beijing had thought hard about leaving the forecast unchanged from last year, Mr Li said the world's second-largest economy would pursue reforms stretching from finance to the environment, even as it seeks to create jobs and wealth.

DEBT

After 30 years of red-hot double-digit growth that has lifted millions out of poverty but also polluted the country's air and water and saddled the nation with ominous debt levels, China wants to change tack and rebalance its economy.

Idle factories will be shut, private investment encouraged, government red-tape cut and work on a new environmental protection tax speeded up to create a greener economy powered by consumption rather than investment, according to Mr Li.

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