China sets 2018 GDP growth target at 6.5 per cent

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 05, 2018, 10.43 AM (IST)

After announcing 8.1 per cent hike in its defence expenditure for 2018, China on Monday set its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate for 2018 at around 6.5 per cent.

The target which is same as of last year was announced by Premier Li Keqiang in his annual work report as the country started its parliament session.

The world's second-largest economy aimed to reduce risks to its financial system from a rapid build-up in debt.

After the ceremonial opening attended by President Xi Jinping and around 3,000 delegates, Premier Li outlined the government's achievements last year and targets set for this year. 

Given China's economic fundamentals and capacity for job creation, the GDP growth of around 6.5 per cent will enable China to achieve relatively full employment, Li said in his report.

The report also said China would clamp down on the kind of financially risky operations which have threatened to cause the collapse of major companies.

It follows last month's steps by the government to take control of insurance and financial giant Anbang.

China aims to maintain inflation level at around three per cent and create over 11 million new urban jobs. 

China also announced to lower import tariffs on products including automobiles and some everyday consumer goods to encourage imports. 

"We will open our market wider to promote industry upgrading and more balanced development of trade, and to provide Chinese consumers with a broader range of choices," he said.

The central and western regions will continue to be the priority for major infrastructure construction, he added.