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China to ensure quality, steady growth: gov't report

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BEIJING, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- China will work to ensure quality and steady economic growth in the second half of 2013 by boosting demand, industrial upgrading and reforms, according to a government report.

According to the State Council's report on the implementation of China's economic and social development plan, to improve the quality and efficiency of the country's economic development will remain a "central task" in the second half of the year.

The report, submitted to the ongoing bimonthly session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee for deliberation, said the country will maintain the consistency and stability of its macroeconomic policies and continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy.

China's economic growth, which was boosted by strong domestic demand in the first six months of the year, was higher than expected, said Xu Shaoshi, who delivered the report on behalf of the State Council on Wednesday. Xu is head of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner.

In the first six months, the country's economic growth hit 7.6 percent, higher than the 7.5 percent target, he said.

Meanwhile, China saw a "moderate and controllable" rise in the consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, and the job market was "generally stable," he said.

MEASURES TO SECURE GROWTH

Xu admitted that China faces "a grave situation" to ensure steady economic growth.

Externally, the country's growth is not only hampered by the sluggish recovery of the global economy, but challenged by mounting trade and investment protectionism against China, according to the official.

Authorities from 15 countries and regions launched 39 investigations on Chinese products in the first half of 2013, according to the report.

To offset the impact of shrinking global demand, China will continue to encourage its more than 1.3 billion consumers to spend, the report says.

The Chinese government will foster new growth areas in the service industry that include nursing, tourism and health care and beef up measures to protect consumers' interests by cracking down on shoddy products.

At the ongoing session, legislators are deliberating changes to the consumer rights law, which will require unconditional returns of purchased goods and impose hefty punishment for false advertising.

To stimulate growth, the government will renovate shantytowns and build more urban infrastructure, energy and transportation projects, according to the report.

Other measures to secure steady economic growth this year include more support to develop e-commerce, increase the income of farmers and deepen industrial restructuring.

According to Xu, the government will promote a housing property tax, keep the RMB exchange rate basically stable at an appropriate and balanced level, and ward off systematic and regional financial risks.

The report also says the government will cut pollution, develop energy-saving and environmentally friendly industries, strengthen the protection of the ecological environment and tackle issues related to people's well-being.

The National People's Congress (NPC) is China's top legislature. The NPC Standing Committee session opened on Monday and will end on Friday.

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