China aims to maintain growth pace, fend off unemployment in 5-yr plan

BEIJING, Jumada I 25, 1437, Mar 5, 2016, SPA — China faces a tough battle to keep its economy growing by at least 6.5 percent over the next five years while creating more jobs and restructuring inefficient industries, Reuters quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying while opening China’s annual parliament on Saturday.

Growth of 6.5 percent would mark a ripping pace for most countries but would be the slowest in China in a quarter century as world’s No. 2 economy grapples with gyrating financial markets, softening global trade and efforts to reduce environmental degradation.

“Our country’s development faces more and greater difficulties … so we must be prepared for a tough battle,” Li said.

Li said the country will create 10 million new jobs, address zombie firms through mergers, bankruptcies and debt deals, and hold the urban registered unemployment rate below 4.5 percent in 2016.

10:58 LOCAL TIME 07:58 GMT