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Chinese Economist Predicts GDP Growth of About 10%

Renowned Chinese economist Li Yining said in Beijing on Monday that China's economy might grow by about 10 percent in real terms this year, higher than the government 8-percent target.

The predicted growth, which is lower than last year's 11.4 percent, does not mean a "big slowdown" of the Chinese economy, Li told a group of Chinese and foreign reporters.

Li is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top political advisory body now in its annual full session.

Another CPPCC member, Director Liu Shucheng of the Institute of Economy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences echoed Li's view, saying, "It's out of question that the economy would maintain a growth rate of around 10 percent this year."

Premier Wen Jiabao told the parliament on Wednesday that China's gross domestic product (GDP) should grow by 8 percent on the basis of improving the economic structure, productivity, energy efficiency and environmental protection.

Li also ruled out the possibility that the Chinese economy would slow down soon after the Beijing Olympic Games.

"There is still much space for the Chinese economy to keep growing as the tertiary industry only accounts for 40 percent of China's GDP, compared with the international 70 percent or so," he said.

As for the government target to control consumer price rise at 4.8 percent, Li predicted "the goal could be reached unless international oil price continues to grow or emergencies or severe natural calamities take place."

The economist opposes radical appreciation of the Chinese currency RMB, saying he sees advantages outweigh disadvantages for the steady appreciation of the RMB by a small margin.

(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2008)

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