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Lawmakers call for careful control of economic risks

Updated: 2014-08-28 20:25

BEIJING - Chinese lawmakers applauded the favorable economic performance so far this year but stressed careful moves to control risks, when discussing key fiscal reports Thursday.

Members of the Standing Committee of the NPC, China's top-level lawmakers, reviewed the 2014 budget as well as national economic and social development reports during the ongoing bi-monthly legislative session.

It is difficult to realize a stable economic growth and make progress in economic reform in face of very complicated domestic and international situations, said Wu Xiaoling, member of the NPC Standing Committee and former vice governor of the People's Bank of China.

"The reports no doubt raise our confidence for this year's economy," she said.

In the first half of this year, the country's economy grew by 7.4 percent year on year with an unemployment rate of 4.08 percent, both of which met expectations, according to the report given by Xu Shaoshi, minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission, on Wednesday.

From January to July, a total of 8.58 million new jobs were added, 140,000 more than the figure released at the same time last year.

Yuan Si, another lawmaker, said he was impressed by the progress in environmental protection this year.

In the first half of this year, the country's energy intensity, energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP), dropped by 4.2 percent year on year while the emission of major air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide as well as chemical oxygen demand (COD) were reduced as well.

The density of PM2.5, or particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, has dropped 7.9 percent year on year in 74 heavily-polluted Chinese cities.

However, Xu also admitted that China's economy is facing multiple domestic and international challenges and there are things to be worried about behind the positive signs.

The government should pay more attention to small enterprises, which have widely suffered financial difficulties, Wu warned.

She suggested the government further reduce taxes on these small firms to ease their burden and release their dynamics. Yao Sheng, another NPC Standing Committee member, said local government debt was another potential risk and that the government should try their best to manage the size of debt and handle them in line with laws.

The latest official figures for local government debt were a direct debt of 20.69 trillion yuan (3.4 trillion US dollars) as of last June and another 9.5 trillion yuan in debts with limited liabilities.

Other lawmakers also expressed concerns about the slowdown of fiscal revenues and increase of spending.

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