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China's economy to maintain high growth: economists(11/09/03)

 China will maintain a high economic growth rate over the next 15 to 20 years, according to economists attending the 2003 China Economic Growth Forum in Suzhou in east China's Jiangsu Province, which opened in Shuzhou, China on Nov.9.
   Nobel laureate Lawrence Klein said China had recorded rapid growth over the past two decades, and its economy would continue to grow strongly in the next 20 years though there might be some slowing down. The economy might grow at six to seven percent instead of eight or nine percent some years, Klein noted.
   Goldman Sachs (Asia) managing director Fred Hu also expressed optimism about the long-term prospects as the country had some positive fundamentals for long-term rapid growth. China had great catch-up potential as the per-capita gross domestic product was still low compared with development nations.
   He said the Chinese economy was backed up by the high proportion of saving deposits and mainly driven by long-term investment, such as infrastructure, the equipment retooling and innovation and housing consumption.
   Hu also said the human resources in China were immense and cheap. The government had accumulated rich experience in economic management and adopted a sound policy environment for economic growth, he noted. Entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and opening up would help the country optimize distribution of resources and further improve productivity. He predicted the improvement of productivity would replace capital accumulation as the major driving force of China's growth in the next 20 years.
   Li Deshui, director of China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), noted that China would be able to maintain a growth rate of seven to eight percent for an unprecedented period of more than 40 years.
   China had developed a relatively strong base of materials, enjoyed a great potential for growth and followed a practical strategy of development, he said. The government had accumulated plentiful experience in macro-economic control and explored a unique route of development with Chinese characteristics.
   Acknowledging that China was accelerating the pace of opening itself to the outside world and implementing the strategy of developing education and science, Li said the country has a sound development environment as it adopted a new ideology on social and economic development.
   Klein said China had already realized the importance of coordinating and balancing quality and quantity of economic growth.This would have great impact on the economic growth, he added.
   The two-day forum was sponsored by the NBS and attended by more than 300 officials, academics and business people from both China and abroad.

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