November 9, 2015 / 10:46 AM / 3 years ago

China's Xi calls for strengthening of reform and governance

BEIJING (Reuters) - China must strengthen its reforms and modernize its system of governance over the next five years, President Xi Jinping told a meeting of a key Communist Party body on Monday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the "Forging A Strong Partnership to Enhance Prosperity of Asia" Lecture at the National University of Singapore November 7, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The government will push forward reforms in its free trade zones where it will provide more support for financial experimentation, including loosening market access and further opening the services sector, Xi said at the meeting.

“Further development needs to be based on reforms while progress in reforms gives a strong impetus for development,” Xi was quoted saying.

The government will also push forward the construction of financial infrastructure and work on building advanced think tanks, Xinhua reported.

The meeting was held nearly two weeks after the ruling Communist Party’s key plenum meeting, at which Party leaders discussed the next five-year plan, the blueprint for the country’s social and economic development in the 2016-2020 period.

Xi said last week that China needed to maintain annual economic growth of at least 6.5 percent over the next five years to realize the country’s goal of doubling 2010 GDP and per capita income by 2020.

The economy grew 6.9 percent between July and September from a year earlier, dipping below 7 percent for the first time since the global financial crisis, though some market watchers believe real growth rates are much weaker than government figures suggest.

Reporting by Winni Zhou and Nicholas Heath; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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