BEIJING—China’s new Premier Li Qiang warned Monday it would be “no easy task” for the country to hit its annual growth target, already one of Beijing’s lowest in decades.
“I’m afraid that reaching our growth target of around five percent will be no easy task, and will require that we redouble our efforts,” Li said at a press conference in the Chinese capital.
The modest figure “has been determined after a comprehensive consideration of various factors”, Li said in front of assembled domestic and international media as the annual meeting of China’s rubber-stamp parliament drew to a close.
He warned of “many new challenges” to growth, but added that he thought most people “don’t fix their sights every day” on China’s GDP figures.
Instead, they care more about “specific issues close to them” such as housing, employment, income, education and health, he said.
Li, one of newly reanointed President Xi Jinping’s closest allies, was confirmed as premier on Saturday in a nearly unanimous vote during a meeting of the National People’s Congress.
He has taken over from Li Keqiang, who served in the position during Xi’s first decade in power.
Before handing the reins to his successor and near-namesake, Li Keqiang announced at the opening of the NPC that China would aim to grow its GDP by “around five percent” this year.
The world’s second-largest economy expanded by just three percent last year, one of its weakest performances in decades, as Covid curbs and a grinding property crisis chipped away at economic vitality.