Premier: China needs 'strong measures' to support economy

BEIJING — China's top economic official says the country needs "strong measures" to counteract downward pressure on growth but Beijing plans to promote market-oriented reforms instead of relying on more lending and deficit government spending.

Premier Li Keqiang, speaking in a nationally televised news conference, said Friday the communist government will cut taxes and take other steps to "boost the vitality of the market."

Li said, "We certainly need to take strong measures to cope with rising uncertainties that we face this year." However, he added that boosting lending or government spending might "lead to future problems."

Li expressed confidence Beijing can achieve its annual growth target of 6 to 6.5 percent. Economic growth last year fell to a three-decade low of 6.6 percent.

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