China has set its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target for 2014 at 7.5 percent, the same as for 2013, and will keep consumer inflation at around 3.5 percent, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced.
GDP growth, inflation and employment are all key factors that should be taken into consideration when assessing economic conditions, Lou Jiwei, China's Finance Minister, said at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature.
Noting that the report used "around" for those targets, Lou said that a growth of 7.3 percent or 7.2 percent can still be counted within that range.
"Whether GDP growth is to the left or to the right of 7.5 percent, that is not very important. What is important is job creation. “ he added.
Lou said the country's ongoing tax reforms in the service industry will help boost jobs in the sector, which has contributed a substantial part of jobs created last year.
China has for years set annual growth targets to drive its centrally-planned economy. But these targets are usually exceeded by the government in its pursuit of double-digit growth.
However, as China seeks to revamp its maturing economy and move it towards slower but better-quality growth, away from exports- and investment-driven expansion, the annual growth targets are taking on a new meaning.
China is aiming to expand the economy by about 7.5 percent this year, slightly below last year's actual expansion of 7.7 percent. At the same time, the government declared a war on pollution, and promised to slow investment growth to a decade-low.