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World Bank chief says China to meet 7.5% growth target
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Sept 15, 2013

China confirms new gas pipeline through Tajikistan
Dushanbe, Tajikistan (AFP) Sept 14, 2013 - China's Xi Jinping at a regional summit signed a deal to build a gas pipeline through the impoverished ex-Soviet country of Tajikistan, Tajik television reported Saturday.

The pipeline will transport gas from energy-rich Turkmenistan to China in as part of a huge supply deal.

"Carrying out this project will allow us to attract more than $3 billion of direct investments from Chin into the economy of Tajikistan," said the press service of Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon.

It will supply China with 25-30 billion cubic metres of oil per year, the press service said.

China is eyeing the vast oil and gas resources of ex-Soviet Central Asia for its fast-growing domestic economy and is also keen to assert political influence in a region that was dominated by Moscow for decades.

Xi and Putin met at a regional security conference held by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Bishkek.

The new pipeline is due for completion in 2016 and will run for more than 400 kilometres (250 miles) within Tajikistan.

The mountainous country is the poorest ex-Soviet republic and dependent on remittances from its nationals doing manual labour in Russia.

Xi is carrying out a four-nation tour of Central Asia.

China is likely to achieve its growth target of 7.5 percent this year despite planned structural reforms to rebalance the world's second largest economy, the World Bank president said Sunday.

Jim Yong Kim is making a four-day visit focusing on issues relating to carbon emission reductions and China's urbanisation push.

"We think the growth (for China this year) will be at about 7.5 percent," Kim told a press conference in Shanghai on the first day of his visit.

"The data from August suggests that China will reach its goal of 7.5 percent."

Earlier this month the government announced a series of better-than-expected indicators for August, including strong exports and industrial output, that pointed to a pick-up in the domestic economy.

China's economy expanded 7.7 percent last year, its slowest growth since 1999.

Growth eased to 7.5 percent in April-June, from 7.7 percent in the first quarter of this year and 7.9 percent in the final three months of 2012.

Authorities have so far been reluctant to introduce large-scale stimulus measures. But they have pledged to push forward structural reforms to shift the economy from dependence on big-ticket investments and more towards consumer demand as the key growth engine.

"The government is committed to financial-sector reforms and also fiscal policy reforms that we think will pave the way for meeting the long-term growth," Kim told reporters in Shanghai.

"We think this is the right path."

China is preparing an "experimental" free trade zone (FTZ) in its commercial hub Shanghai as it tries to promote economic reforms.

Unfettered exchange of the yuan currency will be allowed within the proposed zone, according to a draft plan seen by AFP.

"I think it's a very positive development," Kim said of the FTZ. "This free trade zone will allow China to become more competitive."


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