China's Li pledges more reform, says debt under control

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has pledged to press ahead with an overhaul of the state-dominated economy and financial markets despite slowing growth and said the country's rising debt levels are under control.

Speaking at a news conference, Li said Wednesday the communist government is confident it can carry out plans to shrink bloated steel and coal industries while still meeting its economic growth target of 6.5 to 7 percent. He promised to make it easier to set up private businesses.

Li promised to make China's financial system more market-oriented. He acknowledged concerns about rising debt levels and potential bad loans at banks but expressed confidence authorities can "defuse debt risks" due to strong reserves at banks and high savings levels.