BEIJING: China is aiming to expand its economy by around 6.5 percent in 2017, Premier Li Keqiang said in remarks prepared for delivery at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament on Sunday.
That compares with a 2016 economic growth target of 6.5 to 7 percent.
Top leaders at the National People's Congress are tolerating slightly slower economic growth this year to give them more room to push through some painful reforms to deal with a rapid build-up in debt.
A lending binge and increased government spending last year have fuelled worries about high debt levels and an overheating housing market.
China's gross domestic product grew 6.7 percent in 2016, the slowest in 26 years.
China also set a budget deficit target of 3 percent of gross domestic product for 2017, the country's finance ministry said in its work plan unveiled at the meeting, in line with the target set a year earlier.
It set a fiscal deficit target for the year of 2.38 trillion yuan ($345.16 billion).
Last year, Beijing set a 2016 budget deficit target of 3 percent of GDP. Sources told Reuters in January that policymakers had in December set a 3 percent deficit target for 2017. - Reuters