Chinese leaders affirm commitment to slower growth, promise innovation, help to poor

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

Chinese leaders have affirmed their commitment to a "new normal" of slower economic growth in 2015 at an annual planning meeting and promised to help the poor and promote market-oriented reforms.

A series of brief statements carried by official media Thursday gave no official growth target for next year but private sector economists expect it to be lowered to 7 percent from the 7.5 percent level of recent years.

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Following an explosive decade-long expansion, Communist leaders are trying to steer the world's second-largest economy to more sustainable growth based on domestic consumption instead of trade and investment.

They pledged Thursday to "take initiative to adapt to the new normal," promote innovation and "structural adjustment" and ensure access to schools and public services for children and poor families.