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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao predicts 8% economic growth

January 29, 2009|Associated Press

DAVOS, SWITZERLAND — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao brought cautious optimism to the World Economic Forum on Wednesday, predicting that his country will achieve its target of 8% economic growth this year despite the global financial meltdown.

Wen called for enhanced U.S.-China cooperation to address the issue, even as he and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin obliquely criticized the United States, blaming a relentless pursuit of profit for the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Wen conceded that creating 8% growth -- the rate needed to avoid unemployment and social unrest -- was "a tall order." Even so, the rate would be a retrenchment: China's growth in 2008 hit a seven-year low of 9%.

Wen's lightly veiled criticism of the U.S. and Western financial firms came as he listed causes of the financial crisis. He cited "an unsustainable model" of low savings and high consumption, a "blind pursuit of profit" and a "lack of self-discipline" among banking firms as well as regulators' failure to keep up with new strategies.

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