BEIJING (AP) — China's economy is shifting to a "new normal" of slower but more stable growth and has the resiliency to overcome any bumps in the road, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Sunday.
Xi also touted the benefits of Chinese development to the world in a speech to Asian business leaders gathered in Beijing ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Monday and Tuesday.
China's outbound investment will exceed $1.25 trillion over the next 10 years, while China will import more than $10 trillion worth of goods and send more than 500 million tourists abroad over next five years, Xi said.
"For the Asia-Pacific and the world at large, China's development will generate huge opportunities and benefits and hold lasting and infinite promise," Xi said.
At the APEC summit of 21 economies including the U.S., Japan, Russia, and Mexico, China is spearheading a free trade initiative — the Free-Trade Area of the Asia Pacific — seen as part of Beijing's efforts to counter U.S. domination of global trade and financial regulation.
The summit also gives opportunity for regional democracy, including a possible ice-breaking meeting between leaders of China and Japan after two years of tensions in an island dispute that raised concerns of a military confrontation between Asia's two largest economies.
China's economy grew by 7.3 percent in the third quarter, the lowest level in five years. The International Monetary Fund says China should lower its growth target to no more than 7 percent for next year, while the Conference Board, a New York-based research group, predicted that China's economic growth would decelerate to 4 percent a year between 2020 and 2025.
However, Xi said the economy remains robust, with strong job growth, low inflation, rising incomes and a shift away from investment to services and high-tech manufacturing. China is also shifting to a consumption-driven economy, reducing the importance of investment and government inputs and decreasing its dependence on export markets, Xi said.
"Under the new normal conditions, China's economic growth has become more stable and driven by more diverse forces," Xi said at the opening ceremony of the APEC CEO Summit. The world's No. 2 economy has shifted down a gear from the torrid rates of the previous decade, but remains among the world's most dynamic, he said.
Addressing concerns about further declines in growth, Xi said China recognized emerging risks but described them as "not that formidable."
"Resilience best equips the Chinese economy against risks," Xi said.