By Leika Kihara
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - China's economy can maintain sustainable rates of growth despite global uncertainties, Vice President Wang Qishan said on Wednesday, days after the world's second-largest economy posted its weakest expansion in nearly three decades.
In a remark apparently aimed at the United States, Wang also urged countries to uphold multilateralism and "respect the independent choices" of each other on technological innovation.
"There will be a lot of uncertainties in 2019, but China's economy will continue to achieve sustainable growth," Wang told delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
"Speed does matter. But what really matters is the quality and efficiency of our economic development," he said.
China does not see its economic expansionary cycle coming to an end, Wang added, seeking to dispel market concerns that faltering domestic demand and bruising U.S. tariffs could spark a major slowdown ahead.
Growing signs of weakness in China - which has generated nearly a third of global growth in recent years - have fueled anxiety about risks to the world economy and overshadowed the gathering of business and political elites at the Alpine resort.
"Now, we do face a lot of imbalances," Wang said, urging n countries to take measures to combat them. "What we need to do is to make the pie bigger" instead of bickering over how to divide it, he said.
CONFRONTATION HARMS BOTH
His comments came after data on Monday showed China's economy cooled in the fourth quarter, dragging 2018 growth to the lowest in nearly three decades and pressuring Beijing to roll out more stimulus to avert a sharper slowdown.
With no quick end in sight to U.S.-China trade frictions, Chinese finance ministry officials said on Wednesday they would ramp up fiscal spending this year to spur growth.
With a March 1 deadline approaching to reach an agreement or risk an escalation of U.S. tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, the two sides are still far apart on key structural elements critical for a deal.
The United States, for one, accuses China of stealing intellectual property and forcing U.S. companies to share technology when they do business in the country.
In an apparent retort to such accusations, Wang said it was "imperative to respect national sovereignty and refrain from seeking technological hegemony, interfering in other countries' domestic affairs, and conducting, shielding or protecting technology-enabled activities that undermine other countries' national security".
But, in more conciliatory comments, he said the two economies had become "indispensable" for each other and that confrontation would harm both sides.
"We need to uphold multilateralism, engage in extensive dialogue and cooperation based on mutual respect and mutual trust, and jointly build a system of rules for technology," he said.
(Additional reporting by Meg Shen in Hong Kong and Lee Chyen Yee in Singapore; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Gareth Jones)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Jan 24, 2019 00:05:39 IST