China calls for boost in domestic consumption


BEIJING (AP) -- China's premier has called for a boost in domestic consumption as China looks for new engines of expansion as its economic growth slows and overseas markets remain weak.

In a speech Monday to open the annual National People's Congress, Premier Wen Jiabao said the government planned for growth of 7.5 percent this year. The target is below previous goals and signals that the government wants a slightly slower pace of growth as it tries to rebalance the world's second-largest economy.

Wen said the government will boost spending on social services and raise incomes for middle- and low-income groups, as well as expand consumer credit.

He also said subsidies for agriculture would be boosted. Just under 50 percent of China's 1.3 billion people live in rural areas.