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World Bank President Says Too Soon for China to Roll Back Stimulus


After meeting with Chinese leaders, including Premier Wen Jiabao, World Bank President Robert Zoellick says he agrees the country should continue expanding the economy instead of looking for an exit strategy from current stimulus spending.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick says China is pleased with its recovery, but leaders recognize there are still large uncertainties. He told reporters in Beijing he is not worried about inflation in China, and agrees China should stay the course with its stimulus policies.

"China's actions have helped the global crisis from getting worse, and I agree with its leaders that it is too early to rollback fiscal and monetary measures," said Zoellick. "Recovery may be here, but it could falter."

Zoellick says to maintain recovery, China should keep markets open and resist protectionism.

In June, the World Bank upped its forecast for China's growth in 2009, from 6.5 percent to 7.2 percent. Zoellick says he predicts China will grow more than eight percent this year.

While he praises China's growth and domestic demand as key contributors to boosting world confidence, he also cautions the financial crisis will come in waves. Therefore, he says Chinese leaders are correct to remain cautious even though the country's economy is growing.

This is Zoellick's third visit to China as World Bank president. Besides discussing China's economic recovery and ways to boost domestic demand, he says a big focus of this trip is potential cooperation between the World Bank and China in Africa.

Zoellick says some World Bank economists, including chief economist Justin Lin, are interested in the possibility of Chinese manufacturing firms investing in Africa beyond resource development and infrastructure. Zoellick spoke with China Commerce Minister Chen Deming about possible cooperation on industrial zones in Africa.

Zoellick says during all his meetings with Chinese leaders he constantly raises the issue of investment in other developing countries.

"For every hour that I spend discussing ways that we could help China's development, we probably also spend an hour discussing ways we can work with China in supporting development elsewhere," he said.

Zoellick says the world cannot rely on the American consumer, and developing countries in places like Africa can offer sources of demand and become future regions of growth.

Zoellick will travel Thursday to Anhui province to visit several World Bank agriculture and forestry projects, as well as a science and technology university. He will also visit an energy-efficient cement plant.

On Friday, the World Bank president leaves China for the G-20 finance ministers meeting in London. There, he says he hopes to press the need for more support for developing countries.

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