China pared the nation's economic growth target to 7.5 percent from an 8 percent goal in place since 2005, a signal that leaders are determined to cut reliance on exports and capital spending in favor of consumption.

Officials will also aim for inflation of about 4 percent this year, unchanged from the 2011 goal, according to a state- of-the-nation speech that Premier Wen Jiabao delivered to about 3,000 lawmakers at the annual meeting of the National People's Congress in Beijing today.

Asian stocks fell as Wen, 69, said the nation needs to shift to a more sustainable and efficient economic model and achieve "higher-quality development over a longer period of time." China must boost the incomes of ordinary people, count less on exports and investment and reduce the state's role in favor of private enterprise, Zong Qinghou, the country's second- richest man, said in a March 3 interview.

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