|Chinese President Xi Jinping (C), also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, joins a panel discussion of deputies to the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) from east China's Shanghai, in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2014. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)
BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday urged the financial hub of Shanghai to continue its leading role in spearheading the country's ongoing reform and opening-up drive.
Xi made the remarks while taking part in a panel discussion with a delegation from Shanghai during the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC).
He encouraged officials to make bold moves in the Shanghai free trade zone (FTZ), launched last year as a test bed for deepening market-oriented reforms, to explore applicable systems for nationwide replication.
China aims to liberalize interest rates, facilitate cross-border use of the Chinese yuan and allow individuals in the zone to sidestep China's restrictions on investing in securities abroad.
The FTZ has also been billed as an outpost to test greater liberalization of China's service sector.
Stressing that the FTZ is a national strategy, Xi called for greater efforts in facilitating trade and investment, as well as effective supervision and legal regulation, to achieve concrete results.
"Stress tests should also be carried out to prevent systematic risks, especially from the financial sector," he added.
The president also called for innovations in Shanghai's social management and governance.
The 12th NPC, China's parliamentary body, opened its second annual session on Wednesday morning at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.