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China to hold key economic reform meeting Nov 9 to Nov 12

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's leaders will hold a key meeting to discuss deepening financial reforms between November 9 and November 12, the official Xinhua news agency said, as the ruling Communist Party looks to set its economic agenda for the next decade.

The meeting marks the third time China's 200-member Central Committee has gathered since last year's leadership change. Historically, such meetings, known as third plenums, have been a springboard for economic change in China.

The meeting "must be a new historical beginning that comprehensively deepens reforms," Xinhua said on Tuesday, citing a meeting of the elite Politburo.

No details were given on what changes will be pursued and in what manner, but where conditions for reform are ripe change must be rolled out quickly, Xinhua said.

Analysts and investors are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the meeting in the hope that it will outline a growth strategy for the world's No. 2 economy as it matures and enters a stage of slower expansion. However, political reforms are not expected to be a major part of the meeting.

China's leaders are trying to shift the economy away from a reliance on exports and investment and more towards consumption. That may mean the economy slows, but the leaders hope it will provide the basis for a more sustainable pace of expansion after years of double-digit growth. The government sees GDP rising this year by 7.5 percent, which would be its weakest increase in more than two decades.

Yu Zhengsheng, the fourth-ranked member of China's elite Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party, said last weekend the meeting will unveil "broad" and "unprecedented" reforms.

People familiar with discussions about the meeting said last month that of a long list of proposed changes likely to be announced after the plenum, only financial reforms have garnered enough support to warrant a plan and a roadmap.

Other proposed reforms including fiscal, land and residency registration have been major sticking points as politicians debate how to implement change, and as they face resistance from powerful interest groups such as state firms.

Earlier this week, media said the Development Research Centre, an influential think tank linked to China's state council, or cabinet, had recommended eight key areas for reform; finance, taxation, land, state assets, social welfare, innovation, foreign investment and governance.

It was not known if the suggestions would be discussed at the plenum.

(Reporting by Xiaoyi Shao and Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Neil Fullick)

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