China's leaders promise bigger role for free market as they overhaul slowing economy

China's leaders have promised to give the free market a bigger role as they overhaul the worn-out growth model of their slowing, government-dominated economy.

A brief statement issued after a four-day Communist Party conference aimed at producing a reform blueprint for the next decade gave few details. It affirmed the state's role in the economy but acknowledged that private companies also are "important components."

Communist leaders are under pressure to replace a growth model based on exports and investment. Reform advocates say they need to curb the dominance of state companies but any major changes are likely to face political resistance.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the free market would be raised from a "basic role" over the past two decades to a "decisive role" in the economy.