Mr Xu, who heads up the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said that slowing growth in the broader world economy posed difficulties for China this year.
"First, we estimate the slow recovery and low growth rates in the world's economy will continue for a period of time," he told reporters on the sidelines of the People's Congress.
"Also we could not overlook the risks from unstable [global] financial markets, falling prices of commodities and risks of geopolitics."
The People's Congress, which meets once a year, sets out to determine both the economic and political agenda for the country.
It comes at a time when China is struggling with slowing economic growth and a shift away from overreliance on manufacturing and heavy industry.
What is the National People's Congress?
Under China's 1982 constitution, the most powerful organ of state is meant to be the National People's Congress, China's parliament. Critics argue though that it is little more than a rubber stamp for party decisions.
The congress is made up of nearly 3,000 delegates elected by China's provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities and the armed forces. Delegates hold office for five years, and the full congress is convened for one session each year.
This sporadic and unwieldy nature means that real influence lies within a standing committee of about 150 members elected from congress delegates. It meets every couple of months.
In theory, the congress has the powers to change the constitution and make laws. But it is not seen as an independent body in the Western sense of a parliament.