'Steady as she goes' as NPC charters China's future course
china.org.cn / chinagate.cn by Eugene Clark, March 10, 2017 Adjust font size:
China Dream [By Zhang Xueshi / China.org.cn]
The fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) and the fifth session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) began respectively on March 5 and March 3 to finalize the government's work plan for this year. In my view, the overarching tone is "steady as she goes."
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, in presenting the work plan, stated the growth target to be 6.5 percent, but hopefully becoming slightly better. This is lower than in previous years, but reflects both the "new normal" and the strong headwinds facing China given the growing anti-globalization sentiments being expressed through Brexit and by U.S. President Donald Trump.
It is also anticipated that much of the growth will be driven by strong domestic consumer demand and a major part will come from China's world-leading e-commerce development.
The economy will also be bolstered by a continuing focus given to reducing over-capacity, for example in steel and coal-based energy production that also contribute to China's environmental problems. In contrast to President Trump, China, thankfully, will maintain its commitment to making progress in improving its environment.
As with the U.S., China will also focus on infrastructure enhancement. It will pump 800 billion yuan into new railway works, 1.8 trillion yuan into roads and waterways and begin 15 major hydroelectric projects, among others.
Enhancement of agriculture is scheduled to be a major focus of the government. China will need to continue to gain the efficiencies that come with increased urbanization and the creation of large-scale farming that can use modern technology to both increase production and reduce pollution.
With better infrastructure, the reduction of oversupply and continued legal and other reforms, we will also see a more competitive China. The promotion of a neutral playing field in the domestic market will further strengthen the Chinese business sector, enabling it to compete on the world stage more effectively.
Creation of 11 million jobs
Premier Li indicated that China's goal is to create 11 million new jobs to meet the demands of a growing number of university graduates. As President Xi has noted, it is important that the country's intellectuals work harder than ever before to contribute to China's innovation and prosperity thereby improve the lives of all citizens.
Although China will be focusing on the domestic economy, President Xi has indicated at the Davos Economic Summit that China will continue to take a lead in promoting international trade and the benefits of globalization. This is good news not only for China, but for the world economy as a whole.
It is hoped that President Trump can put the anti-China rhetoric behind him and realize that it is in the best interests of his country, China and the rest of the world to promote a strong and productive interrelationship. This is true, especially given the increasing economic interdependence.
Reducing the business debt level
Another focus for the government will be achieving financial stability by reducing debt levels of Chinese businesses. Achieving stability will make China more attractive to foreign investors. Monetary policy will be "prudent and neutral," with the broad M2 money supply to grow 12 percent
The NPC has charted a course of action and identified areas where there is a continuing struggle to improve. At the same time, it must be remembered that where there is no struggle there can be no progress. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning."
I'm confident that China and its citizens will continue to work hard to ensure that the directions and goals being set this week will result in positive outcomes in the year ahead.
Eugene Clark is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:
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