China targets 7.5% GDP growth for 2014


March 5, 2014

BEIJING: China on Tuesday targeted a modest 7.5 per cent GDP growth in 2014, unchanged from last year, as the government looks to steer the economy onto a more sustainable and balanced path.

March 5, 2014

BEIJING: China on Tuesday targeted a modest 7.5 per cent GDP growth in 2014, unchanged from last year, as the government looks to steer the economy onto a more sustainable and balanced path.

China's top leaders stand during the singing of the Chinese national anthem at the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China on Wednesday.

The new target was announced in the first work report by Premier Li Keqiang at the annual session of the National People’s Congress.

Comprising about 3000 deputies, the NPC began its eight-day session in the backdrop of last Saturday’s horrific knife attacks by a group of militants from Xinjiang at Kunming railway station in which 33 people were killed and 143 injured in what the official media called as China’s 9/11.

The NPC session began by silent tribute to the victims of the Kunming attack.

Presenting his first work report after completing one year in the office, Mr. Li set this year’s economic growth target at 7.5 per cent, the same as last year’s target and slightly lower than the 7.7 per cent actual growth in 2013.

Other key economic goals, such as consumer price index and unemployment rate, remain generally the same as those of last year.

Mr. Li said the reform will focus on the most wanted areas, the most pressing problems and the sections having the biggest consensus.

China faces great challenges and complex problems in pushing forward economic and social development, he said.

“The foundation for sustaining steady economic growth is not yet firm, and the internal impetus driving growth needs to be increased,” Mr. Li said.

The world economic recovery still faces instability and uncertainties, as macro-policy adjustments made by some countries introduce new variables and emerging economies are facing new difficulties and challenges, he said.

Domestically, Mr. Li cited risks from public finance and banking; overcapacity, difficulties in exercising macro-controls and increasing agricultural output and rural incomes, as major challenges.

Deep-seated problems are surfacing while painful adjustments need to be made, he said.

“The pace of economic growth is changing and downward pressure on the economy remains great,” he said.

China, however, is able to maintain a moderate and even high economic growth for some time to come as industrialization and urbanization are continuing and there is considerable potential for regional development, he said.

Tasks of tackling air, water and soil pollution, as well as conserving energy and reducing emissions remain arduous, Mr. Li said adding that there were major structural problems constraining employment, Mr. Li said.

Other problems include public dissatisfaction in housing, food and drug safety, medical services, old-age services, education, income distribution, land expropriation and resettlement, public order, frequent industrial accidents and the social credibility system, Mr. Li said.

Some government employees are prone to corruption and some still do not perform their duties with integrity and diligence, he said.

Mr. Li said China will speed up the development of mixed-ownership economy by letting non-state capital into more state projects, including those in oil, railways and telecoms.

“We will formulate measures for non-state capital to participate in investment projects of central government enterprises,” he said.

Non-state capital will be allowed to participate in a number of projects in areas such as banking, oil, electricity, railway, telecommunications, resources development and public utilities, he said, according to the report.

The government pledged to reform the railway investment and financing system, and to open competitive operations in more areas to encourage full participation of private capital.

The government also announced some reform moves targeted at the country’s state-owned enterprises.

“We will improve the system for managing state-owned assets, clearly define the functions of different SOEs, and carry out trials of investing state capital in corporate operations,” Mr. Li said.

A reform master plan released after a key plenum of the Communist Party of China in 2012 pledged to let market play a decisive role and recognized the private sector’s role in fostering growth and creating jobs.

The document said China shall actively develop a mixed ownership economy, allowing more SOEs and other firms to develop into mixed-ownership companies.

China’s top oil refiner Sinopec announced in mid-February that it would bring in social and private capital to jointly market and sells its oil products, the first opening up of the largely monopolized sector.

Courtesy: PTI


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