China’s economic planner outlines reform priorities to further boost growth

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XINHUA — China will carry out major reform measures to further stimulate growth and reduce pressure on its economic and social development, the country’s top economic planner said Monday.

Reforms will focus on five areas, including stimulating the vitality of market entities, stabilizing growth, expanding domestic demand, promoting high-level opening-up and pushing green transition, Lian Weiliang, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told a press conference.

To stabilize growth, Lian said that social capital will be better leveraged to increase effective investment.

The commission stressed a bigger role of market entities in building new infrastructures in the country, pledging lower thresholds, stronger policy support and a more enabling business climate for social capital.

In response to questions on the consumption growth outlook, Hu Zucai, also deputy director of the NDRC, shrugged off concerns over a slower recovery pace of consumption.

China’s consumption has re-established itself as the key driver of growth, Hu said, citing the fact that China’s retail sales of consumer goods posted a 12.5-percent year-on-year increase last year, with final consumption expenditure contributing 65.4 percent to full-year economic growth.

Reform measures in the sector are expected to help improve the consumption environment, promote the recovery of the sector and further expand China’s middle-income group, according to Lian.

The commission will implement pro-employment policies, improve social security and increase the incomes of low- and middle-income groups as stronger spending power is the basis of expanding consumption, Hu added.

In addition to boosting growth at home through reforms, the economic planner also noted that challenges, including global commodity prices hikes and energy supply strains, might persist and hinder development.

Despite these headwinds, the commission voiced confidence in the country’s economic growth. “Chinese economy boasts strong resilience as it is underpinned by a big market and abundant policy toolkit,” Hu said.

China has set its economic growth target at around 5.5 percent in 2022. The country saw a strong rebound with 8.1-percent growth in 2021 and was the only major economy to record growth in 2020.
Xinhua

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