The Zhejiang Pilot Free Trade Zone, one of China's seven newly approved free trade zones, starts operation on April 1, 2017. (Photo/China Today)
The past five years since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) have been extraordinary under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core. The last five years have witnessed a momentous journey in China's development. [Special coverage]
Substantial advances have been made in various programs. Faced with everchanging, complex situations at home and abroad, China has maintained medium-high growth and perfected its policy framework since it put new economic trends into perspective.
Furthermore, the country has made new progress in opening-up and international cooperation. Putting forward new ideas on global governance and several important initiatives, China's influence in the global community keeps rising. Today, the country is poised at a new starting point to achieve greater progress.
On the basis of the progress China has made in the past six decades, the CPC leadership with Xi at its core analyzed the present economic situation and assessed that China has entered a new normal stage. Pragmatic measures have been implemented to adjust the high growth rate to medium-high, and optimize economic structure whereby innovation-driven development is greatly encouraged. The policy framework guided by the new development philosophy has taken shape, its focus on supply-side structural reform.
The new development philosophy encompasses the five major concepts – innovation, coordination, green development, opening up, and sharing benefits – that were proposed at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held in 2015. Sticking to these concepts, the supply-side structural reform is meant to promote the quality and efficiency of the supply system and spur sustainable economic growth.
In the meantime, China adheres to the basic principle of seeking progress while maintaining stability. Besides securing stable economic growth, the government also boosts employment, stabilizes prices and improves the balance in international payments. New breakthroughs have been made in such fields as economic restructure, transformations of development modes, and stimulation of new driving forces for the economy.
In the past five years, employment and prices have remained stable. From 2013 to 2016, more than 13 million new urban jobs were created on a yearly basis, and urban unemployment in 31 large cities stayed at around five percent. During that same time period, consumer prices rose at an annual average of just two percent, while inflation was maintained at two percent and unemployment at five percent.
Between 2013 and 2016, China's GDP grew at an average of 7.2 percent each year, surpassing the global average of 2.5 percent and that of developing economies of four percent. In addition, aggregate national strength significantly improved. In 2016, China's GDP stood at RMB 74 trillion – a 1.32-fold increase compared with that of 2012 in constant prices. Revenue in the general public budgets reached nearly RMB 16 trillion, a 1.36-fold increase over 2012. With its GDP equal to US .2 trillion in 2016, China represented around 15 percent of the global economic aggregation – over three percentage points higher than 2012 – securing its status as the world's second largest economy.
From 2013 to 2016, China contributed, on average, more than 30 percent to global growth, overtaking the sum total of the U.S., Eurozone, and Japan to rank the world No. 1. Thus, China remains a powerhouse for global growth and an anchor that helps stabilize the world's economy.