China on track for 'high-quality development' in 2018

Updated 2018-03-01 00:38:03 Xinhua

In a few days, China's annual sessions of top legislative and political advisory bodies will open a window for the world to gain an insight into the country's economic transition in the coming decades -- a drive toward "high-quality development."

During the meetings starting early March, national legislators and political advisors will review and discuss specific measures designed to push the economy to steadier and greener growth.

"China's economy has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development," said the report delivered to the 19th Communist Party of China National Congress in October. "This is a pivotal stage for transforming our growth model, improving our economic structure, and fostering new drivers of growth."

What does the new growth pattern mean for China and the world? What should global businesses and investors anticipate with the economic shift? The upcoming meetings, known as "two sessions," are about to shed new light on such questions.


China's growth target, expected to be released in the government work report during the two sessions, will continue to attract worldwide attention this year. The closely-watched figure had remained stable during the past five years as policy makers put stronger emphasis on quality and became more tolerable to GDP slowdown.

Economists expect China to maintain the near 6.5-percent reading this year as part of the efforts to improve economic quality and performance. In fact, some provincial authorities have softened their goals during local sessions in January.

Although it has bid farewell to breakneck expansion, China will continue its role of stabilizing the global economy.

World Bank data has showed that China contributed 34 percent to world economic growth from 2012 to 2016, more than that of the United States, European Union and Japan combined.

Lian Ping, economist with Bank of Communications, said the economy would be more stable this year with less quarter-to-quarter volatility in GDP increases as consumption has overtaken investment to be the main economic driver.

Along with other economic policies written into the government work report, the annual growth target is subject to approval of the top legislature, which, along with the top advisory body, plays an important part in shaping national policies from employment to environment.


Free trade will be another hot topic during the two sessions as China's high-quality development will create an enormous consumer market causing huge demand for products from the rest of the world.

With the country's first free trade zone (FTZ), Shanghai is on the forefront of foreign trade and is still looking for more opportunities.

Ying Yong, national legislator and mayor of Shanghai, said during local sessions that the city will push its FTZ to meet the highest international standards and will grope for ways to develop the "free trade port," an area that features minimized trade control measures.

The Ministry of Commerce forecast last November China would import more than 10 trillion U.S. dollars of goods and services in the next five years.

On the back of the booming imports is China's rising middle-income group, which, with a population of around 300 million, accounts for 30 percent of the world's total. The influence has been reflected in their increasingly bigger role in driving growth and trade.

China will make more efforts to cut tariffs on products including cars, senior Chinese official Liu He said at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in January. Import taxes on 187 products were slashed last year, with the average rate down from 17.3 percent to 7.7 percent.

The first China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai in November, which is expected to bring together thousands of enterprises from more than 100 countries.

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