Experts hail Government Work Report

2024-03-09 08:25:05China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download
An employee works at a PV panel production facility in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, on Jan 4. (SI WEI/FOR CHINA DAILY)

An employee works at a PV panel production facility in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, on Jan 4. (SI WEI/FOR CHINA DAILY)

China's GDP growth target seen as indication of confidence in rebound

China has set a rational GDP growth target that indicates substantial confidence and robustness in its economy and the government is working to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared by all, global experts said.

Premier Li Qiang delivered the latest Government Work Report to the National People's Congress on Tuesday, in which he disclosed major targets for this year's development, including GDP growth of around 5 percent. He also outlined major tasks for 2024, including striving to modernize the industrial system and developing new quality productive forces at a faster pace, invigorating China through science and education, expanding domestic demand, continuing to deepen reform and pursuing higher-standard opening-up.

Carlos Martinez, co-editor of the London-based platform Friends of Socialist China and author of The East is Still Red, said that China's GDP growth target signals significant confidence in its continued economic rebound following the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as resilience to a complex and challenging international environment characterized by numerous conflicts, sluggish growth and attempts at "decoupling".

"It also reflects China's economic 'new normal', in which ultrafast growth based on quantity is giving way to high-quality, sustainable growth based on innovation," he said.

He added that the Government Work Report showed that China's per capita disposable income increased faster than GDP growth, and the increase in income was highest for low-income groups.

"This reflects the government's ongoing commitment to common prosperity and its sincere efforts to reduce inequality," he said. "Living standards are improving, and the government is working to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared by all."

The report also discussed China's continued commitment to world peace and development, and its opposition to hegemony and bullying. Martinez said that China's commitment to peace, multipolarity and international fairness is "a breath of fresh air" compared with the United States-led West.

George Koo, a retired international business adviser in Silicon Valley, California, said that China's GDP growth target of around 5 percent for this year is "a reasonable, general consensus target".

He added that China has highlighted the development of "future industries" as a key part of its development plan for the next few years, and frontier technologies have to be an essential part of China's future industries.

Hugh Goodacre, a lecturer in the history of economic thought at University College London, said the Government Work Report is a milestone document on the path chosen by China in pursuing its own characteristic model of economic development. Having in recent years advanced well beyond the former focus on extremely high growth, most notably in its export sector, the Chinese government and people are now confronting the tasks of orienting production toward domestic consumption with determination and energy as well as directing the country's productive forces into the advanced sectors that count most in a modern economy.

Christopher Bovis, a professor of international business law at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom, said that China is ambitious in setting targets for economic growth at around 5 percent, a figure which when compared with other economies is a "near game changer". To facilitate this growth plan, the Chinese government has set a proactive fiscal policy, coupled with a prudent monetary policy.

He said that what has taken the markets by surprise is the creation of conditions, including investments, that will boost domestic demand for products and services. The plan of the Chinese government has prioritized the features of research and development in disruptive and innovative markets to spearhead growth fueled by domestic consumption.

The report also prioritized sustainable agriculture to ensure food security, alongside an innovative approach to transitioning to cleaner energy production, contributing to global environmental objectives for decarbonization, Bovis added.

Cavince Adhere, a Kenyan scholar of international relations with a focus on China-Africa relations, said the Chinese economy exhibited remarkable resilience to beat last year's growth target and "was the most important anchor of global economic wellness" last year. With the right environment in place, backed by responsive tools and policies, the new growth target of around 5 percent for this year will "certainly be achieved".

Because of its economic stability at home, China has morphed into an important development partner for emerging economies, especially those in Africa. China has provided markets for Africa's products and continues to be a strong source of technology and finance for the continent's development, Adhere added.


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