Beijing unveils eight economic aims for 2018

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A Chinese flag flies in front of the Great Wall of China, located north of Beijing August 18, 2007. Photo:       Reuters/David Gray

China has announced its eight economic aims for 2018 after leaders finished the annual three-day Central Economic Work Conference on Wednesday.

The conference, convened by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the State Council, traditionally sets China’s economic agenda for the coming year. This year, the delegates first act was to rubber stamp the program set at the 19th Party Congress while also agreeing to follow the principles of “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”.

The conference then went on to set out the country’s immediate economic focus. This will include promoting new and high quality development, continuing the reform of the economy and improvements in standards of living while, at the same time, ensuring that growth is stable, sustainable and healthy.

Xinhua reported that President Xi Jinping opened the conference – where he summarized the achievements of the nation since the 18th Party Congress in 2012 – while Premier Li Keqiang gave a closing speech that outlined China’s eight economic tasks for 2018. In summary, these are:

First, China will work to deepen its supply-side structural reform and upgrade its manufacturing sector from “Made in China” to “Created in China”. The focus should be on quality instead of speed, and obsolete capacity should be eliminated. Technological innovation will be encouraged as will the cooperation between companies that produce military products and those that produce civil-use ones. The economy should work to lower energy and logistic costs and further reform the power, oil and gas and railway sectors.

Second, China will make use of market forces. The country will push forward the reforms of state-own-enterprises and state-owned assets whilst improving their ownership structures and modernizing their management systems. The dispute of property rights will be resolved according to the law, entry barriers in different sectors will be reduced and the relationship between private and public sectors will be managed and regulated.

Third, the scientific development of the rural economy will be encouraged. China will improve the quality of produce in the agricultural sector and, by deepening the reform in grain reserve system, will help stabilize produce prices.

Fourth, the government will promote regional development and the increased cooperation among different cities. Government will try to provide equal public services and infrastructures so people across different geographies will enjoy roughly the same living standard. The Jingjinji Metropolitan Region of Beijing, Tianjin and Hubei will continue to be developed as the capital region of China. Other key projects include the green development along the Yangtze River Delta, the Belt and Road developments and the Greater Bay Area Initiative in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau area.

Fifth, China will work to further open its economy to attract foreign investments. The country will steadily open markets to foreign firms and will protect their investments and intellectual properties. China will follow standard international conventions when it comes to the restriction of inward foreign capital and will launch more free-trade-zone test sites.

Sixth, China will work to improve living standards and the country’s social security system. More emphasis will be placed on improving primary and secondary school education, early-age education and child care services. The country will also improve the pension fund system and encourage private funds to work in the elderly-care and healthcare sectors.

Seventh, the country will establish a rental housing market. It will establish new rules to better protect both property renters and leasers and will work to ensure healthy development in the property sector.

Lastly, China will increase its pace in ecological development and enhance environmental protection. It will launch large-scale green campaigns and encourage public and private funds to invest in the environmental protection sector by promoting the notion that “only truly green areas can become prosperous”.

The conference called for all government departments to stay united with Xi Jinping as a core leader and implement the country’s economic development plan for 2018.

Read: Annual economic meeting embraces Xi Jinping Thought

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