China confident of hitting key targets

Workers at a shoe factory in Dongguan, in Guangdong province, on Sept 14. The Chinese economy has surpassed market expectations to grow by 6.7 per cent for three consecutive quarters this year.
Workers at a shoe factory in Dongguan, in Guangdong province, on Sept 14. The Chinese economy has surpassed market expectations to grow by 6.7 per cent for three consecutive quarters this year.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Country set to meet economic and social targets this year, Xi tells Politburo

China is on track to achieve its major economic and social targets this year and will focus on deepening reforms to deal with problems such as excess capacity in the new year.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said he was "certain" China will meet these targets for this year, at a meeting of the Politburo, a top decision-making body of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Mr Xi also noted that the country's "13th Five-Year Plan period has got off to a good start", the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement released after the meeting yesterday.

The meeting is said to be a precursor to the annual Central Economic Work Conference, due to be held this month, where top leaders will decide on the key economic agenda for next year.

One economic goal set by the Chinese government, for instance, is a target growth rate of 6.5 to 7 per cent this year.

And so far, the Chinese economy has surpassed market expectations to grow by 6.7 per cent for three consecutive quarters this year. An earlier slowdown in growth had shown signs of stabilising on the back of more government spending and a booming property market.

While the statement said that the CCP voiced optimism that China would hit its targets, it also warned of "many outstanding problems" including excess capacity and financial risks. The CCP said its top economic goal for next year, ahead of its 19th Party Congress to be held in the later half of next year, is to deepen supply-side structural reforms.

This includes implementing agricultural reforms, boosting the real economy - the part of the economy that produces goods and services - and nurturing new growth drivers.

It will also speed up the building of long-term mechanisms to promote a stable and healthy development of the property market.

China will further improve its investment environment, unleash more consumption potential, open up more sectors, and actively attract foreign investment next year, Xinhua reported. "The country should push forward reforms in key areas, including the state-owned enterprises, fiscal and taxation, financial and social security," it added.

At the meeting, the CCP also discussed national security. Everyone should "recognise the extreme importance of strengthening national security", an issue which the party has placed strong emphasis on since the 18th Party Congress in 2012, Xinhua reported.

"Currently, our country's sociopolitical situation is generally stable, but the national security environment is still complex, and this calls for a greater need for national security work that could deal with the new circumstances," said the statement issued after the meeting.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2016, with the headline 'China confident of hitting key targets'. Print Edition | Subscribe