China aims to expand its economy by over 6 percent in 2021, building on strong tailwind from success in containing COVID-19, as lawmakers gather in Beijing to map out priorities for high-quality development.
The gross domestic product (GDP) target is one of the many key goals laid out in a government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang to the national legislature, which began its annual session Friday.
“In setting this target, we have taken into account the recovery of economic activity,” Li said. “A target of over 6 percent will enable all of us to devote full energy to promoting reform, innovation, and high-quality development.”
This year, the country aims to create more than 11 million new urban jobs, lower the deficit-to-GDP ratio to 3.2 percent, and expand domestic demand and effective investment, which are expected to put the economy firmly back to pre-pandemic vibrancy — China’s GDP growth rate was 6 percent in 2019.
In 2021, China will pursue high-quality development, advance supply-side structural reform, and consolidate and expand the achievements of the COVID-19 response and economic and social development, among other major tasks outlined in the report.
“These efforts will enable us to get off to a good start in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) period and commemorate the centenary of the Communist Party of China with outstanding achievements in development,” Li said in the report, amid rounds of applause in the Great Hall of the People.
GOOD START IN NEW JOURNEY
China set no specific GDP target for 2020 due to huge uncertainties caused by COVID-19, and zeroed in on the elimination of absolute poverty and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
Effective virus control helped China emerge from the epidemic-induced slump with a 2.3-percent GDP growth in 2020, making it the world’s only major economy to attain positive growth.
The specific growth target of over-6-percent this year reveals the country’s confidence in achieving high-quality development and will play a positive role in stabilizing social expectations, said Nan Cunhui, a senior political advisor.
“Such a growth target will contribute to a solid start of the 14th Five-Year Plan, and is closely related to China’s long-term goal of fully building a modern socialist country,” said Nan, also vice chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.
The period covered by the 14th Five-Year Plan will be the first five years in which China embarks on a new journey to build itself into a modern socialist country in all respects.
The government work report also highlighted goals set in a draft outline of the five-year plan submitted to the ongoing annual session of the national legislature for review.
In terms of headline economic growth numbers, the report said China will strive to keep its economy running within an appropriate range and set annual economic targets in light of actual circumstances during the period.
As innovation remains at the heart of China’s modernization drive, China will work faster to enhance strategic scientific and technological capability underpinned by the development of national laboratories, and strive to make major breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields.
Looking to the future, China has the confidence and ability to overcome all difficulties and obstacles on its road ahead and fulfill the goals and tasks in the 14th Five-Year Plan, thus opening a new page in the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, according to the government work report.