BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Central Committee, the largest of the ruling Communist Party’s top decision-making bodies, have concluded a four-day meeting on China’s economic and social policy goals for the next five years.
The final blueprint will be approved and published when the National People’s Congress, or parliament, meets in its annual session next year.
Below are some key details from the communique of the plenum, the fifth meeting of the Central Committee since the once-in-five years Communist Party congress in 2017, as released by state media on Thursday. Longer-term goals were also discussed.
Party leadership said in the communique that the value of China’s gross domestic product is expected to exceed 100 trillion yuan ($14.92 trillion) this year. That is just a touch more than in 2019, and puts China on course to narrowly miss a previous goal of doubling GDP in the decade to 2020, as the economy needs to grow at least 5.6% this year to hit the target. The communique also said China will aim to achieve sustained and healthy economic development in 2021-2025, with a focus on higher quality growth. It remains unclear whether a numerical growth target would be set for the five-year period when the plan is published next year. The party also made no mention of doubling GDP over the next decade, but added that China will aim to raise per capita GDP to the level of moderately developed nations by 2035.
Little was disclosed for the moment on how China would implement the “dual circulation” model, first proposed by Xi in May. The strategy is for China to depend mainly on “domestic circulation” for its next phase of development, supported by external resources through “international circulation”. In the communique, the party said the model would be promoted, combining efforts to expand domestic demand with supply-side reforms.
Investors were awaiting new steps on boosting China’s technological innovation, key to moving the world’s second-largest economy up the global value chain, especially with the United States’ strangling supply of parts to Chinese tech giants. The communique said China would make technological self-sufficiency a “strategic support” for national development, with an aim to achieve major breakthroughs in key technologies by 2035. It also said China would strengthen national security capabilities and maintain “strategic composure” in the face of newly emerged challenges and conflicts internationally. Defence capabilities would be beefed up in line with the economy, the communique said.
COMMODITIES, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT
The communique said China would speed up and push forward green and low-carbon development. There was no immediate word on boosting strategic reserves across commodities and energy to ensure self-sufficiency.
The party said in the communique that China would deepen reforms in all aspects, but gave few details. It reiterated that China would let the market play a decisive role in resources allocation. China would also make a “major breakthrough” in reforms on property rights. The party said China would promote coordinated regional development and a new urbanisation drive. Economists say China’s urban-rural income gap is widening, and development disparities between prosperous coastal provinces and the hinterland have increased.
China is facing what experts describe as a demographic time-bomb as its elderly population is increasing while its workforce is dwindling, partly due to a one-child policy in place for around four decades. The party decided in a previous plenum in 2015 to ditch that policy. In Thursday’s communique, the party said China would implement strategies to address the ageing population, without elaborating.
TAIWAN, HONG KONG, MACAU
The communique said China would promote Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland and peaceful cross-straits development. China regards Taiwan as a wayward province to be brought back under its sovereignty by force, if necessary. China would also maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau.
(This story corrects to say this year’s GDP is expected to exceed 100 trillion yuan, not reach 100 trillion yuan)
(Reporting by Ryan Woo and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Mark Potter)