Meeting charts economic course
2020 key year to achieve China’s major policy goals
Published: Dec 13, 2019 12:33 AM Updated: Dec 13, 2019 10:20 AM

Photo: VCG

Given pressure from domestic economic restructuring and the sluggish global market amid a trade war with the US, China will gear up to stabilize growth, which is a top priority, by deepening reform and further opening up in 2020, a year the country aims to realize building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, experts said.

The annual Central Economic Work Conference, which charts the course for the country's economic policy in the coming year, was held in Beijing from Tuesday to Thursday. 

In a speech at the pace-setting conference, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, reviewed the country's economic work in 2019, analyzed the current situation and outlined key tasks for 2020, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Facing rising domestic and overseas challenges since the start of this year, China has insisted on its development path of supply-side reform, advanced high-quality growth, achieved key progress in the three tough battles of preventing financial risks, reducing poverty and tackling pollution, according to the conference, which highlighted that China will be committed to keeping economic operations within a reasonable range. 

Those achievements did not come in an easy way and the fundamental reason for the hard won achievements lies in the adherence to the centralized and unified leadership of the Party, efforts to deepen reform and open up and full play to the initiative of the central and local governments, the conference said.

Policymakers mapped out major economic tasks for the next year at the conference, including promoting high-quality economic growth, ensuring that the task of poverty alleviation can be completed on time and in an all-round way, continuing to adopt proactive fiscal policies and prudent monetary policies and deepening the reform of the country's economic system.

In a bid to realize the goals of next year, the top priority is to maintain stable growth, keep macroeconomic policies stable and microeconomic policies flexible, and ensure social policies cover people's basic needs and welfare of the disadvantaged, according to the conference. 

The tone-setting conference sent a strong signal to the world that regardless of external and internal uncertainties the country is facing now, the world's second largest economy will firmly stick to its plan of structural adjustment and industrial upgrading in the next year, Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times on Thursday

"All of the key points the central government stressed during the conference is stabilizing, while it is not designed to secure a fast economic growth, but to maintain its pace of deepening reforms and heading toward a high-quality development model," Cong said, adding that people should focus on quality than quantity.

A sound and stable economic situation at home, centered with the central government's stabilizing featured chart, will be strongest support for China to cope with external challenges amid the ongoing China-US trade war and a slowdown in the world economy, experts said.

Villagers renovate a dilapidated house in Bahao Village in Dahua Yao Autonomous County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Nov. 12, 2019. Dahua, where rocky hills cover over 90 percent of the land, is one of the most impoverished areas in south China's Guangxi. Photo: Xinhua

Major tasks

China is undergoing major challenges from home and abroad. But no matter how heavy the pressure is, China will insist on its own pace and be committed to fulfilling its set goals, said Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology.

China has entered the final sprint phase to eradicate absolute poverty by 2020 and double GDP and per-capita income in 2020 from 2010. And experts said such goals can be finally realized as the country has been committed to keeping economic operation in a "reasonable range" and facing up to challenges with solid efforts.

Next year is of great significance to China, as the country aims to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the year end and achieve its first centenary goal. 

This essentially means that China's growth can improve the lives of all its people, particularly those who are below or near the country's poverty line.

In terms of poverty alleviation, China has a remarkable record of lifting about 700 million people out of extreme poverty in nearly 40 years since reform and opening-up began, a figure that represents about 70 percent of global poverty eradication during the period.

By the end of this year, more than 90 percent of the poor counties in the country will be relieved, and about 95 percent of the poor population will be lifted out of poverty, said the People's Daily on Thursday, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China.

"At the last moment, we must insist on … if [we] can't win the battle, [we] will never withdraw," the People's Daily report said, citing an official with the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

The country's target to relieve poverty has entered a critical period, though it is a tough battle, the task can be fulfilled - the remaining 5 percent of the poor will be lifted out of poverty in 2020, Dong told the Global Times on Thursday.

Social factors such as inequality of education and medical resources are major reasons to cause poverty in the country and that would be addressed in the next year by more financial support, Cong said.

Photo: Xinhua

Trade war a 'new normal'

To maintain the GDP growth around the psychologically important level of 6 percent in 2020 is also one of the major tasks against the backdrop that the ongoing trade war with the US would impose increasing pressure on domestic economy, Tian Yun, vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Trade tensions with the US would become a "new normal" in the next year due to the US' lack of sincerity and its intention to curb China's rise, experts said.

"But it cannot decide China's development," Cong said, noting that China's growth depends on adjustment on industrial structure and deepening reform and opening-up.

China has long been insisting on opening-up and its efforts to strengthen cooperation with countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative and other global markets will help expand new scope for the country's economic growth, Dong said.

To expand domestic demand by stimulating consumption will also play a bigger role to drive the country's development, and other efforts, such as cutting tax burden for small and medium-sized enterprises and improving business environment, will largely help, Dong noted.