China's 5% growth target continues to play vital role in world economy: Global Times editorial
Published: Mar 06, 2024 12:23 AM
The photo taken on February 29, 2024 shows the Guoyuan Port in Chongqing. Photo: VCG

The photo taken on February 29, 2024 shows the Guoyuan Port in Chongqing. Photo: VCG

The 14th National People's Congress (NPC) opened its second session at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday morning, with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders attending the opening meeting. Premier Li Qiang delivered a government work report at the meeting. The report disclosed major targets for this year's development, including a GDP growth of around 5 percent. Preliminary estimate of China's 2023 GDP was 126 trillion yuan, and an increase of 5 percent means adding 6.3 trillion yuan, which is more than the annual GDP of most countries. China's contribution to world economic growth is expected to continue to exceed 30 percent, making it the largest driving force of the global economy.

As always, China's GDP growth target has attracted great attention at home and abroad, which bears practical connotations. Domestically, it reflects a shift from only focusing on GDP. The attention on GDP growth emphasizes more on its compatibility with various social development indicators and long-term development goals, which shows the top-to-bottom pragmatic attitude of the Chinese society to focus on development. Internationally, the high attention is certainly a direct reflection of China's pivotal position in the global economy. Since the development goals and tasks set by China are characterized by high certainty and a high degree of accomplishment, China's GDP growth target is of great indicator significance to predict and analyze the trend of the world economy this year.

In general, the growth target of around 5 percent is considered prudent, appropriate and pragmatically positive by public opinion. This growth target is 0.4 percentage points and 0.5 percentage points higher respectively than the previous expectations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank for China's economic growth this year, showcasing the economic resilience and potential of the Chinese economy. It also reflects the effects of Chinese policies and their proactivity. As a significant data guiding annual and medium-to-long term work deployments, it not only needs to reflect a series of factors influencing economic development domestically and internationally but also plays a role in connecting the past with the future. It should stimulate the inherent objective growth potential of the Chinese economy, explore the policy potential from a subjective perspective, and advance continued economic recovery and positive momentum.

The global significance of the growth target of around 5 percent is multifaceted. As the world's second-largest economy, the stability and certainty in its development goals and policy orientation are significant contributors to global economic stability. The numerical representation of China's development confidence and determination is undoubtedly an uplifting signal for the global economic recovery process. According to a World Bank report at the beginning of the year, in advanced economies, growth is set to slow to 1.2 percent this year from 1.5 percent in 2023, while developing economies are projected to grow just 3.9 percent, more than 1 percentage point below the average of the previous decade.

Imagine the global economic landscape without this 5 percent from China - it would become more bleak, facing significant risks of recession. Some Western media and opinions are eager to downplay the Chinese economy, and certain countries are even advocating policies to "decouple" from China, but this approach undermines the interests of the entire world, including themselves.

The significance of the 5 percent growth target holds a special meaning for the Chinese people. China's economy is transitioning from a period of high-speed growth to medium-high-speed growth, entering a phase of high-quality development. While the growth rate may not be as high as before, the optimization of structure, the transformation of driving forces, and the robust development of new quality productive forces provide limitless possibilities for the Chinese economy. In other words, China's economy is at a crucial stage of development, bridging the past and the future, and overcoming challenges. Achieving high-quality growth with a GDP target of 5 percent is an intrinsic requirement of the two-step strategic arrangement to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects.

In addition to the GDP target, the main expected goals for 2024 include the creation of over 12 million new urban jobs, an urban surveyed unemployment rate of around 5.5 percent, a CPI increase of around 3 percent, and residents' income growth synchronized with economic growth. These goals not only constitute the essence of GDP but also its extension, together forming the fundamentals of the Chinese economy and reflecting the overall trend of seeking progress while maintaining stability.

The government work report not only outlined the development goals for 2024 but also provided a roadmap, a blueprint and a policy checklist. The spirit and awareness of promoting the nation through hard work have become ingrained in the Chinese people's blood, evident in the government work report and various practical tasks at the national and societal levels. The CPC Central Committee maintains a high level of vigilance regarding the challenges and issues that China may face in its development this year. This clear-headed attitude, coupled with confidence and efforts, permeates throughout the government work report. As China's economy and public welfare continue to advance, the living standard of the Chinese nationals is bound to improve, and each year is anticipated to be better than the last.