Xi Jinping: China must push forward high-quality development
Author: Matej Balen
21st December 2017
BEIJING – Statement from the President Xi Jinping was released on Wednesday, Dec 20th, after the three-day Central Economic Work Conference was concluded yesterday in Beijing, convened by the Central Committee of the Communist Party in closed meetings.

At the country's most important annual meeting on economy, senior leaders said that China's economy will be characterized by more innovative manufacturing, more secure financial system, more open and green economy, more affordable housing and better life for the people. The world's second-largest economy is setting to sail toward a new phase of development with Xi Jinping at the helm.

This year's Central Economic Work Conference came after the CPC's 19th National Congress in October, which drew a blueprint for China's development for the next 30-plus years. Chinese economy will focus on quality, a shift from the rapid growth the country has been known for over the past decades, ever since the reform and opening up policy in 1978. To achieve this goal, Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialist Economy with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era will be the key.

The released statement first reviewed China's economic performance over the past five years and mapped out plans for 2018, special year as it marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up policy, which has turned the country into the world's second-largest economy. China's economy is firming up, with its GDP expanding 6.9 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2017, noting that personal consumption and foreign trade have had stronger influence.

XI’s Economic Thought

First five years of the Socialist Economy with Chinese Characteristics (under President Xi) have been described as the "theoretical crystallization" of the practice in pushing toward China's economic development, the "latest fruit" of socialist political economy with Chinese characteristics, and the "extremely precious spiritual wealth" of the CPC and the country.

But Xi Jinping’s Thought has now taken shape, said the statement, and is mainly based on the new development philosophy, which was put forward by Xi in 2015 and features innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. When thinking about development, people need to be put first, and everything needs to be adapted to them. This is to create “new normal”, long-term and continuous development. The market plays the decisive role and the government will play its role better in this structure.

High-quality Development

At present and in the period to come, high-quality development is the fundamental requirement that determines development path, makes economic policies and conducts macroeconomic regulation, said the statement. China must build and improve mechanisms for pushing forward high-quality development, including necessary indicators, policies, standards, statistical and performance assessment systems.

Realizing high-quality development is a must for sustaining healthy and stable economic development and adapting to Chinese society. China will continue to deepen the supply-side structural reform as one of the major tasks for realizing such development. China will develop into a manufacturing powerhouse, with a shift from "Made in China" to "Created in China", as the country is striving to evolve from a world factory that churns out low-end products. Measures to eliminate ineffective supply, to foster new growth drivers and reduce costs in the real economy will continue. The country will improve the long-term mechanisms to ensure stable and healthy development of the real estate market. Both home purchases and rentals will be encouraged.

Three Challenges

The meeting also outlined strategies to win what central authorities have called "the three tough battles" namely: preventing major risks, targeted poverty alleviation and tackling pollution.

China will maintain a hard stand against irregular and illegal activities in the financial industry to forestall risks. China's rapidly expanding financial industry is being placed under greater regulatory control as authorities want to ensure stable economic growth while averting financial risks in 2018.

For the battle against poverty, policymakers pledged that they will work to ensure the quality of poverty reduction efforts under current standards, and focus on helping special groups and eradicate abject poverty.

Pollution control will also be one of the key battlefields, with authorities aiming for a significant reduction in major pollutant emissions and improvement in the overall environment. Efforts will be focused on adjusting the structures of industries, eliminating outdated technology and make the skies blue again.

Opening Up

As the major driver and stabilizer of the global economy, China will push forward a new pattern of all-around opening up to pursue mutual benefits with the rest of the world, said the statement.

China will increase imports and cut import tariffs on some products to promote balanced trade. Free trade zone pilot areas will be expanded. Effective guidance and support will be given to outbound direct investment.

The country will also push for nationwide implementation of a pre-establishment national treatment system as well as a negative list that determines where foreign participation is prohibited or limited. However, this negative list will become shorter in the future, as China will work to improve laws and regulations on foreign investment and enhance protection of intellectual property rights.

The statement was concluded with the words that China will not close its door to the world, yet the door will only be even more open.


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