Re­form and in­no­va­tion will over­come fu­ture eco­nomic un­cer­tain­ties

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - OPINION -

Every De­cem­ber, Chi­nese lead­ers hold a meet­ing to chart the econ­omy’s course for the year ahead. The meet­ing, called the Cen­tral Eco­nomic Work Con­fer­ence, was held Wed­nes­day through Fri­day in Bei­jing this year.

What makes this year ’s Cen­tral Eco­nomic Work Con­fer­ence dif­fer­ent from those of the past is that the pres­i­den­tial elec tion in the United States, the largest eco­nomic part­ner of China, has voted in an ad­min­is­tra­tion that prom­ises to re­write many of the US’ poli­cies and that the Fed­eral Reser ve raised the in­ter­est rate on Wed­nes­day, which may sig­nal a new turn in the cy­cle of the world econ­omy.

This year’s con­fer­ence is spe­cial also be­cause of the con­di­tions pre­vail­ing in China. The coun­try’s on­go­ing eco­nomic transition started four years ago, shift­ing the fo­cus from quan­tity and pace to qual­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity, and from ex­ports-led to con­sump­tion- and in­no­va­tion-led growth.

Now that all the tasks and their fo­cus are clear, their im­ple­men­ta­tion can be planned more eas­ily.

Be­sides, con­trary to the claims of some for­eign com­men­ta­tors, the four year-long an­ti­cor­rup­tion cam­paign led by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has not only re­moved a host of cor­rupt and counter-pro­duc­tive of­fi­cials from dif­fer­ent lev­els, but has also been help­ing to build a more ef­fec­tive and clean government, and a more com­pe­tent civil ser­vice that will per­form its du­ties more ef­fi­ciently.

As for the short-term tasks, over the last cou­ple of years China has been ef­fec­tively urg­ing en­ter­prises to shed ex­ces­sive ca­pac­i­ties and un­sold prod­ucts, lessen debt bur­dens, lower op­er­a­tional costs, and con­quer short­com­ings.

The con­fer­ence has also mapped out new tasks. Its com­mu­niqué says lit­tle about GDP growth in 2017. In­stead, it highlights the need for ef­fec­tively min­i­miz­ing the coun­try’s fi­nan­cial risk with the sup­port of a more proac­tive fis­cal pol­icy, flex­i­ble but ad­e­quately pru­dent mone­tary pol­icy, and a ba­si­cally sta­ble ex­change rate to keep the ren­minbi steady.

It pledges, for the first time in his­tory, a na­tional ur­ban land and hous­ing pro­gram, to curb spec­u­la­tive buy­ing and sell­ing in the hous­ing mar­ket — es­pe­cially in large cities — to en­sure the health of the real es­tate sec­tor.

It seeks to take “con­crete steps” to in­cor­po­rate pri­vate cap­i­tal in for­merly State-mo­nop­oly sec­tors such as power gen­er­a­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion, oil and gas, rail­ways, air­lines, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, and de­fense equip­ment pro­duc­tion.

And apart from out­lin­ing the re­form path for the na­tional re­tire­ment in­sur­ance sys­tem, it has vowed to quicken the devel­op­ment of the prop­erty rights sys­tem and com­pi­la­tion of civil code na­tion­wide, while strength­en­ing the pro­tec­tion of all prop­erty rights, and cor­rect­ing the pre­vi­ous wrongs.

Amid all the global and in­ter­na­tional dif­fi­cul­ties in eco­nomic re­cov­ery and devel­op­ment, China re­mains com­mit­ted to deep­en­ing re­forms, and given the un­cer­tain­ties that lie ahead, the countr y will in­ten­sify its ef­forts in that di­rec­tion.

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