China and Euro­pean Com­mis­sion work to­gether on boost­ing jobs

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By WANG YANFEI wangyan­fei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion should fur­ther learn from each other in boost­ing em­ploy­ment and so­cial se­cu­rity un­der the joint So­cial Pro­tec­tion Re­form Project, a se­nior of­fi­cial with the na­tion’s top eco­nomic reg­u­la­tor said on Wednes­day.

Wang Xiao­tao, vice-min­is­ter of the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion, said that al­though China is on track to make the la­bor mar­ket more re­silient, the na­tion faces new chal­lenges amid its eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

The reg­is­tered ur­ban unem­ploy­ment rate in China has been at 4.05 per­cent in re­cent years, Wang told a two-day, high-level fo­rum on so­cial pro­tec­tion re­form that be­gan in Bei­jing on Tues­day.

The So­cial Pro­tec­tion Re­form Project, launched last year, aims to pro­mote so­cial eq­uity and in­clu­sive­ness of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in China, as well as co­op­er­a­tion and di­a­logue be­tween China and the EU in the same field.

“China lacks such a buf­fer zone as that in the EU, where coun­tries have pro­grams to help peo­ple to gain the right skills for fu­ture jobs,” said Pu Yufei, di­rec­tor of the NDRC’s De­part­ment of Em­ploy­ment and In­come Dis­tri­bu­tion.

Pu was re­fer­ring to chal­lenges such as re­lo­cat­ing laid-off work­ers in sec­tors with over­ca­pac­ity.

“China does face a cer­tain level of pres­sure in re­lo­cat­ing laid-off work­ers,” said Pu. “We need to en­hance ca­pac­ity and im­prove gov­ern­ment sup­port to help work­ers find new jobs.”

Pu said that China hopes to learn from past ex­pe­ri­ences of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion in this field.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has a well-es­tab­lished sys­tem to en­hance re­forms to im­prove flex­i­bil­ity and se­cu­rity in the la­bor mar­ket, said Lars Gron­vald, head of the De­vel­op­ment and Co­op­er­a­tion Sec­tion of the Del­e­ga­tion of the Euro­pean Union to China.

In the mean­time, the EU may have to look at how China is boost­ing em­ploy­ment at a time when the EU’s mem­ber states, while adopt­ing con­sump­tion-mod­els, are fac­ing ris­ing pres­sures to gen­er­ate new jobs amid mild eco­nomic re­cov­ery and a refugee cri­sis, Gron­vald said.

Michel Ser­voz, di­rec­tor of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s Di­rec­torate-Gen­eral for Em­ploy­ment, So­cial Af­fairs and In­clu­sion, said the ef­fect of Brexit, or Bri­tain’s planned exit from the Euro­pean Union — which is ex­pected to lower the EU’s GDP by 0.8 per­cent next year — is hav­ing a neg­a­tive ef­fect on the la­bor mar­ket.

“Lack of in­vest­ment is re­ally a prob­lem in the EU,” said Ser­voz. “We may have to turn to China’s ex­pe­ri­ence and see how China is able to im­prove em­ploy­ment amid eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.”

Gron­vald said that de­spite fac­ing dif­fer­ent chal­lenges, both coun­tries are able to learn from each other un­der the four-year So­cial Pro­tec­tion Re­form Project, which pro­vides both sides with op­por­tu­ni­ties for mu­tual ex­changes.

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