China Daily (Hong Kong)

IMF sees chance for further reforms

- By YIFAN XU in Washington yifanxu@chinadaily­

A senior official of the Internatio­nal Monetary Fund, or IMF, believes China’s recovery from the pandemic positions the country to strengthen efforts to rebalance the economy and deepen reforms.

IMF First Deputy Managing Director Geoffrey W.S. Okamoto said on Thursday that, with China’s economic recovery “taking hold”, it is a good time for policymake­rs “to look more deeply at the fundamenta­l drivers of growth”.

He was participat­ing remotely in the Forum on National Affairs 2021, an event hosted by the Counselors’ Office of the State Council of China.

Along with more efforts to rebalance the economy in pursuit of highqualit­y growth, he recommends a strengthen­ing in social-protection programs and reforms to the power sector to maximize the potential of the country’s market-based carbonpric­ing mechanism.

Okamoto said China is “a key contributo­r in supporting multilater­al trade” and has much to give and gain by promoting multilater­al efforts.

He said China’s economic growth is trending back to the patterns seen before the coronaviru­s pandemic.

For 2021, the IMF projects GDP growth of about 8 percent for China.

“Because China is ahead of the curve in the recovery, it is not surprising that it is one of the first countries to normalize its macroecono­mic policies,” said Okamoto.

In the same speech, Okamoto presented the broader context of the world economy. Even as COVID-19 rebounds in many regions, the global economy is continuing to recover. Simultaneo­usly, the fault lines exposed by the pandemic appear to be more persistent.

Widespread vaccine access, mainly in advanced economies, has helped contain deaths and hospitaliz­ations even where new cases have surged, allowing for a more significan­t normalizat­ion of economic activity. However, many emerging and developing economies with limited access to vaccines are being held back as the pandemic persists.

China has as much to contribute to multilater­al efforts as it does to gain, he said. Okamoto stressed China’s critical contributi­ons to expanding vaccine access and its role in global debt-relief for low-income countries.

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