Two Sessions offer clues on next 5-year plan

Such a policy blueprint usually sets forth China's strategic intentions and defines its major objectives, tasks and measures for economic and social development.

The ongoing annual sessions of the national legislature and political advisory body, known as the Two Sessions, have offered clues of what would top the agenda in the 14th five-year plan (2021-25).

Such a policy blueprint usually sets forth China’s strategic intentions and defines its major objectives, tasks and measures for economic and social development. The final version of the plan is expected to be unveiled in 2021, which will guide the country to reach its second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country.

In terms of reform, the leadership has stressed unremitting efforts to ensure better integration of the roles of the market and the government in resource allocation. “We will boost the flow of human resources, foster technology and data markets, and thus unleash the potential of all types of production factors,” said a government work report delivered last week by Premier Li Keqiang.

China also makes expanding domestic demand a strategy to tap into the enormous potential of the market at home amid tumbled external demand.

Steady progress is expected in creating a new development pattern where domestic and foreign markets can boost each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay.

Back in November, when Premier Li outlined what a quality 14th five-year plan would look like, he cited a batch of major reform and opening-up initiatives to enhance the endogenous engines for growth and stimulate market vitality. The work report highlighted energizing market entities through reform and strengthening new drivers of growth. Efforts will also be made this year to encourage manufacturing upgrade, emerging industries growth, as well as startups and innovation nationwide.

According to a new report from Deloitte China, the smooth implementation of the 13th five-year plan (2016-20) has helped China seize an important period of strategic opportunity and make progress in economic transformation and upgrading, putting the economy in a new normal characterized by upgraded form and more reasonable structure.

Further improvement in the business environment, coordinated development across regions, innovation-driven development and a better environment may be among the development priorities of China in the 2021-25 period.

As China takes a holistic approach in advancing its high-quality development during the period, the industrial landscape will be reshaped and enterprises will see more strategic opportunities, the report said.

In light of great uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic and trade environment, China has set no specific target for economic growth for 2020.

Analysts said that putting headline GDP growth targets on the back burner is a move of practical significance to the country’s long-term growth, as it is only one of the many fundamentals of economic prosperity, manifested in the 2016-20 plan.

The plan, adopted in March 2016, was in part designed to address China’s structural challenges and ensure long-term prosperity and economic growth, and put forward new gauges of the progress in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

Green and innovative development was highlighted in the plan. Ten out of the plan’s 25 targets are related to the environment and are part of the 13 binding targets that must be achieved by 2020. Innovation, the second major section of the plan, has been emphasized as a cornerstone of China’s development strategy.

Environmental protection goals set for 2016-20 are being accomplished in a smooth manner, said Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu, vowing that China will not relax its environmental protection in the next five years.

“In the 14th five-year plan period, we will continue to improve ecological and environmental quality by reducing pollutant emissions and vigorously promote ecological protection and restoration,” Huang said.

According to He Lifeng, head of the top economic planning body, China is expected to basically reach all 25 targets toward completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects this year, of which GDP is one anticipatory goal.

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