China prioritizes economic stability, innovation to address challenges

China prioritizes economic stability, innovation to address challenges

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a government work report at the opening meeting of the fifth session of the 13th National People's Congress

China has vowed to ensure economic stability and further promote innovation to address various risks and challenges, as the Communist Party of China looks ahead to its 20th national congress in the second half of the year. "In our work this year, we must make economic stability our top priority and pursue progress while ensuring stability," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Saturday. "In the face of new downward pressure, the task of ensuring stable growth needs to occupy an even more prominent position." Li was delivering a government work report on behalf of the State Council at the opening meeting of the fifth session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature. 

The Chinese economy is facing the triple pressures of shrinking demand, disrupted supply and weakening expectations, he said, underscoring sluggish world economic recovery and domestic COVID-19 outbreaks from time to time.

The premier announced a 5.5 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth target for 2022, after an expansion of 8.1 percent of the world's second-largest economy last year.  China aims to create over 11 million new urban jobs and targets a surveyed urban unemployment rate of no more than 5.5 percent for 2022, while setting its inflation target, or increase in consumer price index (CPI), at around 3 percent, according to Li's report. China will strive to achieve stable macroeconomic performance and keep major economic indicators within the appropriate range, he stressed. The country's proactive fiscal policy should be more effectual, targeted and sustainable, and its prudent monetary policy should be both flexible and appropriate, with reasonably ample liquidity being maintained, he said. Reviewing achievements in 2021, he said China had realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and embarked on a new journey toward the second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects. The country also got the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) off to a good start, he said.

More innovation, better opening-up, greener life

China vows to uphold innovation as central to its modernization drive in the 14th Five-Year Plan – the country's latest development blueprint which aims for self-reliance in science and technology. Li said China will continue its innovation-driven development strategy and strengthen the foundation for the real economy this year. It will promote scientific and technological innovation to upgrade its industries, eliminate supply bottlenecks, and realize high-quality development through innovation. China will raise the tax deduction coverage for small and medium sci-tech enterprises from 75 percent to 100 percent, and grant tax breaks to enterprises that invest in basic research, he said. The country will implement a 10-year action plan on basic research to ensure stable support for scientific and technological innovation over the long term, according to the report. 

It will continue to engage in international scientific and technological cooperation and step up efforts to build talent centers and innovation hubs of global importance, Li said.

The premier reaffirmed China's commitment to advancing opening-up, pledging that the country will pursue higher-standard opening-up and promote stable growth of foreign trade and investment. The negative list for foreign investment will be fully observed and national treatment for all foreign-invested enterprises will be ensured, he pledged. China will encourage foreign-invested enterprises to move into a broader range of sectors, and support more foreign investment in medium- and high-end manufacturing, research and development, and modern services, as well as in the central, western and northeastern regions, he said.

China will take well-ordered steps to achieve peak carbon emissions and carbon neutrality, and the action plan for peaking carbon emissions will be put into effect, Li stressed. China has set targets to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, and unveiled a series of policies to facilitate the goals. "We will transition from assessing the total amount and intensity of energy consumption to assessing the total amount and intensity of carbon emissions, improve policy incentives for reducing pollution and carbon emissions and policy constraints on such emissions, and promote faster development of green ways of working and living," said the premier.

Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan affairs

The report pledged efforts to help Hong Kong and Macao develop their economies and improve the people's wellbeing, boost the integration of the two special administrative regions (SARs) into the country's overall development, and maintain their long-term prosperity and stability. Li reaffirmed Beijing's commitment to the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, and added that efforts will be made to ensure the central government exercises overall jurisdiction over the two SARs. He also vowed to "firmly uphold the principle that Hong Kong and Macao should be governed by patriots." China's top legislature on Saturday deliberated two draft methods for the Hong Kong and Macao SARs to elect deputies to the 14th NPC. "We will advance the peaceful growth of relations across the Taiwan Straits and the reunification of China," Li said, reiterating commitment to the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus. "We firmly oppose any separatist activities seeking 'Taiwan independence' and firmly oppose foreign interference," he said. The premier called on Chinese on both sides of the straits to jointly advance the "great and glorious cause of China's rejuvenation."


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