Overall, and despite the decline in the Chinese economy’s rates of growth, by the end of 2015 (which marked the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan－2011-2015), we have seen significant progress in several economic fields, amid a complicated international environment. The Chinese economy has continued to grow steadily at rates close to 7 percent, and has achieved average GDP growth much higher than the global average, while contributing more than one-quarter of global economic growth. Apart from growth, there are several other impressive aspects of the Chinese economy, such as the continuing transformation of the country’s economic model towards a greater reliance on quality and innovation, a record of investment abroad and the fact that the urbanization rate has exceeded 50 percent, to name a few.
In addition, a very impressive development is the deepening of the Belt and Road Initiative, bringing together countries in Asia, Europe and even Africa, through infrastructure construction, two-way trade flows, financial cooperation and cultural exchanges. In this respect, we have seen various initiatives and synergies, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund, the China-EU Connectivity Platform and others.
Promoting reforms and policies designed to raise living standards, with an emphasis on environmental protection and preventing income disparity, as well as addressing demographic and urbanization challenges will obviously be priorities in the new Five-Year Plan (2016-20). Also, creating healthier and stronger forces within society and the economy, increasing openness and transparency, restoring stability to the markets and handling growing levels of internal debt, are some of the main challenges that need to be addressed, so stable and sustainable economic growth can take place.
-- Vassilios Costis, Greece’s ambassador to China