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‘Historical point’ for structural reform

Ma Zhiping
Updated: Oct 31,2016 9:05 AM     China Daily

Structural reform could allow China to contribute up to 30 percent annually to global economic growth in the next five years, according to a top researcher.

Chi Fulin, president of the China Institute for Reform and Development, said the world’s second-largest economy is exerting a greater influence on global growth through its transformation.

He was speaking on Oct 29 at the opening ceremony of the 81st International Forum on China Reform in Haikou, Hainan province, which attracted more than 300 researchers from 12 nations.

“Structural reform is at a historical turning point and needs breakthroughs,” he said.

“Although administrative measures and policy stimulus plans have played a role in stabilizing economic growth, without structural changes, stimulus plans will not only struggle to take effect, but also create hidden dangers.”

He also called for markets to be opened wider, especially the services market, which is forecast to double in value in 2020 compared with the 24.3 trillion yuan ($3.58 trillion) recorded in 2012.

Facing many deep-rooted structural problems, the biggest task is to tap new sources of growth, Chi said, adding: “If major breakthroughs can be made, China will have the conditions to reap annual growth of around 6 percent in the next decade. More importantly, such growth would be quality and sustainable.”

Experts at the forum also raised the issue of how the Chinese government will tackle the challenge of labor transfers during the economic structural reform.

“The number of layoffs will be huge, so the government should design policies to help workers learn new skills,” said Zhang Yunling, director of international studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “These workers also have skills and experiences that can be turned into an advantage in terms of the country’s urban-rural integration.”

Patrick Haverman, deputy China director for the United Nations Development Programme, said sustainable development is the overall goal.

“The G20 Summit in Hangzhou made sustainable development one of its action plans, and we hope this momentum will continue,” he said, adding that the UNDP China has many technical partners to help provide online and offline training programs on sustainable development.