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Quality metrics set to transcend GDP goals

Xin Zhiming
Updated: Oct 27,2017 7:07 AM     China Daily

China will not set a target to double its gross domestic product from 2021 on, and it will put more emphasis on quality of growth, a senior official said on Oct 26.

Analysts said the country will deepen its supply-side structural reform, promote employment, increase incomes and strengthen environmental protection to improve the quality of economic development.

“China’s main social contradiction has changed and its economic development is moving to a stage of high-quality growth from a high-rate of expansion of the GDP,” said Yang Weimin, deputy head of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs. “The biggest problem facing us now ... is the inadequate quality of development,” he said at a news conference.

In a speech at the start of the key National Congress of the Communist Party of China on Oct 18, Xi Jinping, CPC Central Committee general secretary, said China would deepen economic reforms as it transitions from high-speed to high-quality growth.

China has put forward a target of doubling its GDP and per capita income in the decade leading up to 2020. Chances are good it will meet that target based on the current rate of growth. Economists estimate an annual GDP growth of 6.3 percent is needed in the coming three years to meet the goal. GDP growth is widely expected to come close to 7 percent this year.

“It is not that we will no longer pursue (high) growth rates,” Yang said. “What we want is ... to make efforts to solve the problem of unbalanced and inadequate development.”

Analysts said that by prioritizing quality, China is set to deepen structural reforms, promote the job market, raise people’s incomes and enhance environmental protection to try to make growth more sustainable.

“President Xi’s opening speech at the 19th CPC National Congress was notable for the focus placed on quality and equality of development over the coming years, rather than specific growth targets,” economists at UBS financial services group said in a research note.

“The supply-side reforms will be deepened and implemented further,” said a research note from Nomura financial group.

The UBS economists expected China to implement tougher environmental regulations through production cuts and capacity closures this winter and push for faster State-owned enterprise consolidation and mixed-ownership reform next year.

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