NEW YORK — Major socio-economic policies set out during China’s ongoing two sessions are “very timely and highly welcome” as the world economy “once again enters a period of uncertainty,” a US expert on China said on March 6.
The two sessions refer to the annual gathering of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, and that of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top political advisory body.
“I see a three-fold — and integrated — focus at this year’s two sessions gathering,” Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Institute for China-America Studies in Washington, DC, told Xinhua in a written interview. “The overall focus is primarily socio-economic.”
In Gupta’s eyes, the three pillars are winning the critical battle against poverty, stabilizing the macro-economy without recourse to old-school stimulus-heavy policies, and devising and implementing new internal drivers that can structurally transform China’s economy to a high-quality growth model.
In the Government Work Report delivered at the opening of the annual NPC session on March 5, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged that Beijing will not resort to massive economic stimulus.
In the work report, China sets its GDP growth target at 6-6.5 percent for 2019, and vows to reduce its rural poor population by over 10 million in the same year.
The country, according to the work report, will also further relax controls over market access, shorten the negative list for foreign investment, and permit wholly foreign funded enterprises to operate in more sectors.
Gupta noted that the past instances of heavy investment-led stimulus in China, notably after the global financial crisis in 2008-2009, did lead to robust growth, but the focus has now changed.
“As the world economy once again enters a period of uncertainty, the need of the hour therefore is to simultaneously manage the economic headwinds with prudent aggregate demand-stabilizing policies while pushing ahead systematically with the new round of structural opening-up and reform,” he said.