BEIJING -- People abroad from various walks of life and the world media have kept a close eye on and highly praised the government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang at the annual National People’s Congress (NPC) session on March 5.
They believe that a pragmatic economic growth target evinces the Chinese government’s reform determination, and that a slew of sweeping reform proposals signal deepening reform in a comprehensive way.
As a result, the success of China’s reform endeavor will give more benefits to the world at large.
PRAGMATIC GROWTH TARGET SHOWS CHINA’S REFORM RESOLVE
China retains a target for economic growth of 7.5 percent for 2014, said the government work report, releasing a signal of stability and continuity in policy. This offers a dose of reassurance for the entire world, and is conducive to further development of emerging markets and the world economy.
Brendan Ahern, managing director at Krane Funds Advisors LLC, or KraneShares, said he was very optimistic about the outlook of the Chinese economy.
“The growth target of 7.5 percent is strong and encouraging. The Chinese economy is still growing at an extraordinary pace,” he said.
Le Figaro newspaper of France said the international community has seen a major engine of global growth maintain a steady growth. The current economic slowdown exactly signals the Chinese government’s good aspiration for transforming the growth model.
Another French newspaper Les Echos echoed that lowering the gross domestic product (GDP) growth objective has reflected the Chinese leadership’s resolve to slow down the pace and put the economy onto a more balanced and healthy trajectory.
With the change to the GDP growth target, the Chinese government has set the goal of a new growth pattern more driven by services and consumption.
The Bloomberg pointed out that the 7.5 percent target conforms to the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, and helps boost market confidence and upgrade the economic structure.
PUSHING FORWARD REFORM SENDS MORE POSITIVE SIGNALS
Premier Li emphasized in the work report that reform is the top priority for his government this year, with a key focus on economic restructuring.
Foreign experts believe the government work report is line with the decisions made at the third plenary session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and shows the government is now working on specific reform measures.
Analysts said a host of proactive reform measures were proposed at the CPC plenum in late 2013, and one of the basic principles outlined in the reform bill was to ensure that the market plays a “decisive role.”
The French daily Le Monde noted that Li mentioned the word “reform” for dozens of times during his Wednesday speech and pledged to let market forces decide the fate of enterprises.
Another highlight of the work report is the call for pushing forward financial reforms.
“Li promised an array of changes in banking and finance that reform advocates say are essential to making the economy more efficient and productive,” said the Associated Press in a piece titled “China Premier Promises to Advance Economy Reforms.”
Easing interest rates control “would allow profitable companies to compete for credit ... possibly channeling more money to entrepreneurs who generate most of China’s new jobs and wealth.”
“It also might boost rates paid on savings, putting more money in the pockets of Chinese families and encouraging consumer spending,” it said.
Li “promised to promote consumer spending by raising incomes and encourage growth of service industries such as education, tourism and care for the elderly,” it added.
The article also noted Li pledged to open state-controlled industries such as banking, oil, power generation, railways and telecommunications to private investment, and to level the playing field for Chinese and foreign companies to promote competition.
ACTIONS OF REFORM TO BE REAL BLESSING FOR WORLD
Overseas entrepreneurs and investors are paying close attention to China’s “two sessions” and to how China will put into action various reform measures put forward at last year’s CPC plenary session.
They have noted that Li’s work report is in conformity with the need to expand the market’s role and increase domestic spending, which was proposed at the end of 2013.
After past several decades of fast growth, China now looks to shifting its growth path to one that features a cleaner, more energy-efficient growth powered by the service industry and technology.
So far, the Chinese government’s attention to economic restructuring has reaped remarkable gains, injected vitality to the world economy, and brought more and more dividends.
“The 12th Five-Year Plan and the third plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China are already setting in motion the early stages of the transformation,” said Stephen Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University and former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia.
“If you look at the structure of China’s economy in the last two years, the services industry has grown by 3 percent to 46 percent of the GDP, larger than the combined share of manufacturing and construction for the first time in modern China’s history,” he told Xinhua.
French Foreign Trade Minister Nicole Bricq also told Xinhua that Chinese consumers’ growing needs are good for France’s exports to China.
Roach believed that the growing purchasing capabilities of Chinese consumers would benefit other countries as well.
“China is already the third largest and most rapidly growing export market, so China’s growing consumer demand could be an important growth opportunity for American companies, not just in the manufacturing area but also the services area,” he said.
Speaking of reforms, Roach said he was surprised the third plenum really broke new ground by rolling out a series of measures.
“I’m very hopeful that the new leading committee of reforms set up by President Xi Jinping can be more effective in implementation than we’ve seen in the past,” said Roach.